- Tools Launched to Promote Climate Adaptation in the Water Utilities Sector
EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative has launched two tools that promote a clear understanding of climate science and adaptation options by translating complex climate projections into understandable, actionable, localized information for the water sector (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities).
- July 15, 2016 - Next review date for CIRCA Matching Funds Program -
These funds are meant to help Connecticut organizations bring in new sources of funding for resilience. For this reason these CIRCA funds can provide the match for proposals that will be submitted to an external funding organization. Applicants should apply to CIRCA before they submit their proposal or before the external grant award is made. The CIRCA award will provide up to 25% or up to $100,000 in funding to match non-state or non-municipal funding sources.
June 26, 2016
Grant Will Help Regional Council Assess Storm Resiliency Of Local Buildings, The Day
Local & State News Clips
- June 27, 2016 - Fading Fishermen: A Historic Industry Faces A Warming World, Hartford Courant
- June 22, 2016 - CT Fund For The Environment Asks State For Acceleration & Adoption of Full-Scale Renewables Program, The Bridgeport News
- June 18, 2016 - New Haven Hopes Long Wharf Makeover Will Draw More People To Waterfront, New Haven Registrar
National News Clips
June 30, 2016
Wildfires Engulfing The West Coast Are Fueled By Climate Change, Experts Warn,
June 28, 2016
Science Organizations Again Urge Congress To Take Climate Change Seriously,
Inside Climate Change
- June 27, 2016 - How One Virginia City Is Re-Framing Sea-Level Rise As An Opportunity, PRI
- June 26, 2016 - Storm Surge Risks To Property: Report Looks At A Post-Sandy World, The Philadelphia Inquirer
- June 23, 2016 - Climate Change is Tipping scales Toward More Wildfires, Climate Central
- June 22, 2016 - Climate Change Could be Even Worse For Boston Than Previously Thought, Boston Globe
- June 20, 2016 - Scorching Hot Southwest Is Climate Change In Action, The Huffington Post
Tools Launched to Promote Climate Adaptation in the Water Utilities Sector
EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative has launched two tools that promote a clear understanding of climate science and adaptation options by translating complex climate projections into understandable, actionable, localized information for the water sector (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities). The "Adaptation Case Study and Information Exchange" gives water sector utilities an interactive platform to explore real-world climate adaptation case studies and encourages utilities to connect with one another and share communities' adaptation strategies. The web-based "Workshop Planner for Climate Change and Extreme Events Adaptation" assists water sector stakeholders with conducting climate change adaptation workshops, helping utilities and communities explore and understand how more intense and frequent extreme weather events can affect water resources.
Climate Ready Estuaries Program Creates Interactive Companion Tool to Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans -
EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries program has created an online companion tool for "Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans." The workbook is a step-by-step guide for communities and other place-based organizations to develop risk-based climate change adaptation plans. This new interactive online companion tool takes users through the steps of creating a vulnerability assessment. The tool generates a consequence/probability matrix and formats a simple report. The purpose of the workbook and online companion tool is to help users reach an understanding of how climate change may affect their organization's goals.
July 22, 2016 - Exploring Climate Solutions Webinar Series -The GC3'S Exploring Climate Solutions webinar series explores innovative and successful climate change solutions across Connecticut and the nation. The series provides you with first-hand accounts of high-profile municipal climate programs, climate initiatives in the corporate world, greenhouse gas reporting frameworks, statewide sustainability programs, materials management strategies, and low-carbon fuel initiatives.
In this webinar, participants will learn about the national green bank movement and Connecticut's own Green Bank, Green bank's provide low-cost, long-term financing support to clean, low-carbon projects by leveraging public funds through the use of various financial mechanisms to attract private investment so that each public dollar supports multiple dollars of private investment. Guest speakers will highlight successful national and local initiatives that leveraged public funds and private investments for increased environmental benefits.
