Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
August 21, 2019
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
We hope that Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative members will save the date for our 2019 Annual Members Forum, on Monday, September 23, from 12.30 to 4pm. The event will feature opportunities for collaboration and synergy across sectors and jurisdictions, as well as a discussion of how CRC can support future opportunities and project concepts to bring additional capacity to our region. An event registration will be coming shortly!
News
Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change
Iceland has marked its first-ever loss of a glacier to climate change as scientists warn that hundreds of other ice sheets on the subarctic island risk the same fate. As the world recently marked the warmest July ever on record, a bronze plaque was mounted on a bare rock in a ceremony on the barren terrain once covered by the Okjokull glacier in western Iceland. The plaque bears the inscription “A letter to the future”: “In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.” ( Guardian) Photo: Jeremie Richard/AFP/Getty Images
2°C: Beyond the Limit – Extreme climate change has arrived in America
Over the past two decades, the 2 degrees Celsius number has emerged as a critical threshold for global warming. According to a Washington Post interactive, this tipping point has already arrived in many towns across the US. Analyzing over 100 years of data for 3,107 U.S. counties, the Post found that 71 have already exceeded 2 degrees C of warming above pre-industrial levels, including Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Orange County in California. The fastest-warming state in the country is Alaska, which may come as no surprise given its recent spate of heat waves and wildfires. ( Washington Post)
Earth stopped getting greener 20 years ago
The world is gradually becoming less green, scientists have found. Plant growth is declining all over the planet, and new research links the phenomenon to decreasing moisture in the air — a consequence of climate change. Satellite observations revealed expanding vegetation worldwide during much of the 1980s and 1990s. But about 20 years ago, the trend stopped. Since then, more than half of the world’s vegetated landscapes have been experiencing a “browning” trend, or decrease in plant growth. Many researchers have suggested that climate change, on the whole, is likely to be a net negative for much of the world’s vegetation, including agricultural crops. ( Science Advances)
A red oak live tweets climate change
If a tree could talk, what might it say? For the arbor-curious, a red oak at the Harvard Forest in Petersham has been tweeting as @awitnesstree since July 17. Outfitted with sensors and cameras, and programmed with code that allows it to string together posts with prewritten bits of text, the Harvard Forest Witness Tree has been sharing on-the-ground insights into its own environmental life and that of its forest. “We’ve done the work as a team to equip the tree with a voice, which we decided made the most sense in the first person, and even with a personality, in order to make it relatable to a larger audience. But most importantly, our Witness Tree is an objectively data-driven account, which I expect will amplify messages of climate change. But we don’t decide what gets posted, the tree does.” ( Harvard Gazette) Photo: Lynda Mapes
Climate change isn’t an intangible future risk. It’s here now, and it’s killing us.
Four hundred deaths in the Netherlands. More than 18,000 hospitalizations in Japan. An estimated 169 million people on alert in the United States. This isn’t the plot of a disaster movie. The numbers reflect the impact of extreme heat waves that smothered countries around the world in July and early August, a phenomenon that scientists warn will intensify as the Earth warms. July was the hottest month on record, said Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization. “This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now, and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action.” ( Washington Post)
Scientists are using the cold of outer space to rethink air conditioning
A California-based company  SkyCool Systems is in the early stages of manufacturing a cooling  system that’s more energy efficient than anything humans have used for a century.  It’s doing it using radiative cooling, a concept that was used in the Middle East and India hundreds of years ago. The company has five pilot programs to prove their concept can be applied to real world scenarios, including three in the US. ( Quartz) Photo: Quartz
Can’t take the heat? ‘Cool walls’ can reduce energy costs, pollution
