Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
April 17, 2019
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
How to deal with feeling bad about climate change news
For someone who writes about climate change and obsesses over the news, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. "That’s inevitable," says the psychoanalyst and climate writer Sally Weintrobe. "Feeling overwhelmed gives the problem the respect it deserves, in a way." The important thing is what we do with that feeling. Do we retreat into the comfort of friends and family? Do we decide we don’t care and spend the rest of our lives ticking items off a bucket list? ( Vice)
Destined to Burn: A Sacramento Bee series
One in 12 homes in the state of California is at high risk from wildfires. Using data from the 2010 US Census and CalFire, the Sacramento Bee recently released a search tool, which Californians can use to find out what percentage of their towns might be in the danger zone. Based on the analysis, there are more than 75 California towns and cities in which at least 90 percent of residents live in “very high fire hazard severity zones,” as designated by Cal Fire. All told, more than 2.7 million Californians live in very high fire hazard severity zones, from trailers off quiet dirt roads in the forest to mansions in the state’s largest cities. As part of the Destined to Burn package, The Sacramento Bee highlighted 10 California communities from that list, including Colfax, Kings Beach, and Pollock Pines. ( Sac Bee)
The weakest link’: Why your house may burn while your neighbor’s survives the next wildfire
A landmark 2008 building code designed for California’s fire-prone regions — requiring fire-resistant roofs, siding and other safeguards — appears to have protected many homes from the Camp Fire. All told, about 51 percent of the 350 single-family homes built after 2008 in the path of the Camp Fire were undamaged. By contrast, only 18 percent of the 12,100 homes built prior to 2008 escaped damage. Yet despite this lesson, California may end up falling short in its effort to protect homes from the next wildfire. Mushrooming cities such as Folsom, where an 11,000-home development is springing up, have the ability to bypass the state’s safety standards in spite of considerable fire risks. The state, which offers cash incentives to bolster old homes against earthquakes, so far has done nothing similar for fire safety retrofits. ( Sac Bee) Photo: Jonathan J. Cooper AP
Half a million live in flood zones, and the government is paying
The federal government is subsidizing housing for 450,000 low-income households in flood plains. Much of the nation’s affordable housing stock was built before climate change was well understood, and many properties already sit in flood zones. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, citing the dire shortage of rental homes for extremely low-income families, says its goal is to preserve affordable housing whenever possible. So while the agency takes flood risk into account for new and substantially rehabilitated housing, it continues to fund existing properties in flood plains. ( NYT) Photo: William Chambers for The New York Times
Trump dismissed a federal climate panel, but its members reconvened independently. Here’s what they recommend.
In 2017, Trump eliminated the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, which was tasked with evaluating and providing guidance based on the National Climate Assessment. The panel reconvened independently as the Science to Climate Action Network and put out a new report that calls for better efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and provides advice for how to turn climate science into actionable policy. The report heavily focuses on broader coordination and communication about climate strategies, and emphasizes the inclusion of governments that may not have the capacity to adapt to climate change. Experts recommend the creation of a "civil-society-based climate assessment consortium" to encourage research and strategy collaboration across sectors. Information coordination and communication will be essential for the governments of low-resource, historically marginalized, and rural areas that may be less equipped to do climate assessments (and create strategies for adaptation and mitigation) on their own. ( PS Mag)
U.S. disaster aid won't cover crops drowned by Midwest floods
The USDA has no mechanism to compensate farmers for damaged crops in storage, a problem never before seen on this scale. That’s in part because U.S. farmers have never stored so much of their harvests, after years of oversupplied markets, low prices and the latest blow of lost sales from the U.S. trade war with China – previously their biggest buyer of soybean exports. Indigo Ag, an agriculture technology company, identified 832 on-farm storage bins within flooded Midwest areas. They hold an estimated 5 million to 10 million bushels of corn and soybeans – worth between $17.3 million to $34.6 million – that could have been damaged in the floods. Farmers will have to destroy any grains that were contaminated by floodwater, which could also prevent some growers from planting oversaturated fields. ( Reuters)
Climate change will expose half of world population to disease-spreading mosquitos by 2050
By 2050, two key disease-spreading mosquitoes — Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus — will significantly expand their range, posing a threat to 49 percent of the world’s population, according to a new study. In the last five years, Aedes aegypti has spread northward in the U.S. at about 150 miles per year. The scientists found that within the next 5 to 15 years, human travel and migration will be the largest factors driving the spread of mosquitoes. After that, however, climate change and accelerating urbanization will create new mosquito habitats. Aedes aegypti could reach as far north as Chicago and Shanghai by 2050. ( Yale 360) Photo: Phil/CDC Phil, CDC
Rapid global shift to renewable energies can save millions of lives
