Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
May 20, 2020
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
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World cannot return to 'business as usual' after Covid-19, say mayors
Mayors from many of the world’s leading cities have warned there can be no return to “business as usual” in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis if humanity is to escape catastrophic climate breakdown. City leaders representing more than 750 million people have published a “statement of principles”, which commits them to putting greater equality and climate resilience at the heart of their recovery plans. Many cities have already announced measures to support a low-carbon, sustainable recovery, from hundreds of miles of new bike lanes in Milan and Mexico City to widening pavements and pedestrianising neighbourhoods in New York and Seattle. ( Guardian ) Photo: Dan Herrick/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock
Coronavirus makes cooling centers risky, just as scorching weather hits
Temperatures in Phoenix are expected to hit 105 this week. Sacramento has already broken heat records recently. But the usual strategy that cities rely upon to protect the most vulnerable from the heat — encouraging people to gather and cool down in public buildings like libraries or recreation centers — doesn’t work in an era of the coronavirus and social distancing. So cities across the country are rushing to test other ideas. In Phoenix, officials plan to start renting hotel rooms to help homeless people stay out of the heat. New York City is looking to help residents pay their electricity bills to make air-conditioning more affordable. Others are considering handing out free air-conditioners to people whose homes lack them. Richmond, Virginia, is looking at turning some streets into impromptu social spaces, particularly for use in the evenings when temperatures outdoors can be lower than inside homes without air-conditioning. Not only has the Covid-19 crisis made gathering dangerous, public health and emergency management officials point out, but on top of that the very people most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses — the elderly or chronically ill — also tend to be most vulnerable to the virus. ( NYT )
Potentially fatal bouts of heat and humidity on the rise, study finds
Intolerable bouts of extreme humidity and heat which could threaten human survival are on the rise across the world, suggesting that worst-case scenario warnings about the consequences of global heating are already occurring. Scientists have identified thousands of previously undetected outbreaks of the deadly weather combination in parts of Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and North America, including several hotspots along the US Gulf coast. The number of potentially fatal humidity and heat events doubled between 1979 and 2017, and are increasing in both frequency and intensity. The ominous findings come as something of a surprise to scientists, as previous studies had projected such extreme weather events would occur later in the century, mostly in parts of the tropics and subtropics where humidity is already a problem. ( Guardian ) Photo: Dave Hunt/AAP
One billion people will live in insufferable heat within 50 years - study
The human cost of the climate crisis will hit harder, wider and sooner than previously believed, according to a study that shows a billion people will either be displaced or forced to endure insufferable heat for every additional 1C rise in the global temperature. In a worst-case scenario of accelerating emissions, areas currently home to a third of the world’s population will be as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years. Even in the most optimistic outlook, 1.2 billion people will fall outside the comfortable “climate niche” in which humans have thrived for at least 6,000 years. Humanity is particularly sensitive because we are concentrated on land – which is warming faster than the oceans – and because most future population growth will be in already hot regions of Africa and Asia. As a result of these demographic factors, the average human will experience a temperature increase of 7.5C (13.5F) when global temperatures reach 3C (5.4F), which is forecast towards the end of this century. ( Guardian ) Photo: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP via Getty Images
US farm workers face worsening lethal heat
Increases in lethal heat levels will render outdoor labour in the harvest season increasingly impossible. By 2050, US agricultural workers will meet unsafe daytime summer temperatures on 39 days each harvest season. And by 2100, this number could triple to 62 unsafe days, according to new research. There are roughly one million people in the US officially employed picking crops in states such as Oregon, California, Washington and Florida. The actual number however is estimated to be two million. More than three-quarters of them are foreign-born. Only about half of these have lawful authority to work in the US. Of these, 71% do not speak English well, and on average educational levels are low. Fewer than half have medical insurance, and one third of the families live below the poverty line. ( Climate News Network ) Photo: By Mick Haupt on Unsplash
With temperatures rising, can animals withstand the heat stress?