A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that in many places sunlight-reflecting “cool” exterior walls can save many types of buildings as much or more energy than sunlight-reflecting cool roofs. Across most of the U.S., about 40% to 60% of all buildings were built before 1980, when building codes specified much less wall insulation than required today. Repainting the exterior walls of these older buildings with light-colored cool paints – which can be found in home supply stores – offers the greatest benefit because they have the least insulation. For single-family homes across all California climates, the study found potential energy cost savings of 4% to 27%. Cool walls also offer comparable reductions in annual emissions of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, and GHGs such as carbon dioxide. ( LBNL) Photo: iStock/YayaErnst)
Alaska records warmest month ever in July with coastline barren of sea ice
There is now no sea ice within 150 miles of Alaskan shores. The pace of ice loss is “unprecedented” in 40 years of satellite records, scientists said, with the Bering Sea left completely ice-free. The record-breaking warmth in Alaska is part of a broader heatwave that has swept the northern latitudes, with Greenland shedding a record 12.5 gigatons of ice into the ocean in a single day, Norway experiencing its joint hottest day ever and forest fires in Siberia tearing through an area as large as Belgium. Scientists warned that the extreme conditions are consistent with the most pessimistic scenario where countries do little to constrain global heating by cutting planet-warming gases from cars, trucks and power generation. “It looks like the worst case scenario put forward by the IPCC could be an underestimate because we are seeing ice melting now that we expected 30 to 40 years from now.” ( Guardian) Photo: Lance King/Getty Images
Unprecedented wildfires are smothering the Arctic in smoke
Right now, much of the top of the world is smoked out. NASA satellites have observed what looks like a vortex of smoke swirling over Siberia, which has been on fire for weeks. Satellites have been monitoring huge plumes of smoke from 100 wildfires above the Arctic Circle in parts of Russia, as well as Canada and Alaska. “I think it’s fair to say July Arctic Circle #wildfires are now at unprecedented levels,” Copernicus senior scientist Mark Parrington said. ( Forbes) Photo: Kirill Shipitsin\TASS via Getty Images
A heat wave is turning Greenland’s ice to slush. That’s bad news.
The heat wave that wreaked havoc on Europe in late July has now migrated northward, parking itself over Greenland. As air temperatures over the ice rise, over half of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet had softened to slush. This is the second major hot stretch to hit the ice sheet this season, and the second to cause melting across major swaths of the ice sheet. The result is a summer melt season so intense that it’s on track to tie or break the record for the most water loss ever recorded. ( NatGeo)
Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted
Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared. A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilised the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia. Scientists were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognisable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had encountered during initial visits a decade or so earlier. ( Guardian) Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
These futuristic homes can withstand severe conditions—like 2,300 degrees of heat
Made of earth-friendly bioceramic, Geoship’s geodesic domes envision a new future for humanity. The company aims to build incredibly strong and sustainable geodesic dome homes—and they’ve partnered with Zappos, Buckminster Fuller Institute, and others to build transitional villages for the homeless living in and around Las Vegas. The domes offer an alternative approach to single-family housing and community living, and they’re practical, rugged, and smart. They’ll be built with water-activated ceramic cement, which can withstand massive floods and raging forest fires with temperatures up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The material is nontoxic and recyclable; it can withstand salt, mold, and rust; and the structures have a shelf life of over 500 years. ( Dwell)
Tools & Resources
Red Cross and Red Crescent: Heatwave Guide for Cities
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies released a practical guide to help city officials prepare for heat waves. The guidebook emphasizes that early action can be taken well in advance to prevent and reduce health risks. The guide provides information and recommendations on working with partners to understand city-specific heatwave risks; operational approaches to prepare for an imminent heatwave; response strategies to reduce human harm; and ways to learn from a heatwave that has just ended. Case studies from around the world highlight effective urban heat adaptation strategies, including early warning systems, climate-sensitive designs and public information campaigns. ( Climate Centre)
Upcoming Opportunities
Eco-Adapt Health and Climate Change Survey
EcoAdapt is assessing the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to health. This survey aims to assess the needs of health professionals working to prepare for and respond to multiple stresses, including climate change. The survey intends to assess understanding of climate change impacts among health professionals, and identify activities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate-related challenges. ( Survey)