Reducing global air pollution can prevent millions of premature deaths according to an international team of scientists, led by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. The most significant contribution would be the rapid phasing out of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel-generated emissions are responsible for about 65 percent of premature deaths from human-made air pollutants worldwide. Polluted air significantly elevates the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Phasing out the use of fossil fuels would therefore prevent more than 3 million premature deaths annually worldwide. If all sources of air pollution from human activities could be eliminated, that number would further rise to more than 5 million per year. ( Photo: CC0 Public Domain
The breakthrough that could actually reverse climate change
Concrete is the second most used substance in the global economy, after water – and one of the world’s biggest single sources of GHG emissions. Concrete production alone is responsible for 4-8 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, and cement production worldwide could grow another 23 percent by 2050. But new method of creating concrete actually pulls C02 out of the air, or directly out of industrial exhaust pipes, and turns it into synthetic limestone. The technique, which has already been demonstrated in California, is part of a growing effort to not just slow the advance of climate change, but to reverse it. Making concrete aggregate from synthetic limestone instead of quarried rock could sequester 25 billion tons a year — in 40 years, this solution alone could remove a trillion tons of CO2 from the air, enough to restore pre-industrial levels. ( Grist)
Want to escape global warming? These cities provide cool relief
As the West burns, the South swelters and the East floods, some Americans are starting to reconsider where they choose to live. For advice, a few of them are turning to Jesse Keenan, a lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. What does Dr. Keenan suggest? Maybe climate-proof Duluth. That’s a slogan that he created as part of an economic development and marketing package commissioned by the University of Minnesota Duluth. Some community leaders think they can spur growth by bringing in more people, and they sense an opportunity in climate change. At the end of the day, it’s really about fresh water,” Dr. Keenan said. “It’s that simple. You’ve got to have fresh water.” ( NYT)
Tools & Resources
Sonoma County builds framework for resiliency after destructive wildfires
In response to the Tubbs Fire, Sonoma County created an Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Recovery and Resiliency Framework, a strategic plan focused on planning and preparedness before disasters occur. "The first thing is that the Recovery and Resiliency Framework is not just about Sonoma County," said County Supervisor James Gore. "It is our attempt to use the trauma and the intensity of what happened to us, to be a part of the state and nationwide movement for true preparedness and true resilience." The result, is a living document that also serves as a strategic plan with 175 actions (55 are completed and 30 ongoing). ( Link)
Urban Land Institute: Futureproofing Real Estate from Climate Risks
How does climate change currently impact real estate investment decision-making? What are the emerging best practices for investment managers, institutional investors and others to identify and mitigate new and unprecedented risks? The Urban Land Institute partnered with Heitman, a global real estate investment management firm, to assess the potential impacts of climate change on the long-term viability of real estate assets. Derived from a series of interviews with leading institutional investors, investment managers, investment consultants and others, the report provides members with an inside look at how real estate investors are factoring climate risk into their investment decision-making and management processes. ( ULI)
Upcoming Opportunities
Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program Easement and Planning Grants
The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program makes strategic investments to protect agricultural lands from conversion to more GHG-intensive uses. Easement grants have no maximum limit and aim to protect important agricultural lands under threat of conversion through the acquisition of voluntary, permanent agricultural conservation easements. Planning grants provide up to $250,000 to local and regional governments to work closely with local stakeholders to develop local and regional land use policies and implementation activities that integrate agricultural land conservation in a way that reduces or avoids GHG emissions, supports job creation, and benefits AB 1550 populations. The pre-proposal deadline (required only for easement grants) is April 17, and the final deadline for both easement and planning grants is Friday, September 13. ( SGC)
Federal Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects Funding Opportunity
Small-scale water efficiency projects are eligible for a funding opportunity being offered by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Potential projects include installation of flow- measurement devices and municipal meter upgrades. Matching funding of as much as $75,000 is available for each project. Deadline: April 24. (
Funding: Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014
The State Coastal Conservancy will award approximately $20 million in funding from Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. The Conservancy’s four priority areas for funding are water sustainability improvements, anadromous fish habitat enhancement, wetland restoration, and urban greening. The Conservancy will prioritize projects that help California communities prepare for the impacts of climate change, achieve multiple benefits, serve disadvantaged communities, and result in quantifiable outcomes. Deadline: April 30, 5pm. ( Link)
Launch your social purpose career with CivicSpark!