A growing number of studies show that warming temperatures are increasing mortality in creatures ranging from birds in the Mojave Desert, to mammals in Australia, to bumblebees in North America. Researchers warn that heat stress could become a major factor in future extinctions. ( Yale 360 ) Photo: Shutterstock
Wildlife collapse from climate change is predicted to hit suddenly and sooner
Climate change could result in a more abrupt collapse of many animal species than previously thought, starting in the next decade if GHG emissions are not reduced, according to a study published in Nature. The study predicted that large swaths of ecosystems would falter in waves, creating sudden die-offs that would be catastrophic not only for wildlife, but for the humans who depend on it. But if global warming was held to below 2 degrees Celsius, the number of species exposed to dangerous climate change would drop by 60 percent. That, in turn, would limit the number of ecosystems exposed to catastrophic collapse to about 2 percent. ( NYT )
To cut carbon emissions, a movement grows to 'electrify everything'
In an effort to move away from fossil fuels, U.S. communities from California to Massachusetts are instituting bans on natural gas in new construction. In the past year, gas bans have spread with a speed that has taken even some of its most ardent proponents by surprise. City leaders, lawmakers, and climate activists pushing for all-electric policies argue that continuing to rely on fossil fuel-burning furnaces, water heaters, and cooking ranges is incompatible with plans to bring net carbon emissions to zero by mid-century or sooner. They are also making the case that electric appliances are safer and healthier — since they don’t produce combustion byproducts like particulate matter, carbon monoxide, or nitrogen dioxide — and cheaper over their lifespans than conventional gas systems. ( Yale 360 ) Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
The pandemic shows what cars have done to cities
Whichever underlying conditions the pandemic has exposed in our health-care or political system, the lockdown has shown us just how much room American cities devote to cars. When relatively few drivers ply an enormous street network, while pedestrians nervously avoid one another on the sidewalks, they are showing in vivid relief the spatial mismatch that exists in urban centers from coast to coast—but especially in New York. Why should the system that is moving so many more people be given so much less room? ( The Atlantic ) Photo: Ernst Haas / Getty
Smart technology project helps fan energy savings and comfort
A four-year, $2 million pilot project demonstrates how advanced smart fans can be used in conjunction with air-conditioning to prove energy-efficient cooling in offices, community rooms, and homes in low-income housing developments at four sites in the Central Valley. At moderate temperatures, the fans operate alone, but when it gets hotter, the air-conditioning kicks in. At one site, air conditioning-related energy consumption was cut by 60 percent, and the monthly electric bill was reduced by $1,200. ( CEC )
Tolkien was right: giant trees have towering role in protecting forests
Scientists have shown to be true what JRR Tolkien only imagined in the Lord of the Rings: giant, slow-reproducing trees play an outsized role in the growth and health of old forests. In the 1930s, the writer gave his towering trees the name Ents. Today, a paper in the journal Science says these “long-lived pioneers” contribute more than previously believed to carbon sequestration and biomass increase. The study highlights the importance of forest protection and biodiversity as a strategy to ease global heating. They say it should also encourage global climate modellers to shift away from representing all the trees in a forest as essentially the same. ( Guardian ) Photo: John Dambik/Alamy
Tools & Resources
California Climate Investments provided more than $1 billion for underserved communities in 2019
2019 was a record year for California Climate Investments (CCI) with nearly $2 billion in projects implemented, including more than $1 billion to benefit disadvantaged and low-income communities. The projects funded so far are expected to reduce GHG emissions by almost 45 million metric tons during their lifetime. Disadvantaged and low-income communities will receive 57 percent of the benefits, substantially exceeding the 35 percent minimum required by law. This includes about 4,700 affordable housing units near transit, tens of thousands of water and energy retrofits, and cleaner trucks and cars in California’s most-polluted communities. CCI projects in 2019 are estimated to support approximately 10,500 jobs within the state, across all sectors of the economy. These benefits are described in the latest Annual Report to the Legislature. ( ARB )
ICARP Impact Report and 2020 Program Recommendations
