Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
July 13, 2016
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

Fire and water are not opposites in California but inextricably linked. The dwindling snowpack and ongoing drought have left our forests and grassland at greater risk of intense wildfires, while also increasing the likelihood of severe floods. Both fires and flood ask hard questions of current and future development: at what costs do we protect our homes? But fortunately we are also developing new solutions, which - like the interconnected nature of the climate challenge - also solve multiple problems: green alleys that store water and enable recreation, solar panels that protect reservoirs from evaporation, turning captured rainfall into beer. 
Diminishing snowpack in Sierra Nevada & Rockies threatens Western water
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Low-elevation snowpack across the Sierra Nevada, Rockies, and the Cascades will disappear if climate change continues unabated, as a new study concludes that the snowline in six Western U.S. mountain ranges will move higher by an average of 950 ft. by 2100. This will reduce spring runoff to critical watersheds and reservoirs in 11 states, and dry out forests and grasslands. Western ski resorts will also be affected as many of them will fall below the snowline, currently at about 6,500 ft. This is one of the first studies to show specific, elevation-based snowpack projections downscaled from global climate models. ( Inside Climate News)
Floating solar: A win-win for drought-stricken lakes 
Photo Credit: KYOCERA Corporation
With dual energy and water conservation benefits, floating solar photovoltaic arrays can be installed on reservoirs in the southwestern US to produce renewable energy while reducing water losses. Also known as "floatovoltaics," these systems can reduce evaporation in dry climates by as much as 90 percent. Currently nearly 6 percent of the Colorado River's flow evaporates each year from Lake Mead, or about 800,000 acre-feet. In addition, solar panels installed on the cooler lake surface have higher energy efficiency than those installed in desert sites. Floatovoltaic projects are now being built in places as diverse as Australia, Brazil, China, England, India, Japan, South Korea, and Sonoma County. (Yale360)
Deadly wildfires spark debate about development
Photo Credit: Rich Pedroncelli, The Associated Press
A speeding wildfire in California that turned hundreds of homes near Lake Isabella to piles of twisted rubble has forced a conversation about how to minimize destruction. Developments are increasing in once sparsely inhabited timberlands and rangelands, leaving residents vulnerable to wildfires that have become faster and fiercer as a result of climate change. Some scientists say that aside from climate change, poor planning is partly to blame as subdivisions are built in high-risk zones - where an estimated 11 million Californians now live. ( Link)
Climate change forcing buildings to rethink design
Severe weather events like wildfires and floods are becoming more frequent and more difficult to predict, forcing architects and engineers to rethink how they design buildings, infrastructure and cities. Designing resilient buildings and cities requires a performance-based approach that takes into account the project's unique attributes and surroundings, rather than the one-size-fits-all approach of many building codes. Most building codes have not been updated, however, and much of the change is being driven by the design community and by property owners. ( CBC)
How extreme drought could weaken California's critical levees
Photo Credit: Public Domain
California maintains more than 21,000 km of urban and nonurban levees, many of which are currently operating under a high-failure risk condition - and they may be further at risk from the severe drought. Drought can reduce the sheer strength of soil and boost oxidation of soil carbon, potentially causing soil desiccation cracking, land subsidence, and erosion. What's worse, there may be no visible symptoms until the levee fails. These risks could also threaten embankments, roads, bridges, building foundations, and pipelines. ( Link)
Los Angeles transforms alleys to capture stormwater
Photo Credit: Jake Michaels, The New York Times
Los Angeles is working to convert its 900 miles of paved alleyways into green alleys that will capture and funnel stormwater into underground storage receptacles. City officials have announced a goal of capturing 50 billion gallons of stormwater by 2035. The green alleys are a joint effort by Los Angeles' agencies, its City Council and the Trust for Public Land. One alley completed last year saved 750,000-plus gallons of water in 2015, and another almost finished will capture over 700,000 gallons a year. ( NY Times)
5 emerging trends in climate resilience from the Adaptation Futures conference  
The Adaptation Futures conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands, brought together over 1,700 people from over 95 countries - the largest conference on climate adaptation. Here are five trends: 1) Adaptation efforts are only as effective as the impact they have on each person - policies must increase individual adaptive capacity. 2) Cities are at the forefront of climate impacts and climate action, and resilience must be incorporated into urban development. 3) Adaptation is transitioning from small, one-off pilot projects into large-scale, sustained programs. 4) Nature-based solutions for adaptation are gaining ground. 5) We need holistic, climate-compatible development. Many sessions underlined the importance of breaking down siloes and identifying co-benefits with mitigation, so that climate adaptation can reach its fullest potential and contribute to sustainable development goals. ( GreenBiz)
Global cloud coverage shifting in ominous sign of climate change
Clouds are like the wildcard in climate change, affecting global warming while being affected by it in turn. Low-lying clouds can cool the earth by reflecting back sunlight, while higher clouds act as heat-trapping blankets. Now scientists have resolved some of the uncertainty, finding that cloud behavior is confirming climate model predictions - and that's not good. As the jet stream shifts poleward, heat from the tropics is expanding outward - warming the middle of the earth - as cloud coverage shifts toward the poles, trapping even more heat. ( Bloomberg)
Europeans have more fun, make beer while storm-proofing city
Photo Credit: Brouwerij de Prael
Helped by Amsterdam Rainproof, a government initiative that encourages citizen action to increase the city's sponge capacity, a small group of entrepreneurs is now collecting rainwater to brew beer. Hemelswater ("heaven's water") is a bitter made from 1,000 liters of rainfall collected over two weekends. The makers want to scale up with hundreds of tanks across city rooftops, envisioning not just beer but also soup, lemonade, and sorbet. Amsterdam Rainproof gives commissions to small projects, encourages people to create rain-friendly gardens and green roofs, and lobbies larger buildings to incorporate rainwater gathering. ( Guardian)
Resources and Tools
California Health Disadvantage Index: Snapshot of the social determinants of health 
To inform interventions in underserved communities, the Public Health Institute, in collaboration with health departments across the state, developed the new California Health Disadvantage Index. It features an interactive mapping tool with key factors to identify populations most vulnerable to poor health outcomes, along with measures to advance equity at a local level. By quickly flagging key metrics, the goal is to help communities and policy makers target limited resources and guide effective on-the-ground action. Particularly for those who don't work in public health, the index can help them think in a focused way about how their projects can be designed to yield the greatest health co-benefits. ( PHI)
EPA: Planning Framework for a Climate-Resilient Economy
Developed by the US EPA, this framework helps communities ask the right questions to recognize their economic vulnerabilities and identify ways to be more climate resilient, with a focus on helping the business community prepare for and adapt to projected changes and think creatively about ways to prosper in a changing climate. ( EPA)
Upcoming Opportunities
California Adaptation Forum - Scholarships now available!