CivicSpark, a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program, is currently recruiting 90 Fellows who are interested in serving with local governments in California to address a broad range of resiliency issues. Fellows implement local projects on topics including sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, climate action planning, water conservation, drought response, affordable housing, and rural-broadband. Fellows gain exceptional career experience and training to become future leaders in California’s response to emerging environmental and social equity challenges. CivicSpark is looking for upcoming/recent college graduates who want to gain real-world experience, launch a social purpose career, and make a lasting impact! Learn more about CivicSpark by attending a Fellow Recruitment Webinar. The application for the 2019-20 Fellow service year opens April 1st. ( Link)
Apply today to receive CivicSpark support for your climate and resilience projects
CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local agencies to address community resilience to environmental and socioeconomic challenges such as climate change, water resource management, affordable housing, and mobility. CivicSpark Fellows are AmeriCorp Members that serve at public agencies for 11 months, supporting resiliency-focused research, planning, and implementation projects such as climate action planning, climate risk assessments, waste reduction, stormwater resource planning, housing equity programs, shared mobility, and more. Learn more by attending an informational webinar. Applications will be accepted in waves, with the second on May 3. ( CivicSpark)
California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program: $23 million to address homelessness
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has $29 million available in second round of the California Emergency Solutions and Housing (CESH) program funding. The CESH program provides funds for a variety of activities to assist persons experiencing homelessness. Eligible activities include housing relocation and stabilization services, operating subsidies for permanent housing, flexible housing subsidy funds, operating support for emergency housing interventions, and systems support for homelessness services and housing delivery systems. Deadline: May 6, 2019, 5pm. ( HCD)
SolSmart 2019 City & County Challenge
As solar energy grows nationwide, local governments continue to play a significant role in its expansion through the adoption of local solar policies and programs. To encourage and help more local governments become “solar-ready,” SolSmart is launching its 2019 City & County Challenge Campaign. The Challenge Campaign offers cities and counties new to the SolSmart program a chance to win special prizes and move towards Bronze, Silver, or Gold designation. Simply by holding a one-on-one consultation call with SolSmart staff and submitting a letter of interest, your community will be eligible to receive special prizes. The Challenge Campaign will run from March 4, 2019, through June 21, 2019. ( Learn more)
California Statewide Park Program
The Statewide Park Program competitive grants will create new parks and new recreation opportunities in critically underserved communities. The current funding round offers $254,942,000. Types of target projects include creating a new park, or expanding or renovating an existing park. Eligible entities include cities, counties, districts, join powers authorities, and nonprofits. Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered by August 5th, 2019. ( SPP)
SB 2: $123 million available for Housing Planning Grants