- Jeffery Schub, Executive Director, Coalition for Green Capital
- Brian Garcia, President and CEO, Connecticut Green Bank
When: July 22, 2016 from 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Where: Your computer via webinar.
. After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.
As part of its national effort to build resilient coastal ecosystems, communities and economies, NOAA is announcing today the availability of up to $8.5 million in funding for coastal and marine habitat restoration in 2016.
NOAA is seeking proposals for habitat restoration projects under the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency grant program. The proposed projects should reduce the risks to coastal communities from extreme weather events, changing environmental conditions and known or potential climate change effects.
The deadline for applications for the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency funding opportunity is August 16. NOAA will accept proposals requesting between $100,000 and $2 million. More information can be found online at grants.gov or from NOAA's Office of Habitat Conservation
These funds are meant to help Connecticut organizations bring in new sources of funding for resilience. For this reason these CIRCA funds can provide the match for proposals that
will be submitted to an external funding organization. Applicants should apply to CIRCA before they submit their proposal or before the external grant award is made. The CIRCA award will provide up to 25% or up to $100,000 in support to match non-state or non-municipal funding sources.
CIRCA will consider requests from Connecticut municipalities, institutions, universities, foundations, and other non-governmental organizations for matching funds for projects that address the mission of the Institute. To be funded, a successful Matching Funds Request Form must have a commitment of primary funding within 6 months of the CIRCA award announcement, or have received a waiver from the CIRCA Executive Steering Committee. CIRCA Matching Funds will provide up to 25% of the primary funder's contribution other than municipal or State of Connecticut funds to enhance the likely success of project proposals that advance CIRCA research and implementation priorities.
Proposals are required to leverage independent funding awarded through a competitive process.
Project proposals should develop knowledge and/or experience that is transferable to multiple locations in Connecticut and have well-defined and measurable goals. Preference will be given to those that involve collaboration with CIRCA to address at least one of the Institutes' priority areas.
Those requesting Matching Funds should consult the CIRCA office via email at CIRCA_matchingfunds@uconn.edu with any questions. Please see our growing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
Matching Funds requests will be accepted on a rolling basis. Awardees must confirm availability of the primary funding source related to the proposal within six months.
CIRCA in the News
The region will have a new resource to determine how its fire stations, hospitals, shelters and other critical buildings will fare during severe weather.
The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, a regional planning agency, has received a $30,000 grant from the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation.
The council will focus on flood risk, the institute said in a statement when the grant was announced. It will "identify hazards and flood prevention options at facilities such as fire and police stations, sewer and wastewater treatment systems, medical facilities, schools, town buildings and senior housing."
The institute is affiliated with the University of Connecticut and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Amanda Kennedy, director of special projects for the regional council, said the group's multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan, updated in 2005 and 2012, recommends a regional evaluation of critical facilities, including senior housing, pump stations, water treatment plants and police stations. Kennedy said she would also like to consider animal shelters and town halls.
Rebecca A. French, the director of community engagement for institute, said via email that the Municipal Resilience Grant Program has been in place for nearly two years. The Town of Waterford received funding in the first round, she said.
The purpose of the grants is to share local knowledge with other areas in the state that they can then also use to bolster resiliency against storms.
Local & State News Clips
One of America's oldest commercial industries, fishing along the coast of the Northeast still employs hundreds. But every month that goes by, those numbers fall. After centuries of weathering overfishing, pollution, foreign competition and increasing government regulation, the latest challenge is the one that's doing them in: climate change.
Though no waters are immune to the ravages of climate change, the Gulf of Maine, a dent in the coastline from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, best illustrates the problem. The gulf, where fishermen have for centuries sought lobster, cod and other species that thrived in its cold waters, is now warming faster than 99 percent of the world's oceans, scientists have said.
The warming waters, in the gulf and elsewhere, have caused other valuable species, such as clams, to migrate to deeper or more northern waters. Others, such as lobsters, have largely abandoned the once-lucrative waters off Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, having become more susceptible to disease or predators.