To help the California Adaptation Forum advance the broader equity and climate justice movement across California, scholarships will be available to help attendees to participate in this exciting and valuable event. Scholarships of up to $1,000 will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, with need and background taken into consideration. Please note that there will be funding set aside specifically for the Sacramento region. Priority will be given to community-based groups and leaders that directly work in and represent disadvantaged communities. Deadline: August 5. ( CAF)
CivicSpark: Receive Project Support to Advance Your Resiliency Initiatives
CivicSpark is now accepting project applications for the 2016-17 service year! CivicSpark helps local governments build their climate response capacity by working directly with local staff or in the community on projects that address their larger climate action goals. Local government agencies or non-governmental organizations can contract directly with LGC for Civicspark fellows to support projects and programs. Priority deadline: July 1, 2016. ( Link)
Seeking Comments: EPA's Evaluating Urban Resilience to Climate Change 
The EPA has released a draft report and tool that uses quantitative and qualitative indicators to help cities identify areas of resilience and vulnerability to climate impacts across different sectors. Aimed at local and state planners and climate change staff, the tool will identify indicators of traits that may enhance or inhibit community resilience, allowing decision makers to focus on the least-resilient areas. The draft is open for comments until July 21. ( EPA)
Funders' Network: Partners for Places
Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties in the U.S. and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. Applications are due July 25, 2016. ( Link)
ACEEE offering technical assistance to boost resiliency through energy efficiency
Energy efficiency should be a core resilience strategy because it strengthens energy systems and communities with more reliable and affordable energy. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy will offer assistance to a small number of communities interested in using energy efficiency to increase resilience. For those selected, we can answer questions like: how should my community incorporate energy efficiency into its planning activities, or what types of energy efficiency should my community consider? Deadline: July 29 ( ACEEE)
USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area
The AFRI Challenge Area focuses on the priority to mitigate and adapt to climate variability and change. It supports activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration in agricultural and forest production systems, and prepare the nation's agriculture and forests to adapt to variable climates. The long-term outcome for this program is to reduce the use of energy, nitrogen fertilizer, and water by ten percent and increase carbon sequestration by fifteen percent through resilient agriculture and forest production systems. In order to achieve this outcome, this program will support multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants. Deadline: November 17, 2016 ( USDA)
Upcoming Events
Webinar: Preview of Georgetown Climate Center's Adaptation Clearinghouse 2.0
Thursday, July 14, 10am PDT
Be the first to see how the Adaptation Clearinghouse can help adaptation professionals and policymakers locate resources to help communities prepare for climate impacts. Find out about how this tool will make it possible for organizations to create their own "mini-clearinghouses," and make sure that your organization's work is represented in this new tool. ( Register)
Smart Green Cities - Case studies in resilient and sustainable energy technologies
Thursday, July 14, 11am-noon PDT
New emerging technologies related to the "Internet of Things" and distributed energy resources are quickly changing the energy landscape for cities. This webinar will feature two cities - Cambridge, Mass., and San Diego - to explore on-going smart city initiatives that intersect with climate resiliency, clean distributed energy, microgrids and zero net energy concepts. ( Register
Webinar: Financing Climate Resilience - What Are Our Options?
Thursday, July 21, 9-10.30am PDT
Extreme weather events and disasters are already damaging assets, disrupting supply chains, reducing productivity and revenues, and destroying livelihoods. Projected climate impacts will likely hit the creditworthiness of companies, posing risks to financial institutions and credit ratings. The need to update infrastructure provides an opportunity to build in climate resilience. This webinar will explore options for financing resilience and will feature an interactive discussion with experts from HUD's Office of Recovery, re:focus partners, and C2ES. ( Link)
2016 AEP Institute: Climate Change Implications and Adaptation
August 1, 2016, Sacramento
This symposium will bring together experts from a diverse range of interests to discuss topics such as how the new 2030 goals for GHG reductions will impact CEQA projects; regulations and social trends affecting future per capita and gross GHG emissions in California; how to include climate change in General Plan updates, Regional Transportation Plans, and Sustainable Communities Strategies; and incorporating climate resiliency into projects. ( AEP, Agenda)
About the Capital Region Climate  Readiness  Collaborative
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.

The CRC is a program of the Local Government Commission.