The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has $123 million available under the SB2 Planning Grants Program to help local governments prepare, adopt, and implement plans that accelerate housing production; streamline the approval of housing development affordable to owner and renter households at all income levels; facilitate housing affordability, particularly for lower- and moderate-income households; and promote development consistent with the State Planning Priorities. Cities and counties that have a certified housing element and have completed either the 2017 or 2018 Annual Progress Report are eligible to receive grant funds ranging from $160,000 to $625,000. This a is a non-competitive, over-the-counter grant program. Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2019. ( HCD)
Funding: Acorn Foundation’s general support grants for environmental justice groups
The Acorn Foundation is dedicated to supporting community-based organizations working to advance environmental conservation, sustainability and environmental justice. The Foundation is particularly interested in small and innovative community-based projects that engage in community organizing to advocate for environmental health and justice; preserve and restore habitats supporting biological diversity and wildlife; and prevent or remedy toxic pollution. The Foundation has an open Letter of Inquiry process for general support grants ($5,000-$10,000) to grassroots organizations. ( Link)
Upcoming Events
Webinar: Public Outreach and Dissemination for Climate & Health Messages
Thursday, April 18, 10am
Join the Centers for Disease Control’s Climate and Health Program for a webinar on Public Outreach and Dissemination. Led by climate communication specialist Rob Gould, this webinar will instruct health officials how to package information and work with the news media to disseminate climate and health messages. This webinar will be recorded. ( Register)
Contested Cities: A Community Conversation
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 4.30-6.30pm
Classy Hippie Tea Company, 3226 Broadway Suite A, Sacramento
Join Imagining America and the Center for Regional Change for a community conversation in the Oak Park neighborhood reflecting on the history of development in this culturally rich area and discussing community visions for future development. This event will be co-facilitated by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, the author of Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York's Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Gabrielle will share her work documenting the long-term activism around development of New York's Lower East Side SPURA neighborhood. ( Register)  
City of Sacramento 2040 General Plan Update Visioning Workshops
April 22, 25, 29 – 5.30-7.30pm
The 2040 General Plan is the City of Sacramento’s blueprint for how and where Sacramento will grow over the next 20 years. Key topics like climate change, mobility, livability, and equity will be explored. In parallel, the City will also be preparing an ambitious Climate Action Plan that outlines a community-wide framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and establishes Sacramento as a climate leader. The family-friendly workshops will be Hagginwood (April 22), Meadowview (April 25), and Oak Park (April 29), and food will be provided. ( Learn more)
Webinar: Building a Culture of Transformational Resilience for Climate Impacts
Tuesday, April 23, noon-1pm
When climate-enhanced shocks severely strain or fracture social support networks, overwhelm vital public support systems, or breakdown other critical protective factors, individuals and groups can be pushed to a boiling point causing entire neighborhoods and communities to become “trauma-organized.” This webinar will describe different approaches used in towns and cities to proactively transitioned from trauma-organized to trauma-informed communities focused on building widespread capacity for Transformational Resilience. ( Register)
Rethinking the California HSR Project: What Can We Learn From Other Contexts?
