Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
January 9, 2020
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
Happy New Year! The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is delighted to share our impact report for 2019, a year in which we grew our membership by 43%, fulfilled 16 technical assistance requests to our membership, and engaged over 1,100 people via events and webinars. If you weren’t able to attend our last workshop of 2019, you can find those resources on our website. For 2020, we will be engaging on many of the region’s projects and efforts, including the Mayors’ Climate Commission, the City of Elk Grove’s transportation sector adaptation project, and the Capital Region Urban Heat Island project, which will be releasing results in February on how cool pavements and roofs, tree canopies, EVs, and other strategies can help to cool the region. We are also excited about the 2020 California Adaptation Forum in Riverside and hope to bring back many innovative adaptation strategies and ideas back to the Capital Region.
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The lost decade: How we awoke to climate change only to squander every chance to act
We may look back on the years 2009 to 2019 as the “lost decade” — a time when the world awoke to the reality of climate change only to squander the chance to take the action needed to tackle it. Now, many scientists fear the targets required to avoid catastrophe are slipping out of reach. As this decade — likely the hottest on record — comes to a close and another begins, one glaring question is: Can the world make up for this lost time? With the clock ticking closer to midnight, it’s worth reflecting on how we got here and what we might learn from the past 10 years. ( Huffington Post ) Photo: Juan Carlos Lucas/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Climate change will cost us even more than we think
An op-ed by Naomi Oreskes and Nicholas Stern argues that our economic models are inadequate at capturing the full scale of the costs and impacts of climate change, in part because economic models are built on assumptions and past experiences (stationarity) but rising GHGs are taking the climate into ranges beyond the range of human experience. Economic models also completely omit or assign a value of zero to things that they cannot/have not yet adequately quantified, such as ocean acidification or the impact of Himalayan glacial melt on downstream communities – yet we know these things will have profound impacts. Finally, the economic models also fail to capture cascading effects and feedback loops. Taken all together, these limitations in economic models and assessments mean that they are dangerously skewing our perception of the severe risks of climate change. ( NYT )
This was the decade that climate change slapped us in the face
2019 marks the close of the hottest decade on the books. Seven of the 10 hottest years ever recorded on the planet have taken place since 2010, the start of a decade that would force people and policymakers to come face-to-face with the unintended consequences of building a world by burning fossil fuels. Between then and today, broken temperature records, unnatural disasters, and homes lost would show just how catastrophically humans had transformed the planet. It’s been a decade of adapting to a new normal while clumsily figuring out how to safeguard the future from a climate crisis that’s only going to get worse. ( The Verge )
Australia’s hellish heat wave and wildfires, explained
Australia’s bushfires fires have already killed at least 10 people, torched more than 11.3 million acres, and destroyed more than 900 homes since September. The blazes made breathing the air in Sydney as bad as smoking 37 cigarettes and have killed 480 million animals, including nearly one-third of the koalas in one of Australia’s most populated koala habitats in an area 240 miles north of Sydney. Taken together, Australia serves as a microcosm of all the complicated ways that climate variables interact. Its weather this year also shows what other parts of the world may face as temperatures continue to rise. ( Vox )
Australia’s angry summer: This is what climate change looks like
Summer in Australia use to be something we yearned for: long, lazy days spent by the beach or pool, backyard barbecues, and games of cricket with family and friends. But recent summers have become a time of fear: Schools and workplaces are closed because of catastrophic fire danger, while we shelter in air-conditioned spaces to avoid heat waves and hazardous levels of smoke in the air. Campgrounds have been closed for the summer, and entire towns have been urged to evacuate ahead of “Code Red” fire weather. The fires raging across the southern half of the Australian continent this year have so far burned through more than 5 million hectares. To put that in context, the catastrophic 2018 fire season in California saw nearly 740,000 hectares burned. And this is all before we have even reached January and February, when the fire season typically peaks in Australia. Welcome to our new climate. ( Scientific American ) Photo: David Gray Getty Images