The ICARP Impact Report highlights some of the accomplishments of ICARP since its launch in 2017, and outlines recommended programmatic next steps to advance California’s leadership on adaptation, resilience, and integrated climate action. The report touches on ongoing and emerging opportunities, challenges, gaps, and risks, and explores the work ahead for ICARP to best respond to the unique realities present in California. ( OPR )
Weatherization and Home Improvements: A Promising Path for Improving Health and Reducing Medical Costs for Older Adults
High medical and energy costs, limited incomes, and narrow comfort ranges present multiple health-related challenges for older adults. A variety of studies indicate that weatherizing and repairing the homes of elderly households can help to address these issues, thereby improving resident health and reducing both energy and health costs. Weatherization and home repairs can therefore serve as preventative healthcare in some situations. Ultimately, these programs hold promise for improving health and reducing medical costs. ( ACEEE )
Upcoming Opportunities
CivicSpark 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. ( Link )
Statewide Energy Efficiency Virtual Forum call for proposals
The 2020 SEEC Forum will be taking place virtually from June through September. The Call for Proposals for the August-September events will open April 27 and close May 29. The call for proposals for the October-November block of events will open June 29 and close July 31. ( Link )
Strategic Growth Council: Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Grants
The Strategic Growth Council is accepting applications for Round 6 of the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC), which fights climate change by protecting farmlands and encouraging infill development. SALC provides two types of grants: Planning grants support the development of policies and economic development strategies to protect agricultural land, and Land Acquisition Grants (for either conservation easements or fee acquisitions) permanently protect lands that are at risk of conversion to sprawl development. Applicants for acquisition grants must submit pre-proposals by May 29. (Organizations interested in planning grants are encouraged to submit pre-proposals as well.) Deadlines for both grants August 28, 2020. ( Link )
Forestry Assistance Grant Opportunity
CAL FIRE has created a new grant opportunity for eligible entities (counties, resource conservation districts, and nonprofits) to provide technical and financial assistance to forestland owners. The purpose is to allow prospective grantees the ability to provide a program of financial and technical forestry assistance to nonindustrial forest landowners. Deadline: May 31. ( CalFire)
Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot: Applications open
The Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot provides funding for the design and implementation of clean mobility projects in California's historically underserved communities. $20 million is available in 2020 for two types of projects: 1) the Community Transportation Needs Assessment Vouchers help communities to engage residents to identify their biggest transportation needs; and 2) Mobility Project Vouchers fund the implementation of projects that increase access to transportation, designed with community priorities at the forefront. Organizations can now start their applications for both project types. Community Transportation Needs Assessment Voucher applications will be accepted starting June 1, 2020, and approve them on a first-come, first-served basis. Mobility Project Voucher applications will be accepted starting at a later date to be determined – but applicants may still begin designing a Mobility Project. ( Apply)
National Forest Foundation Matching Awards Program
The National Forest Foundation (NFF) Matching Awards Program (MAP) provides funding for results-oriented on-the-ground projects that enhance forest health and outdoor experiences on National Forests and Grasslands. MAP supports the implementation of on-the-ground conservation and restoration projects that have an immediate, quantifiable impact on the National Forest System. Deadline June 9, 2020 ( NFF )
Urban Flood Protection Program
Projects must address flooding in urbanized areas and provide multiple benefits. Eligible projects shall include, but are not limited to, stormwater capture and reuse, planning and implementation of low-impact development, restoration of urban streams and watersheds, and increasing permeable surfaces to help reduce flooding. Deadline June 15, 2020. ( CNRA )
California Fire Safe Council Competitive Grants
California Fire Safe Council is providing funds to support fire risk reduction activities by landowners in at-risk communities to restore and maintain resilient landscapes and create fire adapted communities. Funds should be utilized for hazardous fuels reduction and maintenance projects on non-federal land, Community Wildfire Protection Plans and other community hazard mitigation and planning, and prevention and mitigation education and outreach opportunities for landowners and residents in at-risk communities. Applications due June 18, 2020. ( FSC )