Wednesday, April 24, noon-1pm
UC Center Sacramento, Room LL3, 1130 K Street, Sacramento
Why have a number of European and East Asian nations successfully built high-speed rail (HSR) networks, while California’s HSR project has met such hardship and controversy? What lessons can we learn from countries like France, Spain, or Germany, and can these lessons apply to California? And can high speed rail be planned and designed, to not only promote higher levels of mobility, but also economic development? This talk will respond to these questions by giving an overview of the lessons learned from European HSR projects, with an emphasis on the prerequisites for success. It will also discuss three dimensions of connectivity that help HSR be successful: spatial, intermodal, and operational connectivity. ( More info)
Building Community Wealth with Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Stories from the Field
Monday, April 29, 10am PDT
Creating climate-resilient cities means more than investing in infrastructure—it means tackling economic and racial inequality that leaves disinvested communities on the frontlines of climate damage. This webinar explores how building green stormwater infrastructure can be a key intervention point for building community wealth, creating a vibrant economic system where democratic ownership and control creates more equitable outcomes. In particular, green infrastructure could create new opportunities to launch and support social enterprises and worker-owned firms. Based on the recent report by The Democracy Collaborative, Building Resiliency through Green Infrastructure: A Community Wealth Building Approach, the webinar will highlight the perspectives of practitioners on the ground, partners in implementation, and experts in the field of water management. It will explore leading examples already in operation and strategies to expand these models across the country. ( Register)
Housing Innovation in California: Translating Policy into Programs Following Historic Legislation
Wednesday, May 1, noon-1pm
UC Center Sacramento, Room LL3, 1130 K Street, Sacramento
California has advanced a historic suite of housing-related bills and propositions. In the fall of 2017 Governor Brown signed into legislation a broad suite of housing-related bills, and in the fall of 2018 voters approved two bonds to fund housing and homeless programs. Taken collectively, the magnitude of this suite of policy and funding legislation has the potential to significantly change the landscape for housing in California. This panel will reflect on how far we have come, identify new bills and programs in the housing field, and suggest opportunities to advance comprehensive and effective housing policies for the coming legislative year. ( More info)
SB 2 Planning Grant Program Workshop Webinar
Wednesday, May 1, 1-4pm
The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has approximately $123 million available under the SB 2 Planning Grants Program (PGP). The PGP is intended for the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans that streamline housing approvals and accelerate housing production. In this workshop, HCD will discuss details of the funding, review the application, submission processes, and answer any questions you may have about the program. Also covered in the workshops are details concerning technical assistance and upcoming regional technical assistance seminars. ( Register)
Webinar: Solar and energy efficiency: Resources to support local initiatives for low-to-moderate income communities
Tuesday, May 7, 11am PDT
Low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities face unique challenges when it comes to accessing energy efficiency solutions and solar energy. This webinar will serve as an educational resource for local governments interested in better understanding market barriers and expanding solar and energy efficiency deployment in low to moderate income communities. Participants will be able to explore and visualize data on how rooftop solar on LMI housing represents an opportunity to help modernize the U.S electric grid and advance energy affordability in low-income communities. The webinar will also discuss financing options and incentives, a City Clean Energy Scorecard, and local approaches for combining energy efficiency and solar to benefit LMI households. (Register)
Climate Change Adaptation: Challenges for California and the World
Wednesday, May 15, noon-1pm
UC Center Sacramento, Room LL3, 1130 K Street, Sacramento
Professor William Collins, UC Berkeley Kate Gordon, Director, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. ( More info)
Sacramento Tree Foundation 2019 Greenprint Summit: Growing Neighborhood Leadership
Saturday, May 18, 9am-3pm
Betty Irene Moore Hall, UCD Sacramento Campus, 2750 48 th Street, Sacramento
Sacramento is known worldwide for being the City of Trees, but some neighborhoods have much better tree canopy than others. Does your neighborhood lack trees? Want to change that? Attend and learn how the Sacramento Tree Foundation's NeighborWoods initiative brings together people to make positive change in their communities. You'll get the chance to network with other community members who are passionate for improving their neighborhoods, and you'll go home with a toolkit for making positive change. Admission is $15 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Assistance is available for transportation, childcare, etc. Please contact Theresa Bible at for details. ( Link)
The Business of Local Energy Symposium 2019
June 20-21, Irvine, California
Join Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) experts and leaders from across the state for a day-long Symposium on June 21 about accelerating California's local energy resource development via CCAs and sharing best practices in order to create more benefits for local communities. There will also be a pre-symposium workshop on June 20 discussing advanced risk management, accelerating electric vehicle adoption, and cutting edge CCA research. ( Register)
The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is a membership based collaborative network designed to promote greater climate change resilience planning coordination in the six-county Sacramento Region. The purpose of this collaborative network is to create a forum where leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor can come together to exchange information, identify vulnerabilities and data gaps, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions in an effort to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Capital Region.
CRC is a program of the  Local Government Commission .