Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
January 6, 2021
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
We would like to wish everyone a happy new year and bid a warm welcome to our newest member, Green Technical Education & Employment! Green Tech is a community-based non-profit organization that offers innovative workforce skills to youth and young adults in frontline communities with an emphasis on environmental protection, justice and economic development. Their numerous programs prepare youth for careers contributing to energy efficiency, renewable energy and overall efforts to develop sustainable communities. Green Tech – alongside other Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative members Valley Vision, WALK Sacramento, and Breathe CA Sacramento Region – also supports the Sacramento Neighborhoods Activating on Air Quality (SNAAQ) project, which will empower community residents, business owners and educational institutions to identify solutions for achieving cleaner air and to take ownership of environmental decision-making processes that affect neighborhoods.

Our annual Flood PSA Campaign is set to begin this month! The goal of the campaign is to share resources and actionable strategies for building climate resilience with community members. We welcome any organization in the Capital Region to participate in this programming to spread resources to the communities you serve on the impact of extreme events and the importance of climate resilience. If you are interested, sign up to participate in the campaign here.
Follow the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative on social media!
Laying the groundwork: Environmental justice efforts in Sacramento
Widespread efforts to achieve environmental justice in Sacramento have been gaining momentum, but proponents say the efforts will only be successful if they are inclusive and equitable, encouraging community members to speak for themselves, and elected officials, city planners and other decision-makers to actually listen. (Comstock) Photo: Ryan Angel Meza
What California's farmworkers can teach us during a season of giving
Every month since April, a local collective of Oxnard farmworkers called “De Campesinxs a Campesinxs (From Farmworkers to Farmworkers): Feeding those who feed us” has provided food, clothing, and school supplies to hundreds of farmworkers and families suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the children of the farmworker volunteers, every food delivery gave them a chance to see love in action: what it’s like for a community to come together, and for strangers to be generous — not just with their time and their effort, but with their attitude toward those in need. (Grist) Photo: Daniel A. Anderson
Key takeaways from the 2020 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change
Unless urgent action is taken, climate change will increasingly threaten global health, disrupt lives and livelihoods, and overwhelm healthcare systems, according to a new review published in the medical journal, The Lancet. The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change tracks 43 indicators on links between health and climate change; it is designed to provide better information to public health professionals and policymakers and accelerate their response to key threats and opportunities presented by climate change. (Columbia) Photo: Aleksander Popovski on Unsplash
Wildfire smoke is poisoning California's kids
The fires sweeping across millions of acres in California aren’t just incinerating trees and houses. They’re also filling the lungs of California’s children with smoke, with potentially grave effects over the course of their lives. The effects are not evenly felt. While California as a whole has seen a steady uptick in smoke days, counties in the state’s Central Valley, which is already cursed with some of the most polluted air, were particularly hard hit by wildfire smoke this year. (NYT)
Five action steps for Health and Human Services to help lead a national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis
The climate crisis is a public health crisis, and it should be at the top of the agenda for the nation’s top health official. Every year, climate change causes thousands of deaths, costs billions to America’s healthcare system, and leads to increased illnesses, food insecurity, and spread of infectious diseases. These impacts fall disproportionately on communities of color and low-income communities. As California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra has stood up for his state’s climate leadership in the face of continuous attack from the Trump administration. Today, Evergreen Action is releasing 5 concrete actions that the next Department of Health and Human Services must deliver in the all-out government mobilization to defeat the climate crisis. (Medium)
The long-lasting mental health effects of wildfires
In the wake of a fire, governments and newspapers count the damage: lives lost, acres of forest burned, homes and businesses destroyed. Those are the hard numbers, the data we have to measure the destruction. But trauma is not always quantifiable; it manifests in myriad ways that are uncountable and untracked by official tallies, and unlike the immediate damage, it unfolds over time. Each new fire creates a new group of evacuees, survivors, and communities with their lives upended. And with the increasing numbers of fires, there will be more people who need help across the western United States, where acres burned by forest fires have increased by 1,200 percent in the past four decades. (Outside) Illustration: Charlotte Fu
Protection for the rich, retreat for the poor
The US’s implementation of climate change adaptation programs is exacerbating inequality and breeding a new form of climate gentrification. This difference is driven by a US federal disaster policy that is focused on protecting assets and cost-effectiveness, rather than protecting populations. Adaptation measures based around property acquisitions, such as home buyout programs, correlate with high racial diversity and low home values, household incomes, and population densities. While climate-minded modifications such as green roofs, climate change–proof parks, and tree-lined streets—designed to help cities prepare for extreme weather events—seem like a win-win for residents, in many areas these greening projects are changing social demographics and driving up house prices. (Hakai)
Can green walls cool urban heat?
