Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
June 12, 2019
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
We’d like to congratulate several Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative members for recent successes in winning grants! The City of Davis won a  Proposition 68 grant to update their urban forestry management plan, develop outreach, provide job training, and implement their forestry plan. The Sacramento Tree Foundation also won a Proposition 68 grant to plant 2,050 trees through school and park planting events and through committed partnerships with communities, focusing on the South Sacramento area. The California Department of Transportation awarded Sacramento County $500,000 to develop an Active Transportation Plan for the county, and over $350,000 to develop a sustainable community and complete streets plan for the West Arden Arcade neighborhood. In addition, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District won $700,000 to update and incorporate climate adaptation into a land use planning and greenhouse gas mitigation toolkit.

In light of these successes, this edition of the newsletter focuses on local solutions in urban design, equity, planning, and urban greening!

Don't forget to register for CRC's next workshop on Managing Our Region's Flood Risk!
Is ‘climate positive’ design possible?
Can cities revamp their neighborhoods so they cancel out more carbon than they emit? Some designers and advocates are pushing for what they call climate-positive city design, which aims to go beyond zero emissions. Landscaping, alternative cement, smart glass, and other materials can help to reduce energy consumption or sequester carbon. “As planners, you may come in and think of a development as an isolated project which is not fully connected with the rest of the city.” But the connections are vital, and thinking on multiple scales is a necessity. ( City Lab)
Breathing walls to rooftop farms: Cities get creative for a greener future
From "breathing walls" that recover energy and filter air to urban farms on rooftops, cities around the world are experimenting with creative ways to become carbon neutral. The C40 network of cities tackling climate change announced the 15 winners of its Reinventing Cities competition, judged on plans to transform under-used urban spaces. The winning teams of architects, engineers and entrepreneurs will redevelop sites such as an abandoned market building in Madrid and historic stables in Milan into green areas. "The challenge (to make cities carbon-neutral) isn't really technological – we know how to build zero-carbon buildings – it's to make that the norm," said Mark Watts, head of C40. The winning projects include l'Innesto in Milan, which will turn a former freight terminal into Italy's first carbon-neutral social housing project and aims to cover 60% of the area with greenery. In Chicago, "Garfield Green" will transform 1.5 acres of vacant land into a mix of open space and affordable housing that will meet 100% of its energy needs with solar panels and drain rainfall from a rooftop garden. ( Reuters)
Cities across the US are addressing climate change through housing and transportation
Pointing out that denser housing is critical to the future of the planet has had the side effect of separating climate hawks from chicken hawks. The city of Berkeley, for example—a bastion of blue so intense it’s nearly ultraviolet—recycles, doesn’t allow nuclear weapons, is working on ways to encourage electric car ownership, and has a solar-powered parking garage downtown. Yet some of the most divisive ongoing political fights involve opposition to the construction of housing, especially in the parking lots atop the city’s subway stations. “It can expose some of the hypocrisy of those who oppose density. There are liberals or progressives who oppose climate change, but they definitely don’t want that multifamily apartment building to go up next to transit if it’s in their neighborhood.” ( Wired) Photo: Robert Fullerton/Getty Images
Which cities have concrete strategies for environmental justice?