Lobster catches in Maine are booming as the species creeps northward, but as the warming continues, that's bound to end. A federal report from 2009 said that half of 36 fish stocks studied in the northwest Atlantic Ocean have been shifting northward over the past 40 years, and that the trend is likely to continue.
Connecticut's lobster fishery, based on Long Island Sound, has been hit especially hard by warming water and has been reduced to nearly nothing.
A power plant on the sound recorded more than 75 days with an average water temperature above 68 degrees Fahrenheit in 2012, 2013 and 2014, according to a regulatory board's report. Between 1976 and 2010, that happened only twice. Lobster prefer water temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s.
There were nearly 300 lobstermen in Connecticut in 1999, and now there are maybe a dozen full-timers left.
Connecticut Fund for the Environment
recently submitted comments
to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) asking for an acceleration of the state's pilot program for shared solar and a rapid shift to full-scale implementation.
Shared solar would allow the 80% of Connecticut residents who cannot access solar on their own (such as renters and those without south-facing roofs) to access the renewable power of the sun by purchasing clean energy from a solar generating farm.
Benefits of shared solar include green jobs, a growing clean energy economy, renewables to help Connecticut meet its climate goals, reduced climate emissions, improved public health, grid security, and more resilient communities. Under the current specifications for the pilot program, the minimum size of an installation would be 500 kilowatts. This is far too large and would limit siting opportunities, result in fewer projects being built, prevent the state from obtaining data on how valuable small projects can be for the grid, and create fewer opportunities for smaller, in-state solar companies to participate in the pilot. The limit of 3-12 projects in the state could serve as few as 30 customers. CFE encourages the state to instead move forward with a full-scale, statewide shared solar program with no caps on the number or size of projects as soon as possible.
Multiple infrastructure projects are quickly coming together, including a two-way cycle track and pedestrian safety improvements, as well as better accommodations for the popular food trucks with additional parking for patrons.
And finally, construction of the $18 million
Canal Dock Boathouse
, will start in mid-July, an idea that was first broached in 1997 as mitigation for the razing of the George Adee Memorial Boathouse on Forbes Avenue to make way for an expanded Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge.
One other piece on the to-do list this summer is repairing the narrow park along the edge of the harbor that was damaged by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene.
Federal Emergency Management Agency funds will help cover the cost of replacing riprap and bringing back the walking trail to the condition it was before the storms eroded the area.
Part of the work being done by the DOT will also have a direct economic development component for New Haven.
Nosal Builders of Durham has been chosen to construct the boathouse, which has been estimated to cost $18 million out of the total $37 million expense.
National News Clips
Scorching wildfires that are raging throughout the American south-west are being fueled by climate change and require new strategies from states to prevent ever-greater destruction of people's lives and property, a group of experts have warned.
High temperatures, drought and wind have combined to create a number of fires that have caused at least
two deaths in California
. The first large wildfire of the summer has this week
broken out in northern California
, burning through more than 1,200 acres and threatening thousands of homes in an area around 50 miles north-east of Sacramento.
Wildfire experts said there are
that warming temperatures have contributed to the fires by drying out vegetation and soils and causing an earlier spring melt of snow. Trees are also less resilient to fire due to infestations of beetles, which thrive in warmer weather.
Over the past 30 years there has been a
in the number of large forest fires in the American west, while the fire season has grown by 84 days to 220 days in this time. The amount of area burned has ballooned by 1,200%, with areas such as the northern Rockies and the north-west particularly badly hit.
Thirty-one major American scientific organizations
sent a letter to Congress
on Tuesday emphasizing the overwhelming consensus on climate change science and the urgent need for climate action. The letter served as a scientific counterpoint to recent actions by Congress designed to question that consensus.
Reminding members of Congress that "rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver" of global warming, they cited nearly universal support for the scientific consensus as expressed by the U.S. National Academies, the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,"
said the letter
, which was endorsed by institutions such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a nonprofit consortium that includes more than 100 North American universities.