University of Antwerp researchers reviewed recent green wall literature to understand how green walls might be applied to improve urban resilience. The literature shows green walls are a resource to decrease temperatures in urban environments and reduce the heat island effect. Green walls lower indoor and ambient air temperatures, increase thermal comfort, and reduce energy demands for additional cooling. The researchers found that urban green infrastructure, including the use of vertical green walls, may be an effective strategy for cooling at building and street levels; and that shading was the most important factor for cooling. (Science Direct)
New head of Sacramento Tree Foundation on creating equity, fighting climate change
The Sacramento Tree Foundation played a critical role helping the capital city earn the City of Trees moniker. Filling the shoes of longtime executive director Ray Tretheway is Jessica Sanders. Sanders will soon be moving to Sacramento from Washington, D.C., where she served as director of Science and Policy at Casey Trees. She recently spoke with CapRadio about what she hopes to achieve in her new role, including addressing issues of equity and climate change. (CPR) Photo: Andrew Nixon / CapRadio
Can planting trees make a city more equitable?
As the U.S. grapples with natural disasters and racial injustice, one coalition of U.S. cities, companies and nonprofits sees a way to make an impact on both fronts: trees. Specifically, they committed to planting and restoring 855 million of them by 2030 as part of the Trillion Trees Initiative, a global push to encourage reforestation to capture carbon and slow the effects of global heating. It’s the first nationwide pledge to the program, and additionally noteworthy because the U.S. group — which includes Microsoft Corp. and Mastercard Inc. — will focus on urban plantings as means of improving air quality in communities that have been disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change. (Bloomberg) Photo: Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Can carbon credits save the San Joaquin Delta Islands and protect California's vital water hub?
The islands of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are sinking as the rich peat soil that attracted generations of farmers dries out and decays. As the peat decomposes, it releases about 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, and as the islands sink, the levees that protect them are at increasing risk of failure. An ambitious plan could halt the decay, sequester the carbon and potentially reverse the sinking. The plan would provide a carrot for Delta farmers to convert their island acreage to rice fields or managed wetlands to cut carbon emissions and protect their lands and communities as well as California’s water hub. Shepherded by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy – and CRC member – the Delta Carbon Program is near completion of the first-ever third-party verification of wetlands that quantifies the carbon emission reduction estimates from 1,600 acres of managed wetlands. (Water Education) Photo: Delta Conservancy
Returning the land: Indigenous leaders on the growing 'landback' movement and their fight for climate justice
The growing landback movement – returning land to the stewardship of Indigenous peoples – goes beyond the transfer of deeds to include respecting Indigenous rights, preserving languages and traditions, and ensuring food sovereignty, housing, and clean air and water. From fire management to forest stewardship, Indigenous peoples have over generations amassed crucial knowledge about living and caring for ecosystems in a sustainable manner. It’s no wonder many consider landback a keystone of environmental justice. (Grist) Photo: Willi White
Are we really ready to tackle the climate crisis? Yes, here's 6 reasons why
The coronavirus pandemic, while first and foremost a health, employment and economic crisis, will also impact efforts to advance climate action. On the other hand, this health crisis shows that countries can respond rapidly to a global emergency. Here are six ways the world has shown it’s ready for more ambitious climate action since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015. (World Economic Forum)
Tools & Resources
Draft Report: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Contemporary Wildfire, Prescribed Fire, and Forest Management Activities
The California Air Resources Board has prepared a report that presents state-wide retrospective estimates of: (1) GHG emissions associated with contemporary wildfires and prescribed burning activities; and (2) changes in ecosystem carbon stocks associated with other non-fire forest management activities (e.g., timber harvest, forest thinning, and other activities that reduce fire risk), both for the period 2002–2019. A report that describes the methodologies and summarizes the estimation results is now available for informal public comment and review. (CARB)
Building Codes Save: Losses Avoided as a Result of Adopting Hazard-Resistant Building Codes
Millions of homes with archaic building codes are being built, leaving them vulnerable to flooding, hurricane winds and earthquakes, according to a groundbreaking new federal report that links out-of-date building codes to billions of dollars in property damage. FEMA’s report Building Codes Save shows that 65% of the counties and municipalities in the US have not adopted modern building codes. The communities with archaic building codes incur an additional $1.6 billion a year in property damage that could be averted with up-to-date codes. “Adopting and enforcing building codes is among the most efficient ways to build a resilient society,” FEMA says. (FEMA)
New Reports Emphasize Disparities in Access to Cooling Parks and Schoolyards
The Trust for Public Land recently released two new resources: School’s Out and The Heat Is On. The Heat Is On investigates how race and income relate to access to parks. On average, communities within a 10-minute walking access are cooler than those that lack such access to a park by as much as 6 degrees. Parks serving primarily non-White populations are, on average, half the size of parks that serve majority-White populations and nearly five times more crowded. School’s Out analyzes the millions of students impacted by heat islands around the US. The report finds that 36% of the nation’s 50.8 million public school students attend school in a heat island, and there is a strong correlation between populations with low income and schools being situated in heat islands. The report recommends opening schoolyards to the public during non-school hours to increase national access to parks and green areas.