CDFA Healthy Soils Program Incentives Program
The 2020 HSP Incentives Program is part of the Healthy Soils Program (HSP). The objectives of the HSP are to increase statewide implementation of conservation management practices that improve soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) by (1) providing financial incentives to California growers and ranchers for agricultural management practices, (2) funding on-farm demonstration projects that conduct research and/or showcase conservation management practices, and (3) creating a platform promoting widespread adoption of conservation management practices throughout the state. Applications accepted on a rolling basis until June 26, 2020. ( CDFA )
Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grants
Up to $15 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) funding is available from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG generally funds pilot projects, field demonstrations, and on-farm conservation research. Deadline June 29, 2020. ( Link )
State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement Program
In response to COVID-19 and the need to improve the environment and public health conditions in low-income communities, the EPA is re-opening the State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement Program (SEJCA). The SEJCA program provides funding to eligible entities to work collaboratively with underserved communities to understand, promote and integrate approaches to provide meaningful and measurable improvements to public health and/or the environment in those communities. Deadline June 30. ( Link )
Beacon Program Request for Award Consideration 2020
The Beacon Program recognizes the measurable achievements of cities and counties working to address climate change. Cities can be awarded in five categories based on their achievement level. If you would like to apply for award consideration, please complete the form by July 1. ( CA-IGL )
Housing & Community Development: Local Early Action Planning Grants (LEAP)
The Local Early Action Planning Grants provides over-the-counter grants complemented with technical assistance to local governments for the preparation and adoption of planning documents, and process improvements that accelerate housing production or facilitate compliance to implement the sixth-cycle Regional Housing Needs Assessment. Deadline July 1. ( Link )
Civic Innovation Challenge
The Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) is a research and action competition in the Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) domain designed to build a more cohesive research-to-innovation pipeline and foster a collaborative spirit. CIVIC aims to accelerate the impact of S&CC research, and deepen cooperation and information sharing across sectors and regions. CIVIC will fund projects that can produce significant community impact within 12 months (following a four-month planning phase) and have the potential for lasting impact beyond the period of the CIVIC award. Deadline July 1, 2020. ( Link )
State Water Resources Control Board Stormwater Grants
The State Water Resources Control Board funds multi-beneficial stormwater-management projects, including green infrastructure, rainwater- and stormwater-capture projects, and stormwater-treatment facilities. Eligible projects are those that capture, treat, infiltrate and/or use storm water/dry weather runoff for a variety of potential benefits like water supply, water quality, flood protection, environmental and community. Deadline July 2, 2020. ( Waterboards )
Tribal Wildlife Grants
Tribal Wildlife Grants provide technical and financial assistance to Tribes for the development and implementation of programs that benefit fish and wildlife resources and their habitat. Activities may include planning for wildlife and habitat conservation, fish and wildlife conservation and management actions, fish and wildlife related laboratory and field research, natural history studies, habitat preservation, and public education. Deadline July 6, 2020. ( FWS )
WaterSMART Drought Response Program: Drought Resiliency
This grant seeks to support organizations with water or power delivery authority by cost sharing with Reclamation on Drought Resiliency Projects that will increase the reliability of water supplies; improve water management; and provide benefits for fish, wildlife, and the environment to mitigate impacts caused by drought. Deadline July 8, 2020. ( Link )
California Natural Resources Agency: Urban Greening Grant Program
$28.5 million is available for urban greening projects that use natural and green infrastructure approaches to create sustainable and vibrant communities, reduce GHG emissions, and provide multiple additional benefits. A competitive project will maximize opportunities to reduce GHG emissions through project design and implementation as well as incorporate green infrastructure solutions that improve the sustainability and function of existing urban hardscapes and landscapes. Registration required for grant workshops on June 9, 10, and 15. Deadline: July 15. ( CNRA )