Climate chaos is displacing the world’s poor communities
Climate-fueled disasters such as wildfires, cyclones, and floods were the No. 1 reason that people were forced to flee their homes in the last decade, according to Oxfam. Overall, these events have displaced more than 20 million people, the majority from the world’s poorest countries. Between 2008 and 2018, the number of extreme weather disasters that displaced people increased five times, and people are three times more likely to be displaced by climate-fueled related disasters than by conflicts. ( Grist ) Photo: Pablo Tosco / Oxfam Intermón
The sad truth about our boldest climate target
Saying that we are likely to miss the 1.5˚C target is an unpopular move in the climate community. It solicits accusations of “defeatism” and being — a term I have heard too many times to count — “unhelpful.” Such accusations are premised on the notion that a cold assessment of our chances will destroy motivation, that it will leave audiences overwhelmed, hopeless, and disengaged. But the idea that hope lives or dies on the chances of hitting 1.5˚C is poisonous in the long-term. Exceeding 1.5˚C, which is likely to happen in our lifetimes, doesn’t mean anyone should feel apathetic or paralyzed. There’s no magic switch that flips at 1.5˚C, or 1.7, or 2.3, or 2.8, or 3.4. Exceeding one threshold does not in any way reduce the moral and political imperative to stay beneath the next. If anything, the need to mobilize against climate change only becomes greater with every new increment of heat, because the potential stakes grow larger. ( Vox )
The signal of human-caused climate change has emerged in everyday weather
For the first time, scientists have detected the “fingerprint” of human-induced climate change on daily weather patterns at the global scale. If verified by subsequent work, the findings would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change. The results also imply that research may be underestimating the contribution of climate change to extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods. The study concludes that the spatial patterns of global temperature and humidity are, in fact, distinguishable from natural variability, and have had a human component to them since 1999. ( Washington Post ) Photo: NOAA
Sacramento leaders are facing a choice: Help or hurt the climate with transportation dollars
Today’s planning decisions must shift us away from the relentless expansion of roadway capacity, toward a sustainable multi-modal transportation model. In short, our community must invest now in transportation solutions that enable people to do what is right for our future. ( SacBee )
Greenland ice losses rising faster than expected
Greenland’s ice sheet is melting much faster than previously thought, bringing some of the irreversible impacts of the climate emergency much closer. Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than in the 1990s and is tracking the IPCC's high-end climate warming scenario, which would see 40 million more people exposed to coastal flooding by 2100. The most complete analysis of Greenland ice loss to date show that Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992. This will put 400 million people at risk of flooding every year by the end of the century. “These are not unlikely events or small impacts; they are happening and will be devastating for coastal communities.” ( Eureka )
Climate change is ravaging the Arctic
Temperatures in the Arctic remained near record highs this year, according to NOAA’s Arctic report card, leading to low summer sea ice, cascading impacts on the regional food web and growing concerns over sea level rise. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, causing changes both in the ocean and on land. Ninety-five percent of the Greenland ice sheet thawed this reporting year. Arctic sea ice — which helps cool the polar regions, moderates global weather patterns and provides critical habitat for animals like polar bears — continued to decline, matching the second lowest summer extent recorded since records began in 1979. ( NYT ) Photo : NASA/EPA, via Shutterstock
Art project to capture 1,000 years of climate change at Lake Tahoe
An artist is starting a 1,000-year photography project in hopes of changing the impacts of climate change at Lake Tahoe. Conceptual artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats has partnered with Tahoe Public Art and Sierra Nevada College to install a camera on the East Shore Trail that will capture changes over the next 1,000 years. Working with a slowly fading pigment in a pinhole camera, Keats created a camera with a photograph that will theoretically develop over 1,000 years. The project, Tahoe Timescape, will act as a time capsule of the way we, in the present, have addressed climate change. ( Tahoe Timescape )
Climate Visuals photography award 2019: A new visual language for climate change