Upcoming Opportunities
Community Air Protection: South Sacramento/Florin Steering Committee Openings
The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District is looking for South Sacramento/Florin community members to serve on an air quality steering committee. This committee will give the District ideas to help improve air quality and will recommend the best ways to share air quality information with the South Sacramento/Florin community. The committee members may earn a monthly stipend, depending upon their eligibility and whether funds are available. Deadline: January 7. (SMAQMD)
Towards a Just Recovery
The Center for Community Investment (CCI) at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is offering its first group course, Toward a Just Recovery. It is designed for leaders committed to leveraging community investment and in a position to tackle a challenge associated with racial inequities and economic marginalization in their communities. It will support teams of leaders in clarifying local priorities, enlisting institutions that could contribute to those priorities, developing a pipeline of investments, and changing policies and practices to create a more supportive financing environment. Deadline: January 13, 2021. (CCI)
SACOG: Open call for projects for Community Design Funding Program
SACOG’s Community Design Funding Program provides funding to local governments to build placemaking projects in their communities. The projects must implement any of the SACOG Blueprint Principles which include housing options, transportation options, infill development, mixed land uses, compact development, preservation of natural resources, and quality design. Deadline: January 15, 2021. (SACOG)
FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reward states and communities that seek to address the effects of climate change under a new grant program that provides an unprecedented amount of money for resilience projects and planning. FEMA will allocate $500 million through its Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program for mitigation efforts such as moving buildings out of floodplains and strengthening building codes. BRIC places an emphasis on addressing the effects of climate change; strengthening building codes; and using natural barriers such as wetlands, floodplains and reefs to build resilience to riverine flooding and sea-level rise. Local governments must apply as sub-applicants. Deadline: January 29, 2021. (FEMA)
FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Program
The Flood Mitigation Assistance Program is a competitive grant program that provides funding to states, local communities, federally-recognized tribes and territories. Funds can be used for projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. $160 million is available through this program for the following: Project Scoping, Community Flood Mitigation Projects, Technical Assistance, Flood Hazard Mitigation Planning, and Individual Flood Mitigation Projects. Deadline: January 29, 2021. (FEMA)
California Energy Commission's Flood Production Investment Program
The Food Production Investment Program provides grants to food processors to implement projects that reduce GHGs and onsite energy consumption. Goals are to accelerate the adoption of advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at California food processing plants, demonstrate their reliability and effectiveness, help California food processors work towards a low carbon future, and benefit priority populations. Deadline: February 5, 2021. (CEC)
Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Program (FY 2021-22)
The Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Program was created to support Caltrans' mission of providing a safe, sustainable, integrated, and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability. This grant program includes Sustainable Communities grants to encourage local and regional planning that furthers state goals, and Strategic Partnerships Grants to identify and address statewide, interregional, or regional transportation deficiencies on the State highway system in partnership with Caltrans. Deadline: February 12, 2021. (Caltrans)
UC Davis Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Small Grants Program
The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant funds projects that support California’s farmers and ranchers of all scales, as well as California’s rural and urban communities. The program will give priority to projects that benefit socially disadvantaged communities and/or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Deadline: February 15, 2021. (UCD)
Prop 68 Sierra Nevada Grant Programs
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy issues grants to public agencies, nonprofits, and eligible tribes for projects that restore, protect, and enhance Sierra Nevada watersheds and communities. These grants are awarded under three separate programs: Forest & Watershed Health, Resilient Sierra Nevada Communities, and Vibrant Recreation & Tourism. Beginning July 2020, prospective applicants are invited to submit concept proposals, which are reviewed on a quarterly basis. Up to $5 million from Proposition 68 funds are available for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 funding cycles. More information is available on the Conservancy website. (SNC)
Statewide Park Program (SPP)
The California Department of Parks and Recreation will distribute $395 million to create new parks, expand an existing park, or renovate an existing park in underserved communities across California. Deadline: March 12, 2021. (SPP)
Clean Cars 4 All (CC4A) now accepting applications!