Climate Stewards Initiative Needs Initiative Survey
The University of California – California Naturalist Program Climate Stewards Initiative is developing a new certification course launching in 2021. This course will certify adults as UC Climate Stewards. The vision is to prepare Climate Stewards to communicate and engage in local, collective activities to advance community and ecosystem resilience in a changing climate. Once certified, volunteers will join a vibrant Community of Practice to share best practices and support each other in their work. To ensure a robust and meaningful course, the UC Climate Stewards Initiative is conducting a needs assessment to inform the creation of curriculum content. If you have any questions, reach out to Sarah-Mae Nelson at smanelson@ucanr.edu. ( UCANR)
Cal-Adapt User Survey
Cal-Adapt wants to hear from you! The Cal-Adapt team continually strives to make its climate data visualizations, interpretation, and download tools more useful. This survey will expand the Cal-Adapt team’s understanding of who uses Cal-Adapt and for what purposes, to expand the tools available, build a seamless user experience, and support climate change adaptation across California. Please fill out a survey to let us know what tools would help you understand California climate change. ( Cal-Adapt)
Solar Energy Innovation Network: Solar in Rural Communities and Commercial-Scale Solar
The Solar Energy Innovation Network program is seeking applications for collaborative research projects to address challenges related to solar adoption in rural communities, multifamily housing, community solar projects, and commercial buildings. Teams are encouraged to include state and local governments, utilities, industry, regulators, nonprofits, and academics. Innovation Network teams will receive technical assistance and facilitation support from NREL and other expert partners for 15 to 18 months, as well as funding. Round 1 focused on grid integration, resilience, and reliability. Deadline: September 4. ( DOE)
PG&E Better Together Resilient Communities Grant Program
Through the Better Together Resilient Communities grant program, PG&E plans to invest $2 million over five years―or $400,000 per year―in shareholder-funded grants to support local initiatives to build greater climate resilience throughout Northern and Central California. In 2019, PG&E is requesting grant proposals that build community capacity to reduce wildfire risk and support healthy and resilient forests and watersheds. Priority will be given to projects located in elevated or extreme fire risk areas and to those that address the needs of environmental and social justice communities. Deadline: September 6, 2019. ( PG&E)
Public Comment: Draft Round III TCC Program Guidelines
The Strategic Growth Council is excited to share the first draft of the Round 3 Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program Guidelines. The public comment period for this draft will be from August 12, 2019 to September 6, 2019. All comments can be submitted by email or by mail. Please review our summary memo for additional details and instructions. ( SGC)
Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program Easement and Planning Grants
The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation 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. Final deadline: September 13. ( SGC)
Tribal Training Support for the Community and Tribal Air Quality Programs
EPA is requesting applications from eligible entities to provide training and technical support to tribes and the tribal community. The training and technical support should be designed to develop and/or enhance the capacity of tribes to successfully implement efficient and effective air quality management programs. Deadline: September 20, 2019. ( Grants.gov)
USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Sustainable Agricultural Systems Grant
Applications must focus on approaches that promote transformational changes in the food and agriculture system within the next 25 years. The program seeks creative and visionary applications that take a systems approach, and that will significantly improve the supply of abundant, affordable, safe, nutritious, and accessible food, while providing sustainable opportunities for expansion of the bioeconomy. These approaches must demonstrate current and future social, behavioral, economic, health, and environmental impacts. Deadline: Sept. 26. ( USDA)
California Air Resources Board: Community Air Grant
This grant program will support community-based organizations to work actively with local governments to identify, evaluate, and reduce air pollution and exposure to harmful emissions in their communities. The program will help support AB 617, which established a community-based framework to improve air quality and reduce exposure to toxic air pollutants in California communities most impacted by air pollution. Deadline: Sept. 30. ( CARB)
