Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
July 26, 2017
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative

We'd like to wish Larry Greene, the Executive Director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, congratulations and many good wishes on his retirement. As first chair of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative, Larry has been an inspirational leader on climate adaptation from the local to international level. Recognizing back in 2012 the grave threat of climate change for local governments, Larry has worked tirelessly to build partnerships and convene stakeholders across sectors and jurisdictions to work together on the cross-cutting challenges of wildfire, extreme heat, flooding, and drought. As the first chair of the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA), Larry has helped to elevate the critical interconnection between urban and rural California for state and local policymakers. We welcome you to join us in celebrating with Larry at Oak Park Brewing Company, from 5.30 to 7.30pm on August 2.   
Central Valley to face higher costs of climate change than coasts
Photo: Hector Amezcua
The first county-level analysis of the economic costs of climate change found that it would worsen economic inequality in California, with the Central Valley suffering greater economic losses than the wealthy coastal areas. Statewide, California can expect to lose 1 percent of its annual economic output - or $26 billion - for every 1-degree Celsius increase in average temperature, slightly better than the 1.2 percent national average. But for the Greater Sacramento region, outcomes are worse: Sacramento County and Yolo County are predicted to lose 4 percent of economic output. Because the study does not account for the impact of rising sea levels, drought, wildfires, and the specialty crops that are part of California's agricultural economy, actual economic impacts could be far greater. ( Sac Bee)
Thanks to winter rains, new vegetation now fueling hungry wildfires
Photo: Josh Edelson, AFP/Getty Images
California is now far ahead of last year's pace for forest and grassland fires, and conditions suggest the trend will continue. The winter storms may have ended the five-year drought and eased its tinder-dry conditions, but the heavy grasses sprouted by the rain now present frightening fuel. So far, there have been 2,905 wildfires across the state, compared to 2,270 at the same time last year. The fire season is now 2.5 months - 78 days - longer than it was 40 years ago. ( SFGate)
"An insane amount of heat" as fire near Yosemite moves with frightening speed
Photo: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times
The Detwiler fire has moved with frightening speed through Mariposa County, temporarily cutting off power to Yosemite National Park, evacuating 4,000 people, and threatening the historic gold-mining town of Mariposa. It's sent its smoke as far away as Idaho, and it burned so hot that it created its own weather system, forming an enormous pyrocumulus cloud. The flames are being fed by tall grass and overgrown shrubs - more lush than usual, following a wet winter - as well as many dead trees due to bark beetles and the drought. ( LA Times)
Sierra Nevada forests could transform into GHG emitter, losing 73% of carbon stock
Warming temperatures and increasingly severe wildfires can devastate Sierra Nevada forests, transforming them from carbon sinks into carbon emitters, according to   a new study co-authored by UC Merced's LeRoy Westerling. Rising temperatures are creating a warmer, drier Sierra Nevada climate, which will not only dramatically increase the frequency, size, and duration of wildfires but also make it harder for forests to regenerate, leading to a loss of forest density, with trees eventually replaced by smaller plants better suited to the new climate. The study predicts that the Sierra forests will experience both a dramatic loss of stored carbon - as much as 73 percent of its current carbon - and a substantial decline in their ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This is a conservative estimate: the effects might be more extreme than predicted by the models, which ignores several factors that could accelerate forest loss. ( Link)
Wildfire smoke may be significantly more toxic than we thought
Photo: Max Whittaker / Reuters
Wildfires release three times more pollutants than previously thought, according to a team of scientists who flew through enormous plumes of smoke - including above the Rim Fire - to gather the most accurate measurements yet. Among the emissions are methanol, benzene and ozone precursors, along with oxidants that can cause genetic damage. The study found that controlled burns, which are used to reduce wildfire risk, also release significantly less air pollution. Wildfires might burn 30 tons of fuel per acre, compare to 5 tons for controlled burns, last far longer, and dry out fuels. Particulate pollution - able to drift long distances - contains tiny aerosols that can be dangerous to human health, especially hearts and lungs. ( The Atlantic)
Shrinking rural forests are moving from Americans
A study of satellite images taken over 10 years starting in 1990 shows the rural forest canopy disappearing. Forest space disappeared from the US in such big chunks that the average distance from any point in the nation to a forest increased by 14 percent, about a third of a mile. To the researchers' surprise, they found that forests were disappearing not in cities, where trees are perceived as being more vulnerable, but in rural America. Particularly in the West, forested wild lands are being whittled away by farms, developments, and wildfires. Altering forests can change the dynamics of ecosystems and affect water chemistry, soil erosion, carbon sequestration, local climate, biodiversity, and human quality of life. ( Washington Post)
A new approach to fighting wildfires in the climate change era
We simply won't be able to keep up with climate change-fueled wildfires. A study suggests that instead of fighting every fire or thinning vast areas in futile prevention efforts, the Forest Service should focus on protecting communities and limiting new developments in fire-prone areas, while letting some fires - even large - burn, which will help Western landscapes adapt. This approach will be controversial, as it entails accepting some familiar, valued landscapes will disappear. With federal agencies bearing the costs and risks of wildfires, while local governments receive tax revenue from development, there is little incentive to limit building in fire-prone areas at the local level. Shifting at least some of the wildfire costs toward counties would offer an incentive to reduce building in the fire zone. ( Pacific Standard)