The CC4A program delivers electric vehicle incentives to eligible residents and is funded by Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund/California Climate Investment dollars administered by the California Air Resource Board. Up to $9,500 is available for income-qualified residents to retire their older vehicles and replace them with new or used, zero or partial-zero emissions vehicles, and the incentives can be combined with Clean Vehicle Rebate Project funds. (CC4A)
Upcoming Events
Research to Action: Science & Solutions for a Planet under Pressure
January 5-9, 2021
We are bringing together leaders, research partners, scientists, decision-makers and friends from across the globe to share their science and solutions to the world's most pressing global challenges. This conference will focus on the physical and social realities of climate change and the way this impacts people, ecosystems, markets and places; and how implementing climate solutions produces positive co-benefits to society, the economy, and the planet. (Register)
City of Sacramento: Electrifying Multi-Unit and Affordable Housing
Thursday, January 7, 2021, 3pm
The City of Sacramento is hosting a series of topic-focused webinar outreach events featuring subject matter and industry experts to support the proposed ordinance for electrifying new construction. The next event focuses on electrifying multi-unit and affordable housing, with speakers from Redwood Energy and Mutual Housing. (Register)
Community Listening Sessions: Sacramento Neighborhoods Activating on Air Quality
January 13, 20, 26, 6-7.30pm
Join Valley Vision, WALKSacramento, Breathe CA, and Green Tech to share your air quality concerns at an upcoming Sacramento Neighborhoods Activating on Air Quality (SNAAQ) community listening session! The input of North Sacramento and Oak Park residents will determine the placement of 20 air monitors and a strategy to reduce air pollution in these neighborhoods. Specific events will have live translation in Spanish, Hmong, or Vietnamese. If your organization sends out social media or email to residents of these neighborhoods, you can help spread the word using media kits available in four languages. (Register)
Office of Planning and Research: Adaptation Planning Guide Workshop Series
January 13, February 10, March 17, April 14, and May 12, all at 11am
Do you have questions about using the California Adaptation Planning Guide (APG)? Are you looking for additional guidance and workshop opportunities with fellow practitioners and experts in the field? In 2021, the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program (ICARP) will be partnering with state, local, and regional partners to host a series of in-depth webinar workshops on the APG and other resources for practitioners. Workshop content will feature a mix of introductory and technical content, case studies, tools and data, breakouts, and more. (Register)
Digital Environmental Engagement: Continuing the Conversation
Thursday, January 14, 11am
During this difficult year, we have rapidly become experts in getting together while staying apart. Meeting virtually has both expanded access and uncovered new obstacles. In June, CNRA and CalEPA hosted a 3-day conference where 59 panelists and almost 1,500 registrants gathered to share frontline stories and practical tips for digital environmental engagement. Seven months later, we continue the conversation and ask, “How can organizations keep up the momentum towards more dynamic and equitable engagement?” You’ll hear about the recent work of our panelists, learn about our new Digital Online Engagement Resource Catalogue, use instant polling to share lessons learned in real time, and have ample time for Q&A. (Register)
California State University: Addressing Wildfire and Smoke Impacts in California Briefing
Friday, January 15, 9am
Join experts from seven California State University campuses for a legislative and stakeholder briefing focused on one of the state’s most pressing issues. Each CSU expert will share how they are helping to mitigate the severity of wildfires and smoke impacts and to strengthen community wildfire resiliency using state-of-the-art fire prediction. You will also learn about opportunities for collaboration with leaders across the state. (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.