Climate Visuals is a project that aims to create a new visual language for climate change. Images of polar bears, melting ice and factories do not convey the urgent human stories at the heart of the issue. Based on international social research, Climate Visuals provides insights for a more compelling visual language for climate change. It has recognised existing and outstanding images with impact for its inaugural photography awards. The project is run by Climate Outreach, Europe’s leading climate communication organisation. ( Guardian ) Photo: Sumit Sanyal/2019 Climate Visuals Photography Award
Tools & Resources
Climate Justice from Below: Local Struggles for Just Transition(s)
The Just Transition Research Collaborative (JTRC) was established in 2018 to bring together experts from academia and civil society to collectively map and analyse different understandings and narratives of just transition that underpin the concept’s growing popularity and uptake. In this report, the JTRC looks at climate justice. ( UNRISD )
Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity
This report shows that a carefully managed transition to zero-carbon, climate-resilient cities could help secure national economic prosperity and improve quality of life while tackling the climate crisis. This report shows that GHG emissions in cities can be brought close to net-zero using proven technologies and practices. It identifies a bundle of technically feasible, widely available low-carbon measures that could cut emissions from key urban sectors by almost 90% by 2050. If designed and delivered with care, these measures could also address urgent political priorities, including air pollution, traffic congestion, poor services and lost productivity. The bundle of investments would collectively generate an economic return worth US$23.9 trillion in today’s terms. The leading countries of tomorrow will be those whose cities can successfully make an equitable and sustainable transition to a new urban economy. ( Link )
Upcoming Opportunities
What do you want to see featured at the 2020 California Adaptation Forum?
The 2020 California Adaptation Forum is taking place August 18-20, 2020, in Riverside, CA and aims to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to create resilient communities and tackle our state’s most pressing climate change challenges. To ensure the program features relevant and valuable content for participants, forum organizers are conducting a brief pre-forum survey. Take the survey by January 23 to provide your input into the planning process!
Transformative Climate Communities: Implementation & Planning Grant Program
The Strategic Growth Council is excited to release the Notice of Funding Availability for Round 3 of the Transformative Climate Communities Program (TCC). Three planning grants for $600,000 each will be available. Planning Grant applicants must complete a mandatory survey by January 15, 2020. Deadline: February 28, 2020. ( SGC)
National Forest Foundation Matching Awards Program
The National Forest Foundation (NFF) Matching Awards Program provides funding for results-oriented on-the-ground projects that enhance forest health and outdoor experiences on National Forests and Grasslands. Deadline: January 16, 2020. ( NFF)
FEMA 2019 Flood Mitigation Assistance and Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants
The  Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program has $70 million for two types of community flood mitigation activities: 1) Advance Assistance for flood mitigation design and development of community flood mitigation projects that will subsequently reduce flood claims; and 2) Mitigation projects that address community flood risk for the purpose of reducing flood claim payments. The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program provides Federal funds to State, Local and Tribal governments to implement and sustain cost-effective measures designed to reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural hazards, while also reducing reliance on Federal funding from future disasters. Deadline: January 31, 2020. ( FEMA)
WaterSMART Drought Response Program: Drought Contingency Planning Grants
The Bureau of Reclamation 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 drought contingency planning with Reclamation to build resilience to drought in advance of a crisis. Deadline: February 5, 2020, 4pm MST. (
California Climate Resilience Challenge
The California Resilience Challenge is a $2 million statewide competition to support innovative projects that address climate change-related threats. Recipients will receive grant awards of up to $200,000 for adaptation planning projects. Deadline: February 7, 2020. ( CRC)
Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC)
Administered by the Strategic Growth Council and implemented by the Department of Housing and Community Development, the AHSC Program funds land-use, housing, transportation, and land preservation projects to support infill and compact development that reduce GHG emissions. Deadline: February 11, 2020. ( SGC )
Strategic Growth Council: Climate Change Research Program Round 3