State of California announces climate-safe infrastructure group
Fourteen leaders in the fields of climate science and infrastructure design have been appointed to serve on the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Design Working Group. Established by AB 2800 (Quirk), the working group will unite experts from multiple disciplines to bolster the inclusion of climate impacts in state infrastructure design processes. The working group will investigate current informational and institutional barriers to integrating climate impacts into state infrastructure design; critical information that engineers need to address climate impacts; and how to select an appropriate engineering design for a range of future climate scenarios. The working group will provide science-based recommendations to decision-makers to enable the best infrastructural investment strategies for California. ( Link)
Tools and Reports
Cities Taking Action: How the 100RC Network is Building Urban Resilience
To date, cities in the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network, a program of the Rockefeller Foundation, have published more than 30 Resilience Strategies containing more than 1,600 action-oriented initiatives, from discrete social programs to ambitious infrastructure projects, running on timescales from a few months to multiple generations. Analysis of these Strategies reveals a growing resilience movement that shares many common goals despite their differing contexts around the world. The 100RC network is publishing this report to highlight how cities are taking action to build resilience, with a special focus on seven projects that illustrate how resilience thinking can maximize the impact of a city's efforts and ensure that each project returns multiple benefits for residents. ( Article & Report)
Photo: 100 Resilient Cities
Three toolkits for smart growth in rural places
A smart growth approach in rural places can mean putting a new post office near the elementary school, creating more affordable homes near jobs, or analyzing the long-term financial impact of development decisions. Smart Growth America has three toolkits designed specifically for leaders in rural areas on how to create and implement smart growth policies. The Community Facilities Location toolkit helps communities make the most of new facilities like hospitals or post offices. The Well-Placed Affordable Housing toolkit looks at creating centrally located housing infrastructure. The Fiscal Impact Analysis toolkit looks at how local government can better understand the long-term financial implications of decisions about new development.
Upcoming Opportunities
Partners for Places Matching Grant Program
This matching grant program creates opportunities to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our urban areas more prosperous, livable, and vibrant. The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations. In addition to the existing sustainability priority areas, there is dedicated funding for green stormwater infrastructure projects that advance water-related sustainability goals. Deadline: July 31. ( Link)
Cap and trade funding for agricultural land preservation
Applications are now open for the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program to protect agricultural land and reduce GHG emissions. Last year, the SALC awarded over $37 million to 20 projects, protecting over 19,000 acres. Interested organizations are encouraged to submit a pre-proposal by June 1 to receive technical assistance. Interested landowners should contact   a land trust in their area to begin the application process. Deadline: August 1. ( Link)         
Public Review: Transformative Climate Communities Program Guidelines, 4th Revision
The Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is releasing a fourth draft version of the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) guidelines on July 26, 2017, and will accept public comments for one week, until August 2, 2017. In addition, the California Air Resources Board released the draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Quantification Methodology (QM) for the TCC Program; public comments on the QM will be accepted until August 2, 2017. SGC staff plans to present the final TCC Program Guidelines, which incorporate the QM by reference, to the Strategic Growth Council for consideration at its meeting on August 24, 2017. ( SGC)
2017 Pre-Disaster Mitigation and Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs
The 2017 Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant program and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs are now open. These programs provide funding for the development of local hazard mitigation plans and implementation of hazard mitigation projects. The Notice of Interest (NOI) for both programs must be submitted to the Governor's Office of Emergency Services by August 4. Specific information about the funding opportunities, NOI, and application process can be accessed here. For questions please contact the Pre-Disaster and Flood Mitigation Division at ( Link)
The 2017 Mayors Challenge: An Innovation Platform for America's Mayors
Part of Bloomberg's American Cities Initiative, this nationwide competition will help hundreds of cities develop, test, and implement bold solutions to emerging challenges. Be among the first 300 cities to RSVP by August 18 and guarantee your city its own in-person Idea Accelerator workshop, designed to help city leaders strengthen idea development by drawing upon the expertise of the community. Apply by October 20, and as many as 35 "Champion Cities" will then win up to $100,000 each to test and refine their ideas. Five Mayors Challenge Winners will be selected based on the idea's vision for tackling an urgent challenge, potential for impact and successful implementation, and potential to spread to other cities. One city will win the $5 million grand prize; four others will receive $1 million implementation awards. ( Learn more and apply)
2018 Climate Leadership Award
The application period for 2018 Climate Leadership Awards is now open! Award categories include Organizational Leadership, Individual Leadership, Supply Chain Leadership, Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management, and Innovative Partnership. Deadline: September 26. ( EPA)
Upcoming Events
Senate Bill 1 Planning Grants Workshops
The Department of Transportation Division of Transportation Planning is on a fast track to develop a grant guide and launch the new Senate Bill 1, The Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017, planning grant funds. SB 1 will provide $20 million for climate adaptation projects. Here is the schedule of workshops for SB 1, and   more information about the bill.