Zoning’s beginnings had a lot to do with the exclusion of low-income people from certain areas of the city, and in the intervening century, zoning has continued to be used to confine low-income people and people of color to particular areas of a city. Environmental hazards like hazardous waste facilities, fossil fuel storage and transportation sites, and other polluting industrial facilities are disproportionally located in communities of color and low-income communities. But a new report from The New School shows how tools to enact environmental justice can come from the toolbox of injustice. The report’s authors write: “If zoning and land use policies got us into this mess, they have the potential to get us out of it.” So, what are these policies that promote environmental justice and where are they being implemented? ( City Lab)
California’s latest weapon against climate change is farm soil
Electric cars and solar panels are the most visible signs of California's ambitious climate change policies. Now the state is setting its sights on a lower-tech way to cut carbon emissions: soil. It's spending millions of dollars to help farmers grow plants, which absorb carbon and help move it into the soil where it can be stored long-term. This makes California home to some of the first official "carbon farmers" in the country. A state report finds that farms and forests could absorb as much as 20 percent of California's current level of emissions. ( NPR) Photo: Lauren Sommer/KQED
As the climate crisis worsens, cities turn to parks
As cities increasingly feel the impacts of rising seas and temperatures, city planners are rethinking the roles of urban parks. “There’s been a quiet and profound move to use parks to help cities adapt to the realities of climate change,” says Diane Regas, CEO of The Trust for Public Land (TPL). Increasingly, TPL is seeing cities build parks that can alleviate climate change effects like intense heat, flooding, and poor air quality. And it's more than shade trees that are helping fight climate change. The trust says parks can help mitigate coastal flooding, capture carbon, and foster a sense of community among those that will be affected by extreme weather. For example, large parks cooled certain parts of Washington, D.C., by as much as 17 degrees Fahrenheit. That kind of cooling can be a lifesaver given the more than 600 annual deaths caused by heat-related illnesses. Atlanta, after repeatedly being hit by flash floods, is creating a 16-acre park designed to absorb millions of gallons of water. ( National Geographic)
In the face of climate change, architects must consider local ecology and social context
In light of a rapidly changing climate, architects are being forced to pay more attention to surrounding ecological and social conditions. And increasingly, they are shifting the sustainability discourse from a longstanding, single-minded emphasis on energy efficiency to the more multifaceted and preventive realm of resilience. RELi is a resilience-focused rating system for architecture that aims to be comprehensive, pulling from many existing rating systems with strong energy, water, and material standards, and adding categories for external variables like sea-level rise and social equity. Landscape architecture must consider not only the site itself, but also how the site interacts with the larger systems and processes around it. ( Metropolis) Photo: Peter J. Sieger/Perkins+Will
As cities confront climate change, is density the answer?
Placing density at the center of climate change mitigation strategy means not just doing the “right thing” in terms of cutting emissions, but offering tangible, immediate benefits as a selling point. Increasing density could get cities much of the way toward their carbon emission-reduction goals. A 2014 London School of Economics study determined that large global cities, with a “modest blend of pro-density housing and transit policies,” could cut their emissions by a third by 2030. More density also means more housing, especially along transit corridors and downtown near jobs. By reducing sprawl, adding more housing units, and, ideally, cutting down transit times, building density tackles a key side effect of rising costs: the movement of affordable housing farther away from opportunity. ( Curbed)
Urban tree cover saves up to $12 billion annually in the US
A new study demonstrates that urban tree cover saves up to $12 billion annually in the U.S. This includes reduced deaths, injuries and electricity consumption for air-conditioning. Within the 97 cities studied, each person saved about $21 to 49 each year from the presence of tree cover. When the researchers applied their results across urban populations in the U.S., the total amount saved in "heat-reduction services" by urban trees is estimated at $5.3 to 12.1 billion annually. Among other changes, increasing urban tree cover in low-income areas could save many more lives and prevent expensive hospital visits for those who cannot afford it. ( Forbes)
Reimagining cities in the face of climate change and migration
As mounting environmental risks become more inevitable day by day, cities around the world are turning to more resilient forms of architecture and urban planning to combat both short term shocks and longer term pressures. From adaptable floating cities to urban parks that transform into flood barriers and reimagine city coastlines, the projects featured in the gallery all grapple with climate change related issues through resilient, and at times subversive, reimaginings of human habitation in a rapidly changing world. ( ArchDaily)
Tools & Resources
New free tool helps cities mainstream Nature into urban planning
In celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity, CitiesWithNature — a global knowledge sharing platform launched by ICLEI, IUCN and The Nature Conservancy — has a new tool to help integrate nature into cities. The Nature Pathway on CitiesWithNature is a collection of guidance, tools and inspirational examples that help local and regional governments to share their work on nature and learn about best practices and tools. The Nature Pathway guides cities on a journey of exploration and inspiration, where they can share with and learn from other cities. Along this journey, cities can show their commitments and ambitions towards incorporating nature’s benefits and nature-based solutions into city policy, planning and decision-making processes and implementation. ( ICLEI)
The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2018
In 2005, just 35 communities had adopted Complete Streets policies. By the end of 2018 that number stood at 1,477 Complete Streets policies—in rural areas, small towns, mid-sized suburbs, and big cities that have all realized the benefits of Complete Streets. The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2018 celebrates the work of these communities to make their streets safer, healthier, and more equitable. This year's report evaluates 66 new Complete Streets policies that were passed in 2018 with Cleveland Heights, OH earning the highest grade. ( Smart Growth America)
Upcoming Opportunities
Receive CivicSpark support for your climate and resilience projects
CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local agencies to address community resilience to environmental and socioeconomic challenges such as climate change, water resource management, affordable housing, and mobility. CivicSpark Fellows are AmeriCorp Members that serve at public agencies for 11 months, supporting resiliency-focused research, planning, and implementation projects such as climate action planning, climate risk assessments, waste reduction, stormwater resource planning, housing equity programs, shared mobility, and more. Applications will be accepted in waves. ( CivicSpark)
Launch your social purpose career with CivicSpark!
CivicSpark, a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program, is currently recruiting 90 Fellows who are interested in serving with local governments in California to address a broad range of resiliency issues. Fellows implement local projects on topics including sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, climate action planning, water conservation, drought response, affordable housing, and rural-broadband. Fellows gain exceptional career experience and training to become future leaders in California’s response to emerging environmental and social equity challenges. CivicSpark is looking for upcoming/recent college graduates who want to gain real-world experience, launch a social purpose career, and make a lasting impact! Learn more about CivicSpark by attending a Fellow Recruitment Webinar. ( Link)
Become a citizen scientist: SciStarter helps connects volunteers with projects
SciStarter helps bring together the millions of citizen scientists in the world, the thousands of potential projects offered by researchers, organizations, and companies, and the resources, products, and services that enable citizens to pursue and enjoy these activities. SciStarter connects volunteers to thousands of projects – for example, documenting tree health and identifying resilient trees with TreeSnap, photographing California pollinators and backyard biodiversity, or documenting local climate change in their neighborhoods with ISeeChange.
Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program
The Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program funds projects that will mitigate the environmental impacts of transportation facilities. Approximately $6.7 million in awards will be funded. Applicants submitting the most competitive proposals will be invited to participate in the next level of the competitive process, anticipated in late summer or early fall 2019. First round applications due June 17, 2019. ( CNRA)
SolSmart 2019 City & County Challenge
As solar energy grows nationwide, local governments continue to play a significant role in its expansion through the adoption of local solar policies and programs. To encourage and help more local governments become “solar-ready,” SolSmart is launching its 2019 City & County Challenge Campaign. The Challenge Campaign offers cities and counties new to the SolSmart program a chance to win special prizes and move towards Bronze, Silver, or Gold designation. The Challenge Campaign will run from March 4, 2019, through June 21, 2019. ( Learn more)
SMUD’s Shine Award: Projects to improve and revitalize neighborhoods
Do you have an idea for a project that will improve and revitalize our local neighborhoods? We’re inviting you to submit your project for consideration. Our Shine awards range from $5,000 to $100,000 and the selection process is highly competitive. While SMUD will consider a broad variety of potential projects, it is primarily interested in proposals within the following areas: neighborhood revitalization or clean up; STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math); environmental, energy efficiency, energy conservation or greenhouse gas reduction; and general beautification. Any nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) within SMUD service territory is eligible to apply. Deadline: Monday, July 15. ( SMUD)
Department of Conservation: Grants for land trusts and local and regional planning