Permanent Local Housing Allocation Program for Entitlement & Non-Entitlement Local Governments: Formula Funding Component
The California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) released the first of two Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) announcements for the Permanent Local Housing Allocation Program. The first NOFA is for formula funding. Learn more about affordable housing funding . Deadline: July 27, 2020. ( Link )
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Housing Program
$141 million in funding is available for Round 4 of the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Housing Program. The primary goal of the TOD Program is to promote public transit ridership and stimulate affordable housing developments near transit stations. Low-interest loans are available as gap financing for rental housing developments that include affordable units. In addition, grants are available to cities, counties, and transit agencies for infrastructure improvements necessary for the development of specified housing developments or to facilitate transit connections. Deadline July 30, 5pm. ( Link )
CalTrans Active Transportation Program
The goals of the Active Transportation Program include, but are not limited to, increasing the proportion of trips accomplished by walking and biking, increasing the safety and mobility of non-motorized users, advancing efforts of regional agencies to achieve GHG reduction goals, enhancing public health, and providing a broad spectrum of projects to benefit many types of users including disadvantaged communities. Applications for Quick-Build projects due July 15, and for all other project types September 15, 2020. ( Link )
Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Grants: Water and Energy Efficiency for FY21
Applications could include projects that seek to conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the production of hydropower, mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict, enable farmers to make additional on-farm improvements in the future, and accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability. Awards are available for up to $1.5 million. Deadline September 30, 2020. ( Link )
Upcoming Events
Resilience in a climate and COVID-19 era: Mobilizing local to global solutions
Thursday, May 21, 12.30-1.30pm
As the world has seen – and many have felt – the threat of climate change has evolved from “climate crisis” to “climate emergency”. What has become crystal clear to our global community is that we are now in a climate era. What has seemed like a distant, looming threat is more urgent than ever as the world now faces yet another crisis: COVID-19. Will this pandemic teach us to act now, through proven solutions, and fortify for the crises to come? ( Link )
Webinar: Resilience insurance: a new way to finance coastal resilience through nature-based solutions
Tuesday, May 26, 9-10am PDT
This webinar will describe new prospects to advance nature-based solutions and insurance through a new resilience insurance concept that helps bridge between traditional tradeoffs of risk transfer (e.g., insurance) and risk reduction (e.g., hazard mitigation). The mechanism can help finance nature-based solutions that can help align environmental and risk management goals, while creating opportunities for public and private investment in coastal adaptation. ( Register )
California-Nevada May 2020 Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar
Tuesday, May 26, 11am-12pm
The California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System (CA-NV DEWS) May 2020 Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar is part of a series of regular drought and climate outlook webinars designed to provide stakeholders and other interested parties in the region with timely information on current drought status and impacts, as well as a preview of current and developing climatic events (i.e. El Niño and La Niña). ( Register )
Webinar: Meeting the Rural Resilience Imperative: Integrating Resilience into Rural Planning & Action
Thursday, May 28, 11am-12pm
We all depend upon rural resources for food, water, fiber, and our economy. Exacerbated by climate change, extreme weather impacts rural lands and small towns but often is not addressed due to a lack of resources. The Resilient Rural America Project (RRAP) is creating a series of training modules in partnership with rural leaders to serve their needs. This webinar reviews RRAP’s approach to integrate extreme weather resilience into local comprehensive planning through risk assessment and implementation of practical resilience strategies. Participants will gain greater understanding of the importance of rural resilience, the barriers rural communities face, and new ways to advance rural resilience strategies. ( Register )
Toward Wildfire Resilience: Reducing Risk and Streamlining CEQA
Thursday, May 28, 12pm
