Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
March 2, 2020
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
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Could free transit for kids help California beat climate change?
Under a new Sacramento transit program, kids from pre-kindergarten to high school get to ride the region’s buses and light rail for free year-round, at any time of day. Student ridership has soared in the months since the program was introduced. Overall ridership is also up. Amid a nationwide trend of declining transit ridership, Sacramento’s success makes it an outlier. Now, lawmakers are considering a proposal that tries to emulate the Sacramento Regional Transit District’s program statewide. Assembly Bill 1350, from San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez, would require all California transit agencies to offer free passes to anyone 18 or under in order to get state funding. Making transit more affordable is one motive, but the main point is combating climate change by creating a new generation of lifetime public transit users. ( CalMatters) Photo: Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Here’s what happens when public transit is free
More and more cities in the US and around the world are exploring the possibility of free transit. Questions remain, including how to make up lost revenue and if free transit even makes sense without simultaneous improvements in frequency and reliability. But if mobility is a human right, as many have argued, then this radical move may be a necessary step toward a world where everyone has equal access to jobs, services and recreation. Free rides could also prove a powerful tool against climate change if they can tempt people to try a greener mode of transportation. ( Huffington Post) Photo: Tashka via Getty Images
How Native tribes are taking the lead on planning for climate change
With their deep ties to the land and reliance on fishing, hunting, and gathering, indigenous tribes are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Now, native communities across North America are stepping up to adopt climate action plans to protect their way of life. “Indigenous peoples have always been on the front lines,” says Nikki Cooley, who grew up without electricity or running water on the Navajo Nation reservation and now co-manages the Tribes and Climate Change Program for the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals in Flagstaff. “Tribes have always been adapting to climate change. Now we have to adapt even faster.” ( Yale 360) Photo: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
With wildfires on the rise, indigenous fire management is poised to make a comeback
As bushfires take a massive toll on Australian land, wildlife, and people, experts in indigenous fire management are reporting an uptick in interest in their work. These ancient techniques, which involve setting small fires during dry periods in order to moderate larger wildfires, are already proving their potential in places like Northern Australia. The experiences of indigenous fire experts in Canada and California., however, show that incorporating these techniques into other national and state-led forest service management plans may not be easy. In California, the Forest Service is already incorporating indigenous techniques into fire management projects and is working with tribal leaders on land stewardship efforts, thanks to collaborative partnerships in ancestral territories of the Karuk tribe in northwestern California. ( Grist) Photo: Ben Tweedie / Corbis via Getty Images
Wildfires are ruinous - so how to stop them happening in the first place?
In the wake of destruction caused by wildfires, experts are seeking ways of limiting their impact by managing forests better. Fire experts point to a host of techniques that can help prevent fires before they have even started. These range from deliberate off-season blazes designed to manage the landscape to using grazing animals to reduce flammable material, as well as requiring people to remove trees and brush that are too close to homes. ( Guardian) Photo: Alexandra Hootnick/The Guardian
Can AI protect homeowners from wildfire risk?
In fire-prone parts of California, insurance companies are using new AI-powered tools to better estimate the likelihood of a devastating wildfire disaster. ( CityLab)
JP Morgan economists warn of 'catastrophic' climate change
Human life "as we know it" could be threatened by climate change, economists at JP Morgan have warned. In a hard-hitting report to clients, the economists said that without action being taken there could be "catastrophic outcomes". While JP Morgan economists have warned about unpredictability in climate change before, the language used in the new report was very forceful. Carbon emissions in the coming decades "will continue to affect the climate for centuries to come in a way that is likely to be irreversible," they said, adding that climate change action should be motivated "by the likelihood of extreme events". The paper notes that global heating is on course to hit 3.5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century and says most estimates of the likely economic and health costs are far too small because they fail to account for the loss of wealth, the discount rate and the possibility of increased natural disasters. Climate campaigners have previously criticised JP Morgan for its investments in fossil fuels. ( BBC, Guardian)
 ‘Overwhelming and terrifying’: the rise of climate anxiety
The physical impact of the climate crisis is impossible to ignore, but experts are becoming increasingly concerned about another, less obvious consequence of the escalating emergency – the strain it is putting on people’s mental wellbeing, especially the young. Psychologists warn that the impact can be debilitating for the growing number of people overwhelmed by the scientific reality of ecological breakdown and for those who have lived through traumatic climate events, often on the climate frontline in the global south. ( Guardian)
How scientists are coping with ‘ecological grief’
Melting glaciers, coral reef death, wildlife disappearance, landscape alteration, climate change: our environment is transforming rapidly, and many of us are experiencing a sense of profound loss. Now, the scientists whose work it is to monitor and document this extraordinary change are beginning to articulate the emotional tsunami sweeping over the field, which they’re naming “ecological grief”. ( Guardian) Photo: Alexander Grir/AFP/Getty Images