Local Foods, Local Places 2019-2020 Grant
Local Foods, Local Places helps communities revitalize neighborhoods through development of local food systems. The program aims to support projects that create livable, walkable, economically vibrant main streets and mixed-use neighborhoods; boost economic opportunities for local farmers and main street businesses; and improve access to healthy, local food, especially among disadvantaged populations. The program will provide communities planning assistance that centers around a two-day community workshop. Communities with projects in federal Opportunity Zones will receive special consideration. Deadline: 5pm ET, September 30. ( EPA)
WaterSMART Drought Response Program: Drought Resiliency Projects 
This grant invites states, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with the Bureau of Reclamation on Drought Resiliency Projects that will increase the reliability of water supplies; improve water management; and provide benefits for fish, wildlife, and the environment to mitigate impacts caused by drought. Deadline for FY 2020 funding: October 16. ( Grants.gov)
National Institutes of Health Funding Opportunity – Environmental Influences on Aging: Effects of Extreme Weather & Disaster Events on Aging Populations
This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) aims to advance our understanding of the impact of extreme weather and disaster events on aging human populations. Together with companion FOA ( PAR- 19-249) that focuses on underlying mechanisms of aging utilizing animal models, these two FOAs will help to explicate the behavioral, biological, and socioecological processes that occur during extreme weather or disaster events and that affect aging processes. The goal is to improve the health and well-being of older adults via increased knowledge about extreme weather and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Deadline: Nov. 4. ( NIH)
American Geophysical Union: Thriving Earth Exchange
The American Geophysical Union (AGU)’s Thriving Earth Exchange is seeking several US communities interested in advancing their priorities through collaborative science. For example, communities have worked with AGU scientists to develop a drought vulnerability assessment; assess flood vulnerability of a food distribution center; and save millions in unnecessary remediation costs when creating a recreational park. Join over 98 communities that are advancing their priorities in climate resilience, pollution, natural resource management, or natural hazards! Learn more about our program here. Applications for the December cohort are considered on a rolling basis until 15 November 2019. ( Thriving Earth Exchange)
SB 2: $123 million available for Housing Planning Grants
The Department of Housing and Community Development has $123 million available under the SB2 Planning Grants Program (PGP). The PGP will 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. This a is a non-competitive, over-the-counter grant program. Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2019. ( HCD)
Ford Foundation: Challenge Inequality Grant Program
The Ford Foundation is currently accepting brief pitches for ideas and projects that challenge inequality in their seven program areas - one of which is Natural Resources and Climate Change. Past projects have included communications assistance to promote community land and forestry rights as effective climate change solutions, and promoting learning exchanges on forestry and climate change. Project ideas can be submitted on a rolling basis. ( Ford Foundation
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, innovative community-based projects that engage in community organizing to advocate for environmental health and justice; preserve and restore habitats supporting biological diversity; and prevent or remedy toxic pollution. The Foundation has an open Letter of Inquiry process for general support grants to grassroots organizations. ( Link)
Upcoming Events
Webinar: Building Climate Resilience by Connecting to Health
Thursday, August 22, 11am
Climate change has been called the greatest 21st century threat to public health. Health departments from around the country are engaging communities and professionals from other disciplines to implement adaptation strategies and increase community resiliency. This webinar will revisit the 2018 discussion provided by speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Climate-Ready States & Cities Initiative. ( Register)
Valley Vision: Farm to Fork Live
Thursday, August 22, 12.30-5.30pm
Woodland Community College, 2300 E. Gibson Rd, Woodland
Farm to Fork Live will showcase the ways in which new technologies and innovations in precision agriculture and food processing are accelerating the food and ag economy in the Sacramento region. We’ll hear from entrepreneurs, farmers, and companies using exciting new technologies. ( RSVP)
APA Sacramento Valley Speaker Series: Envisioning Corridors for Stronger Communities
Friday, August 23, 8.30-10.30am