In this webinar, information will be shared on land use planning and vegetation management strategies to reduce wildfire risk, along with a discussion of CEQA streamlining strategies to expedite their implementation. This webinar will be of broad interest to agencies seeking to promote wildfire resilience on lands within their jurisdiction, land use planners, and CEQA practitioners interested in streamlining environmental review of wildfire risk reduction projects. ( Register )
Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition (LGSEC): New Department of Energy Tools to Plan for Stimulus Projects
Thursday, May 28, 12pm
Get ready for federal stimulus by joining LGSEC for a webinar to hear directly from the DOE and National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) about their latest tools that can help you plan your next energy projects! Harry Bergman, who manages the suite of building energy data tools at the DOE, will give an overview of the free and open source tools that help you understand energy at any geographic scale. Megan Day from NREL will present the State and Local Planning for Energy platform and other tools to illustrate clean energy options and opportunities and inform energy planning. LGSEC board members will facilitate a discussion on how these insights can be used to help develop your next round of shovel-ready projects for anticipated stimulus funds. ( Register )
COVID-19, Climate Change, & Communities Part 2: Planning for a Just Recovery in U.S. Cities and Communities
Monday, June 1, 12pm
As the COVID-19 pandemic advances, communities, cities, and companies are experiencing health and economic impacts. But how do you adequately prepare when so much remains uncertain? How will the lasting ramifications of COVID-19 play out in different parts of the world? How do we ensure vulnerable communities are best equipped for resilience now and in the future? The Institute for Sustainable Communities invites you to join this discussion featuring Dr. David Nabarro of the World Health Organization and Shamar Bibbins of the Kresge Foundation. ( Register )
Building Our Skills Together: Online Environmental Engagement
June 2-4, 2020
California Natural Resources Agency and CalEPA are co-hosting a free three-day virtual conference on equitable public engagement in the time of COVID. Speakers include state, local, Tribal and community leaders as well as international experts in the field of public participation and engagement. Integrated simultaneous interpretation in Spanish will be available. Topics include using digital engagement tools effectively to plan and participate in virtual online meetings; how organizations are adapting engagement practices during the COVID-19 crisis; and what it all means for equity and environmental justice. ( Register )
SEEC Virtual Forum - Webinar 1: State Panel on Promising Solutions for a Clean Energy Future
Tuesday, June 2, 1pm
Local governments throughout California have been making tremendous progress towards goals to increase energy efficiency, reduce GHG emissions, and build a more resilient future for all. While the adoption of new technologies is on the rise, local agencies are increasingly under pressure to respond to new threats such as Public Safety Power Shutoffs and COVID-19. However, ambitions to achieve local and State goals remain high. The SEEC Virtual Forum launches with a panel discussion featuring state leaders who will speak to the forum theme of Promising Solutions for a Clean Energy Future. This webinar will include a moderated discussion and quickly pivot to audience questions to provide opportunities to engage with California's energy leaders in this time of urgency. ( Register ) Visit to register for additional webinars in the SEEC Virtual Forum.
Community Resilience in the Context of Climate Change and COVID-19
Tuesday, June 2, 2.30pm
The novel coronavirus continues to affect all segments of society, particularly those in the most vulnerable situations. This crisis also illuminates the urgency of addressing another looming threat: climate change. As we quickly approach the summer season, California communities will face extreme heat waves and heightened wildfire risk with projections for 2020 being the warmest year on record. How do we ensure continued progress on addressing and adapting to climate change in a resource-constrained environment and with competing priorities? ( Register )
Equity in Action - Heat Planning in Greater Phoenix
Wednesday, June 3, 11am-12.30pm
This webinar will cover how The Nature Conservancy, Arizona State University, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, and other partners developed the Heat Action Planning Guide for Neighborhoods of Greater Phoenix. This team worked directly with community members using a participatory process to identify challenges and create community-driven solutions to mitigate and adapt to future heat. Cooling solutions include revitalizing vacant lots with trees and vegetation, and increasing shade along transit routes and at bus stops. The process was designed to develop awareness, agency, and social cohesion in underserved communities. ( 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 .