Climate change could push bumblebees to extinction
Bumblebees are vanishing at a rate consistent with widespread extinction, and climate change is playing a big role. The dire analysis comes from a study published in the journal Science. The authors found that the likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in any given place within North America and Europe has dropped by an average of 30 percent as temperatures have risen. Pesticides, habitat loss, and pathogens have already hit bumblebee populations hard. The new study, however, isolates the effect of hotter temperatures on bumblebees. That’s not just a tragedy for the bees. It’s also bad news for all the plants that they pollinate and for humans who eat the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. ( Verge)
Utah embraces plan to tackle climate crisis in surprising shift
In a move to protect its ski slopes and growing economy, Utah has just created a long-term plan to address the climate crisis. And in a surprising turnaround, some of the state’s conservative leaders are welcoming it. Natalie Gochnour, the head of the economic policy institute that drafted the Utah Roadmap, said its proponents managed to turn a hyper-partisan issue into a shared priority by emphasizing the local impacts of the climate crisis. Research suggests that framing policy around economic benefits and sustainability allows local leaders to respond to climate change without getting caught up in political divisions. ( Guardian) Photo: Alamy Stock Photo
How Anchorage is making emergency preparedness inclusive
With over 100 languages spoken in Anchorage, the city faces barriers in community outreach around health and emergency preparedness. Officials are determined to close the linguistic gap by establishing new and effective communications channels between their offices and local communities. Its Peer Leader Navigator program engages volunteer leaders from a variety of ethnic and linguistic communities on climate and natural hazards, emergency preparedness, and tips on relaying this information to their communities. ( Cities Speak)
Tools & Resources
The green swan: Central banking and financial stability in the age of climate change
The latest stark warning of the impact of climate change on the global economy has come from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the central bank to the world’s central banks, whose goals are to preserve global monetary and financial stability. The report examines the financial impact of “green swan” risks: potentially extremely financially disruptive events that could be behind the next systemic financial crisis. Green swan events may force central banks to intervene as ‘climate rescuers of last resort’ and buy large sets of devalued assets, to save the financial system once more. Both the Bank of England and Singapore’s central monetary authority have introduced measures to test finance institutions’ preparedness in the face of global warming. ( BIS )
Empower Innovation: Catalyzing the Cleantech Community
Launched by the California Energy Commission, Empower Innovation is a collaborative online platform built for anyone with an interest in cleantech innovation. If your community is interested in piloting new technology, reducing energy costs, or improving air and water quality, Empower Innovation is a good place to learn about solutions that can meet your needs. Local governments can connect with potential cleantech partners, explore hundreds of funding opportunities, and peruse curated resources and tools. ( Empower Innovation)
Report: The Case of the Shifting Snow
In almost all areas of the country, snow is decreasing in the “shoulder” seasons—fall and spring. Results from 145 locations show that 116 stations (80%) had decreased snowfall before December, and 96 stations (66%) had decreased snowfall after March 1. The changing patterns of how much, when, and where snow falls have significant impacts on our climate, our economy, and our lives. This report provides a primer on the climatology of snow and includes resources on how to report on snow—or the lack of it—in your area. ( Climate Central)
Biomass in the Sierra Nevada: A Case for Healthy Forests and Rural Economies
Following extensive research and on-the-ground work, Sierra Business Council is making the case for biomass utilization. The paper details the current state of the Sierra Nevada, provides how judicious removal and use of excess forest material can balance necessary forest treatment costs, and identifies co-benefits including improved watershed quality, reduced wildfire risk and costs, improved air quality, and high-paying year-round jobs in natural resource communities. The goal is to add a new level of discourse to the biomass conversation, to cut through controversy for a look at the realities around the largest concerns so that decision makers can make the right choices for their communities. The goal is for a Sierra Nevada brimming with revitalized, fire resilient forests and communities; this paper intends to offer a pathway to getting there. ( SBC)
Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience
The Global Commission on Adaptation seeks to accelerate adaptation by elevating the political visibility of adaptation and focusing on concrete solutions. This report focuses on making the case for climate adaptation, and providing specific insights and recommendations in key sectors. It is designed to inspire action among decision-makers, including heads of state and government officials, mayors, business executives, investors, and community leaders. ( GCA)
Upcoming Opportunities
Civic Spark Partner Recruitment – Priority Partner Applications Now Open
CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local public agencies to address emerging environmental and social equity resilience challenges. Sign up for a webinar to learn about CivicSpark’s 5-year track record of helping communities tackle their biggest challenges while fostering the next generation of leaders and also about what it takes to become a partner. The second priority deadline is April 3. ( CivicSpark)
Job Opportunities:
  • The Local Government Commission is seeking two Climate & Energy Program Managers to lead its dynamic portfolio of innovative climate change and adaptation projects. The LGC is a nonprofit organization working to build livable communities by fostering local leadership and regional collaboration, advancing policies at local and state levels, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions.