"In addition, adaptation is necessary to address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others," the letter continued.
Climate change is going to be expensive.
Adaptation and mitigation will cost the world billions, maybe trillions, of dollars. It'll be a massive hit to the global economy.
But at least some of that cost is also an economic opportunity, and everyone from
are angling to make money off of climate change.
Add to that list the city of Norfolk, Virginia.
Norfolk businesses, universities, and even the
itself in the low-lying coastal city are trying to re-frame the risk of sea-level rise as an opportunity.
"The opportunity is here because flood insurance premiums are going to increase, so I think that more and more people are going to become more and more motivated to look toward mitigation," Vernon said.
Flood insurance premiums are likely to increase because the sea level in and around Norfolk is rising fast. It could go up as much as six feet by the end of the century, and residents here are already seeing increased flooding.
A report by financial-services company CoreLogic outlines the potential risk of damage from hurricane storm-surge inundation on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. The data show more than 6.8 million homes on those coasts are at risk of damage, with a total reconstruction-cost value of more than $1.5 trillion.
This 2016 analysis shows an increase from 2015 in the overall number of homes at risk of storm surge, as well as an increase in the reconstruction value of those homes.
Despite the overall increases, the 2016 analysis shows a decrease in the extreme-risk category for both the number and value of homes at risk.
The storm-surge analysis complements Federal Emergency Management Agency flood-zone information in providing a snapshot of potential damage exposure at the property level.
Many properties outside designated FEMA flood zones are still at risk for storm-surge damage.
Standard FEMA flood zones are designed to identify areas at risk for freshwater flooding as well as storm surges, based on the likelihood of either a 100-year or 500-year flood event, said Tom Jeffery, CoreLogic senior risk scientist and an author of the report. They don't differentiate risk based on storm severity, and so don't accurately reflect the total extent of potential risk along coastal areas.
Jeffery said homeowners who live outside designated FEMA flood zones often don't carry flood insurance, given that there is no mandate to do so, and, therefore, they may not be aware of the potential risk that storm surges pose to their properties.
has barely begun and dozens of large wildfires have already raged through Western states, with hundreds of thousands of acres burned. This comes on the heels of a 2015 wildfire season that was the worst on record in the U.S., with more than
10 million acres burned
These are not just random events. Climate change is producing conditions ripe for wildfires, tipping the scales in favor of the dramatic increases in large wildfires we have seen across the West since the 1970s. Snowpack is melting earlier as
winter and spring temperatures rise
, and in most states an increasing percentage of winter precipitation is falling as rain, meaning there is often less snowpack to begin with. Summer temperatures are rising, particularly in Southwestern states, where the number of extremely hot days is steadily increasing, creating more days where forests and grasslands are dried out and ready to burn.
In 2015, far below-average snowpack in California and the Pacific Northwest created exceptionally dry conditions across the West, and the
region experienced fires
of a size rarely seen. Washington's Okanogan Complex fire was the largest group of fires on record for the state. And multiple years of searing drought in California contributed to several fires that were among the state's top 10
most destructive fires on record
A Climate Central analysis of 45 years of U.S. Forest Service records from the western U.S. show that the number of large fires on Forest Service land is increasing dramatically. The area burned by these fires is also growing at an alarming rate.
The consequences of climate change on Boston are expected to be far more calamitous than previous studies have suggested, a new report commissioned by the city says.
In the worst-case scenario, sea levels could rise more than 10 feet by the end of the century - nearly twice what was previously predicted - plunging about 30 percent of Boston under water. Temperatures in 2070 could exceed 90 degrees for 90 days a year, compared with an average of 11 days now.
And changes in precipitation could mean a 50 percent decline in annual snowfall, punctuated by more frequent heavy storms such as nor'easters.
, by scientists from the University of Massachusetts and other local universities, has raised concerns in City Hall just two weeks after Mayor Martin J. Walsh attended a climate summit in Beijing.