Sacramento: City of Trees? Addressing the Inequitable Distribution of our Region's Urban Forest
Friday, July 28, 8.30-10.30am
West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue, West Sacramento
Using Google Maps to evaluate tree cover in 17 cities around the globe, MIT found that Sacramento was number one in the US and ranked third overall. While exciting news, the Sacramento Region suffers from stunning inequity when comparing the canopy cover of different neighborhoods, preventing many from reaping the health and other benefits of trees. Speakers from the Sacramento Tree Foundation, UC Davis, and Pacific Housing will explore a brief history of Sacramento, highlighting the lack of investment in certain communities. Learn how urban greening dollars are working to build community engagement while expediting tree planting in under-canopied neighborhoods. Discuss how we can plan for the future, making sure that trees and green spaces are at the forefront during the design of new communities. ( Link)
Webinar series: Climate change and health equity - telling the story with data
Wednesday, August 2, 10-11.30am PDT
The San Luis Obispo Public Health Department's 4-part webinar series on communicating climate change features international experts and innovative on-the-ground leaders discussing a range of issues critical to public health departments as they approach the impacts of climate change with limited funding and support. Each webinar will feature real-life examples and practical recommendations for increasing the impact of climate and health communications. In the third part, experts will address health equity and data tools available to integrate equity into climate communications and adaptation planning. ( Link)
Transportation Technology Policy Forum
Thursday, August 3, 9am-3.30pm
Webcast and Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Bldg, Rm 500, 914 Capitol Mall, Sacramento
From automated vehicles to cleaner freight transport, technology will have dramatic and continuous impacts on the transportation sector. This forum, hosted by the California Transportation Commission, will spotlight the statewide policy implications of innovative transportation technology and services through a legislative perspective. The forum will discuss some of the potential issues resulting from widespread technology implementation and policy changes the Legislature may want to contemplate to address those issues. Advance registration required with; webcast at ( Link)
Webinar: Climate-Smart Cities Decision Support Tool Demo
Friday, August 4, 1-2.30pm PDT
The Trust for Public Land will be demonstrating their Climate-Smart Cities tool, an interactive, online tool that identifies regions, neighborhoods and sites where green infrastructure projects can cool the urban environment, capture storm water and recharge underground aquifers, prevent flooding from storm inundations, facilitate walking and biking connections to transit and jobs, and protect populations who are vulnerable to climate change impacts. The Trust for Public Land will be demonstrating a   custom version of this tool that they built for Los Angeles. The CRC is hosting this demonstration and looks forward to your thoughts about how this resource may be of use to the Capital Region. ( Register)
Webinar: State Adaptation Clearinghouse - ARCCA User Needs Assessment Workshop
Tuesday, August 8, 1-2.30pm
During this workshop, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) will familiarize ARCCA members and its affiliates with the State Adaptation Clearinghouse, which is directed by SB 246, and to gather input on the development of the Clearinghouse. Topics covered include case studies, tools and resources, and policies and guidance. OPR staff will review the current and future plans for topics such as case studies, tools and resources, and policies and guidance in the Clearinghouse, while guiding workshop participants through an online survey to provide comments and input. ( Link)
Webinar series: Innovative curricula for public health priority populations
Wednesday, August 9, 10-11.30am PDT
Part of the San Luis Obispo Public Health Department's 4-part webinar series on communicating climate change, this final webinar focuses on how climate change communications fit into existing public health programs. Local leaders will share effective, low-cost approaches to making this connection. ( Link)
Evaluating and Improving Energy Efficiency Policies and Programs
Wednesday, Aug 16, noon-1pm
1130 K Street, Room LL3, Sacramento
The evaluation of energy efficiency policies and programs has a rich and extensive history in the US, dating back to the late 1970s. During this time, many different kinds of evaluation issues have been addressed: technical (evaluation methods and protocols, persistence, behavior and behavior change, and rebound), policy (how evaluation results will be used by energy-efficiency program managers and policymakers), and infrastructure (the development of evaluation professionals and an evaluation workforce). Dr. Edward Vine, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, reviews the issues that are currently important and/or are expected to become more critical in the coming years in California and in the rest of the US. He will also discuss his recent efforts in developing an evaluation community in Asia. ( Register)
California Climate Action Planning Conference
August 24-25, 2017
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
California has emerged as a national and international leader in addressing the climate crisis. To keep our leadership and momentum, Cal Poly's City & Regional Planning Department - in partnership with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research - are proud to host the third California Climate Action Planning Conference. Learn and network with over 150 professionals in climate action, sustainability, and resilience. Planned program includes: the Scoping Plan, pathways to deep de-carbonization, successful financing and implementation, community vulnerability assessment, state planning guidance, and climate justice. ( Register; Link)
Save the date: 2018 New Partners for Smart Growth
February 1-3, 2018, San Francisco, CA
Mark your calendars for the 17th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in San Francisco, California. Get involved early in the nation's largest smart growth and sustainability event by becoming a sponsor or a promotional partner. Don't forget to check out presentations and materials from this year's fantastic conference in St. Louis too. ( NPSG)
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.