West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Ave, West Sacramento
To build strong communities, we need to rethink how our public rights-of-way interact with the people who travel along them. In this session, we look at transportation corridors, corridor analysis, project development, and best practices. From the local perspective, we’ll have representatives of SACOG’s Civic Lab 2.0 program, which focuses this year’s efforts on corridor revitalization. Broadening our view, we’ll discuss the Urban Land Institute’s recent publications, Envisioning Healthy Corridors: Lessons from Our Communities and Blind Spots: How Unhealthy Corridors Harm Communities and How to Fix Them. Cost: $20-$30. ( SVSAPA)
Webinar: Enabling all-electric, resilient homes
Wednesday, August 28, 11am-12pm
This webinar is the third in our 2019 series on the Clean Coalition’s North Bay Community Resilience Initiative, a groundbreaking initiative to provide local governments, developers, and residents in disaster-affected areas with the information and tools they need to rebuild their communities with resilience. ( Register)
Transformative Climate Communities Program Workshops Aug 28-30
August 28, 3-4pm (Maya Angelou Library 2324 Pock Lane, Stockton), August 30, 2-3pm (webinar)
The Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) team at Strategic Growth Council is holding informational workshops to discuss the Round 3 draft guidelines and timeline for the TCC Program. RSVP to Alexandra Gallo at Alexandra.Gallo@SGC.CA.GOV for the in-person workshop in Stockton, or register for the webinar.
Webinar: Climate Change: What’s natural, what’s human-caused, and how do we know?
Thursday, August 29, 9-101.15am
It is well known that Earth’s climate changes due to natural cycles of various length: from the ice ages to El Nino. We also know conclusively that human emissions of GHGs are causing the Earth’s average temperature to warm rapidly, causing glaciers to melt, sea level to rise, and storm patterns to change. Thus, the climate that we experience at any time results from some combination of natural and human causes. How do climate scientists disentangle these effects to identify the true impact of human activities on climate? We will explore this question through case studies on extreme storms in the northeast US and glacial melting in Greenland. ( Register)
Cleaner Air Partnership – Preparing for the Next Fires: The Latest on State Forest Management and Local Air Monitoring
Friday, August 30, 11.30am-1.30pm
Please join the Cleaner Air Partnership’s quarterly luncheon to hear the latest about the State of California’s investments in wildfire preparation and prevention, and receive an update on the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District’s work with community members in South Sacramento to deploy air quality monitoring equipment. These gatherings are an opportunity to connect with leaders in government, business, health and environmental advocacy and learn about important air quality topics affecting the Sacramento region. ( RSVP)
2019 Sacramento ACT Environmental Justice Fundraiser
Saturday, September 7, 12.30-3.30pm
South Sacramento Christian Church, 7710 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento
Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll is an ordained baptist minister, Pastor of the church by the side of the road in Berkeley, and the Co-Founder of the Green the Church Campaign. His work is to educate chruch leaders and religious academics on biblical teachings that support the green movement and to create green ministries in churches. He seeks to ensure that the new green economy is inclusive and that communities of color are at the forefront of the movement. Join us for a wonderful event full of information, light refreshments and good company. ( Tickets)
Webinar – Killer Heat in the United States: The Future of Dangerously Hot Days
Monday, September 9, 10.15-11.45am PDT
The United States is facing a potentially staggering expansion of dangerous heat over the coming decades. A Union of Concerned Scientist (UCS) analysis, “Killer Heat in the United States,” shows the rapid, widespread increases in extreme heat that are projected to occur due to climate change, including conditions so extreme that a heat index cannot be measured. The report includes a tool to compare rising heat in your community under various scenarios. Join UCS report authors to learn more about the report methodology, projections and concepts for adaptation. ( Register)
Event/Webinar: Improving Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings
Wednesday, September 18, 8.30am-12pm
Bay Area Metro Center, 375 Beale Street, San Francisco
Improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings will be a vital part of addressing climate change. This event will focus on tools local governments can use to reduce energy use and GHG emissions from existing residential buildings, such as climate action plans, benchmarking, time-of-sale ordinances, reach codes, and incentives. (Registration: webinar or in-person event)
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 .