"The updated climate projections confirm that we must work together to take bold approaches to prepare Boston for the impacts of climate change," Walsh said in a statement.
The report, he said, is part of the city's effort to assess its vulnerability and to seek solutions. Next year, Boston will host the same climate conference that Walsh attended, with leaders from some 60 US and Chinese cities.
"New Orleans filled with water" does not conjure up a promising image, at least not yet.
The fight to stay dry has defined the city's history. In the early 20th century, pumps and canals drained swamps and marshes, allowing development in low-lying neighborhoods like Gentilly, on the sunken edge of Lake Pontchartrain. Today, when New Orleans experiences a storm, runoff enters more than 68,000 catch basins citywide, courses through hundreds of miles of underground pipes, and is pumped into canals and over levees into Lake Pontchartrain and nearby Lake Borgne. The city owes its existence to these concrete and steel interventions against nature. And yet, by preventing the replenishment of groundwater, they have contributed to land subsidence-some neighborhoods have sunk as much as eight feet.
When the London Avenue Canal levee was breached during Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, Gentilly was among the city's most devastated neighborhoods, partly because the area had already sagged below sea level. Since Katrina, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent $14.5 billion strengthening levees and pump stations and building flood walls and floodgates, an essential line of defense. Still, much of the city remains vulnerable to flooding after heavy downfalls.
Now, with a $141 million award from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, New Orleans is planning to supplement its "gray" infrastructure with green infrastructure. By reengineering how storm water flows through its lowlands, the city hopes to work with its ecology rather than interfere with it. Gentilly will serve as the testing ground for a network of projects that filter and store water through natural processes. After Hurricane Katrina, "we realized we had such a radically misdesigned landscape," says David Waggonner, the architect behind the Gentilly Resilience District plan. He explains that the plan "recognizes the city that's there, but retrofits it."
Deadly, record-breaking heat and wildfires sweeping across the Southwestern U.S. are a clear sign of manmade climate change at work, scientists say.
Triple-digit temperatures began scorching Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico early this week. Some of the most intense heat was recorded throughout Arizona, where
died in separate heat-related incidents.
On Sunday, the National Weather Service announced temperature records for that calendar day in Yuma at 120 degrees, Phoenix at 118, Tucson at 115 and Flagstaff at 93, NOAA spokeswoman Maureen O'Leary told The Huffington Post. Tucson's heat tied for the
third hottest day
every recorded in the city.
Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist and professor of meteorology at Penn State University, was in Phoenix on Friday when temperatures hit 106 degrees. He was speaking at a Democratic National Platform committee meeting, where he pointed to the extreme weather as "an example of just the sort of extreme heat that is on the increase due to human-caused climate change," he told HuffPost.
"The likelihood of record heat has already doubled in the U.S. due to human-caused warming," he said, "and that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg."
"Given dry conditions, the heat all goes into raising temperatures ... initially drying things out even more and increasing wild fire risk," Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in an email to HuffPost.
Wildfires thrive on land that is already tinder dry. While the region had a wetter than normal winter thanks to El Niño,
drought conditions have persisted
throughout the West since 2011.
There's no question about whether these temperatures and fires are a result of manmade climate change, Trenberth said. While heatwaves are a normal weather event, climate change exacerbates the conditions. He calculated that the added heat from global warming is equivalent to "running a small microwave oven over every square foot, at full power for 6 minutes, for every month of drought conditions" in the affected region.
"So what used to be a regular heat wave now has extra oomph, and the danger is not just heat" but also wildfire risk, he said.
The Resilience Roundup highlights
CIRCA's presence in the news, provides links to recent local/state/national news articles related to resilience and adaptation, and announces upcoming events and seminars.
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation's (CIRCA) mission is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the natural, built, and human environment. The institute is located at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus and includes faculty from across the university. CIRCA is a partnership between UConn and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).