  • North Natomas Jibe is seeking a Communications & Business Outreach Manager, who will engage the public through innovative communication strategies and have a passion for creating and marketing programs that support environmentally friendly transportation solutions.
Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Grants: Small Scale Water Efficiency Projects
This grant provides assistance to states, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other entities with water or power delivery authority to undertake small-scale water efficiency projects that have been prioritized through planning efforts led by the applicant. These projects conserve and use water more efficiently; mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict; and accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability in the western United States. Deadline: March 4, 3pm PT. (
Planning Grants for Communities Affected by 2017-2019 California Wildfires
The Strategic Growth Council, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the Department of Conservation are pleased to open the application for Proposition 84 Wildfire Resiliency and Recovery Planning Grants. A total of $720,000 is available for 3-5 grants between $150,000 and $250,000. Eligible applicants include local and regional governments (cities, counties, tribes, and metropolitan planning organizations) representing areas affected by wildfires between 2017-2019. Deadline: 5pm, March 18. ( 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 and harmful environmental trends. Award 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. (
California Department of Food and Agriculture: Dairy Methane Reduction Programs
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting grant applications for Dairy Methane Reduction Programs, which fund the implementation of dairy digesters and non-digester-based manure management practices that lower methane emissions and maximize environmental co-benefits for California livestock operations. Applications are open for the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program and the Alternative Manure Management Practices Demonstration Projects and Incentives Program. Deadline: March 27.
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)
CalEPA Environmental Justice Small Grants
This program offers funding to assist non-profit community organizations and federally recognized Tribal governments address environmental justice issues in areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and hazards. CalEPA will prioritize projects that increase participation in environmental decision-making, promote community resilience, and support local capacity to respond to environmental and health challenges. Deadline: April 17, 2020. ( CalEPA)
Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council Grants
The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council is requesting concept applications for enhancement projects on PG&E Watershed Lands. There is $3 million available for projects that would enhance beneficial public values of natural habitat, outdoor recreation, sustainable forestry, agriculture, open space, or cultural or historic resources. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, federal and state-recognized tribes, or public agencies. Deadline: April 27. ( PFWL)
Upcoming Events
Electric Transportation 2030: Policy, Power & Plugs
March 4, 2020, 10am-4.30pm
Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, 500 J Street. Sacramento
Veloz invites you to join key corporate, nonprofit and government representatives at a forum to discuss what's next for electric cars in California. ( Register)
American Climate Leadership Summit 2020
March 25-26, Washington D.C.
The realities of climate change are upon us and the 2020 elections are existentially critical. How can we win in 2020 and ensure our new leaders will pass and implement policies that ensure a healthy, just, and prosperous future? The 9th annual American Climate Leadership Summit “Ambition • Restoration • Justice” is designed to build political will for climate solutions and a broader, more inclusive movement. Learn strategies and ideas to help transform climate action into a true national priority. All Local Government Commission members and affiliates receive a 35% discount. Register by Feb. 15 for an additional early bird discount. ( Register)
Finance + Resilience Initiative Part 1: Building the Financial Business Case for Resilience
Tuesday, April 21, 12-1pm
Part 1 of this mini-series will highlight how commercial building owners can build the financial business case for resilience within an organization, best practices for measuring financial risk at the asset and portfolio level, and strategies for managing insurance cost and business risk. Part 2 will focus on different mechanisms for financing resilience projects, various reporting frameworks for disclosing resilience performance, and pulling everything together into a resilience risk management plan. ( 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 .