The Climate Change Research Program is a statewide research initiative that funds outcome-based research advancing the State’s climate goals, focused on climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Projects will demonstrate how State investments can advance climate change goals while building innovative, outcome-driven partnerships between the State, the research community, and other research partners. Deadline: February 12, 2020. ( SGC)
Department of the Interior: Tribal adaptation & ocean & coastal management & planning
This opportunity will provide funding for projects that support tribal resilience and ocean and coastal management planning as tribes incorporate science (including Traditional Knowledge) and technical information to prepare for the impacts of extreme events. Categories include adaptation planning, capacity building, ocean & coastal management planning, and relocation, managed retreat, or protect-in-place planning. Deadline: March 20, 2020. ( )
NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants
NOAA’s Office of Education has announced a competitive funding opportunity for projects aimed at strengthening environmental literacy of K-12 students and the public more broadly. NOAA will award approximately $3 million in grants to projects that seek to increase community knowledge about how to build resiliency in the face of extreme weather caused by climate change and teach the community how to achieve that resilience. Deadline: March 26. (
Federal government releases $7 billion to build climate resilience
The money — $7.65 billion in total — aims to make disaster-damaged communities more resilient by paying for reconstruction projects that will withstand increasingly severe storms, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. The funding differs from most federal disaster aid because instead of simply repairing or rebuilding damaged buildings and facilities, communities must spend the recovery money on mitigation projects that "increase resilience to disasters.” California will receive $88 million and has until April 6, 2020, to submit projects. ( Federal Register)
Upcoming Events
Climate Impacts: Public Health 
Thursday, January 9, 2020, 9-10.15am PT
This webinar will discuss how to use a national framework to pursue ‘resilience’ from a health perspective, assess information on hazards, health effects, and vulnerability, and support the development of climate adaptation plans. We will present viable examples of how to engage with local partners, build public health ‘infrastructure’, pursue behavior change, and work with ‘front-line’ communities at risk for climate impacts. ( Register
Webinar: Financing approaches for getting to zero-energy schools
Thursday, January 9, 10-11am PST 
The path to zero-energy school construction can be a daunting one. Financing renewable energy solutions and energy storage can be the key to a project’s economic viability and achieving the zero energy goal. Attendees will learn about cost effective methods to improve energy efficiency, cost-saving methods to procure renewable energy and evaluating life cycle costs. ( NBI
Webinar: How do Nonresidential Energy Efficiency Programs Benefit Low-Income Communities? 
Wednesday, January 15, 2020, 12-1pm
Join us to discuss a new ACEEE report on how energy efficiency program implementers reach nonresidential and community-serving institutions in low-income areas. The ACEEE report surveys 39 programs and provides insights on design, delivery, and evaluation trends, as well as policy considerations. ( Register )
Webinar series: Tribal Climate & Health Adaptation Regional Cohort Training Series
3rd Tuesday of the month, January-August, starting January 21, 10-11.30am PT
A comprehensive tribal climate change adaptation plan can help a Native American tribal community better understand, prepare for, and protect against climate health impacts. This training will provide steps, tools, templates, case studies, and other resources that seek to streamline the adaptation planning process and make it easier for tribal health and environmental professionals to understand and address human health exposures and impacts within tribal communities. ( Register )
2020 California Environmental Assembly: Our Climate Crisis: Beyond Seawalls and EVs
January 25, 2020
McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento
The Planning and Conservation League’s annual assembly focuses on climate change and what we can do together to slow down the effects of global warming. Panelists from agencies, organizations, companies, and law firms will pitch their big ideas on how to solve the most pressing issues of our time. ( Register )
California Water: Cultivating the Future 
January 27-28, Sacramento
The annual conference from the California Irrigation Institute on California water issues, water use efficiency, water quality and surface and groundwater management. ( CAII )
2020 CleanTech Forum San Francisco
January 27-29, San Francisco 
Connect to the people and companies with the power to deliver a decarbonized future at Cleantech Forum San Francisco. This year, the theme of the Forum echoes the growing pressure to deliver solutions: Welcome to the Chaos of the 2020s: Urgent Actions, Unusual Strategies, Unexpected Allies. ( CleanTech )
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 .