The Department of Conservation (DOC) has released for public comment the draft Proposition 68 Working Lands and Riparian Corridors Program Guidelines and the first two solicitations. The land trust capacity and project development grant solicitation will build land trust and other agricultural non-profit capacity for agricultural land conservation activities. The local and regional planning grants will support the integration of natural and working lands, specifically agricultural lands, into local and regional planning documents. Grant applications are due July 31. ( DOC)
California Statewide Park Program
The Statewide Park Program competitive grants will create new parks and recreation opportunities in critically underserved communities across California. The current round of funding offers $254,942,000. Types of target projects include creating a new park, or expanding or renovating an existing park. Eligible entities include cities, counties, districts, join powers authorities, and 501(c)3 nonprofits. Postmarked or hand-deliver applications by August 5th. ( SPP)
Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program Easement and Planning Grants
The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) 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: Friday, September 13. ( SGC)
USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Sustainable Agricultural Systems Grant
The USDA is taking applications for the FY 2019 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. Applications must focus on approaches that promote transformational changes in the U.S. 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)
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. Cities and counties that have a certified housing element and have completed either the 2017 or 2018 Annual Progress Report are eligible to receive grant funds ranging from $160,000 to $625,000 depending on the size of the jurisdiction. This a is a non-competitive, over-the-counter grant program that can fund a range of projects including targeted general plan updates, community plans and specific plans, zoning updates and by-right zoning for housing, streamlined environmental analyses, and process updates to streamline zoning. Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2019. ( HCD)
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: People with Disabilities in the Climate Emergency: Vulnerability & Adaptation
Wednesday, June 19, 11am-noon
People with disabilities (PWDs) are an intersectional population, with a range of disability types, that are present in every other group regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or other identity. PWDs are also marginalized across social, economic, and environmental spheres – and especially in the many dangers of the climate emergency. This presentation will explain the vulnerabilities and dangers that the disability community faces, and adaptive actions we can take to protect their safety and well-being. ( Register)
Best Practices for Effective Climate & Health Communication
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is continuing to host a webinar series on climate and health communications. Upcoming webinars will focus on how to use visual and content cues to convey key messages quickly in a cluttered media environment, identify new ways to frame key messages to increase the relevance to audiences outside public health circles, and how to use data points to tell a more powerful story. Register here: Ally Acquisition: June 20; Communicating Data for Maximum Impact: July 18. 
The Business of Local Energy Symposium 2019
June 20-21, Irvine, California
Join Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) experts and leaders from across the state for a day-long Symposium on June 21 about accelerating California's local energy resource development via CCAs and sharing best practices in order to create more benefits for local communities. There will also be a pre-symposium workshop on June 20 discussing advanced risk management, accelerating electric vehicle adoption, and cutting edge CCA research. ( Register)
10 th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency (SEEC) Forum
June 26-27, Long Beach
The 10th Annual SEEC Forum will focus on empowering local governments and communities to implement impactful energy efficiency measures locally while helping meet the state’s ambitious climate and energy goals. To make real progress towards a decarbonized future, we must accelerate the pace of investment in, and deployment of, integrated energy efficiency strategies and more deeply engage underserved and disadvantaged communities. The SEEC Forum is offered at no-cost to California local government staff and officials, and provides valuable learning, sharing, and networking opportunities to help local governments save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their communities, and catalyze climate action. ( Register)
SMUD Shine Award information Session
Wednesday, June 26, and Tuesday, July 2, 11.30am-1.30pm,
SMUD Rubicon Room, 6301 S Street, Sacramento
Attend an information session to learn more about applying for SMUD’s Shine Award, a community development program that works to revitalize and improve neighborhoods. Awards range from $5,000 to $100,000 and the selection process is highly competitive. Any nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) within SMUD service territory is eligible to apply. ( SMUD)
CRC Workshop: Managing our Region’s Flood Risk
Tuesday, July 16, 12.30-4pm
Join the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative, leading climate practitioners, state agencies, local jurisdictions, and community leaders for CRC’s upcoming quarterly meeting featuring presentations on the Capital Region’s flood risk, the climate/flood nexus and a panel discussion on equitable flood infrastructure and investments. ( 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 .