Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
January, 9, 2019
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
We would like to extend a warm welcome to Walk Sacramento as the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative’s newest member! Walk Sacramento focuses on active transportation as a way to create healthy, economically vibrant, and environmentally sustainable communities.

WALKSacramento engages and supports community members and local governments in the Sacramento area to develop context-sensitive policies, planning processes, design strategies, and programs. Recent work includes implementing Safe Routes to School programs, providing technical assistance on pedestrian and streetscape plans, and advocating for pedestrian-oriented development policies and active design strategies.

We also invite you to share your thoughts on the Capital Region’s priorities for climate change and building heat-resilient neighborhoods and transportation solutions via our Community Climate Survey. This survey will help inform the work of the Mayors’ Climate Commission and the Capital Region Urban Heat Island Reduction Project to help us build a healthy, sustainable region. Please take a few minutes to take the survey, share it with your friends, neighbors, and social and professional networks, and encourage others to spread the word as well. Thank you for contributing your voice and your support.
California Knew the Carr Wildfire Could Happen. It Failed to Prevent it.
Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Dozens of interviews and a review of local, state and federal records show that virtually every aspect of the Carr Fire — where it ignited; how and where it exploded in dimension and ferocity; the toll in private property — had been forecast and worried over for years. Every level of government understood the dangers and took few, if any, of the steps needed to prevent catastrophe. This account of how much was left undone, and why, comes at a moment of serious reassessment in California about how to protect millions of people from a new phenomenon: Firestorms whose speed and ferocity surpass any feasible evacuation plans. ( ProPublica) Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
A visual guide to the human cost of natural disasters around the world in 2018
A compelling visualization of the year in natural disasters, showing the scale of the human impact from the global perspective – so you see that in August 2018, even as record-breaking floods in India affected 5 million people and killed 361, drought in Afghanistan displaced 300,000 people, another drought in Central America affected 2 million farmers, with many fleeing to the US – all while the largest wildfire in California history raged in Mendocino County. Through November 2018, approximately 5,000 people have died and 28.9 million have needed emergency assistance or humanitarian aid because of extreme weather. ( Guardian)
Many of the dead in Camp Fire were disabled, elderly. Could they have been saved?
An unsettling picture is emerging in the fire-charred hills of Butte County: Many of the at least 85 people who perished in the raging Camp Fire on Nov. 8 were elderly, infirm or disabled. Death tolls skewed toward the disabled and old are not unusual. But some 9,500 residents in the Paradise-area had a disability, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates from 2012 to 2016. That’s about 25 percent of the population, more than double the statewide rate. The speed of the wildfire may have overwhelmed the County’s in-place warning systems and emergency plans, and those who fared well relied on neighbors, family, and friends. ( SacBee) Photo: Renee C. Byer
As floods push homes higher, the disabled risk being pushed out
As climate change makes flooding and hurricanes more severe, federal regulations are forcing cities and towns to raise homes, businesses and public buildings above the expected height of future storms—in some places by as much as 15 or 20 feet. But that vision of resilience is forcing painful questions about whether and how the disabled can remain part of those communities. “We have to ask ourselves whether we want communities that exclude people with disabilities simply by design.” ( Bloomberg)
California's coastal habitats face existential threat from rising seas
California is one of the most biodiverse states, and its coast hosts most of its native species. But as sea levels rise, governments and conservationists are asking themselves: where will the coastal habitats go? If they retreat farther inland, they will meet cliffs, condos and farms. The Nature Conservancy and the California State Coastal Conservancy found that a sea-level rise of 5 feet would put 59 percent of California’s coastal habitat at risk. Reserving minimally developed land for those habitats to move into could spare more than half the losses, the assessment concludes. Without this conservation, the west coast of the United States could lose a significant number of its unique ecosystems. ( Guardian) Photo: Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images/Getty Images
Fire-resistant homes don’t have to cost a fortune
Homes in wildfire-prone areas around the U.S. could be built to better withstand blazes without increasing the cost of construction, according to a new report. Sponsored in part by the insurance industry, the report marks the first attempt to quantify the expenses associated with building residences that meet stringent flame-resistant criteria. Few states have adopted such codes, often citing housing costs, but the new findings suggest building a fire-resistant home could actually be 2% less than conventional construction. ( Bloomberg) Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
Risks of 'domino effect' of tipping points greater than thought, study says
Policymakers have severely underestimated the risks of ecological tipping points, according to a study that shows 45% of all potential environmental collapses are interrelated and could amplify one another. The study collated existing research on ecosystem transitions that can irreversibly tip to another state, such as coral reefs bleaching and being overrun by algae, forests becoming savannahs and ice sheets melting into oceans. Until recently, the study of tipping points was controversial, but it is increasingly accepted as an explanation for climate changes that are happening with more speed and ferocity than earlier computer models predicted. ( Guardian ) Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
How wildfires are making some California homes uninsurable
Of the 20 worst wildfires in California’s history, four were last year, giving rise to a record $12.6 billion of insurance claims. This has put pressure on insurers, some of which have been declining to renew homeowners’ policies in fire-prone areas. When the houses that burned are rebuilt, their owners may find that no one is writing insurance— at least not at affordable prices. ( NYTimes) Photo: Eric Thayer for The New York Times
Commissioner Jones releases latest insurance company oil, gas, coal and utility investments
To have better insight into climate risks faced by insurer investments, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones publicly released the most recent data on individual insurance company's oil, gas, coal and utility investments. The disclosures were added to the California Department of Insurance's Climate Risk Carbon Initiative database, which provides transparency and insights on how much fossil fuel exposure each insurance company faces. ( Link)
Tools & Resources
Automated Vehicle Principles for Healthy and Sustainable Communities
The deployment of automated vehicles (AVs) will likely lead to a once-in-a-century transformation of our transportation system and our communities. Recognizing that California has the opportunity to exercise proactive leadership to steer this transformation towards the public benefit, a working group of 11 state agencies outlined key principles needed to ensure equitable and sustainable deployment of AVs. With a clear policy framework to guide deployment, AVs could create a more efficient transportation system that provides more and better travel options, decreases GHG and air pollutant emissions, improves safety for all road users, encourages efficient land use, enhances public health, and improves transportation equity and economic opportunity. However, without attention to the broader environmental implications, AVs could increase congestion, commute times, vehicle miles traveled, emissions, while also inducing additional sprawl, increasing poor health outcomes, and exacerbating social inequities. ( Link)
Report: Preparing People on the West Coast for Climate Change
As a result of devastating wildfires, thousands of people are likely to experience significant psychological traumas that can negatively affect them for years. In response to these and many other disasters and toxic stresses due to climate change, the International Transformational Resilience Coalition issued a major report calling for psychological and psycho-social-spiritual – or transformational – resilience education and skills training to become universal across the west coast by 2025. The report is the outcome of a research project that assessed the nature and potential to expand transformational resilience building initiatives in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. ( Link)
Draft California 2030 Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan
The January 2019 Draft of the California 2030 Natural and Working Lands Climate Change Implementation Plan is now available. The Plan’s objectives are to: 1) expand the use of natural and working lands for climate mitigation and adaptation by integrating climate goals into State-funded natural and working land conservation, restoration, and management programs; 2) significantly increase and improve conservation, restoration, and management of natural and working lands through State programs and other means, to enhance their resilience, sequester carbon, and reduce GHGs; and 3) identify next steps for taking a more comprehensive approach to addressing the policy challenges facing our natural and working lands. The Plan also coincides with the release of the Natural and Working Lands Inventory, a quantitative0 estimate of the existing state of ecosystem carbon stored in the State’s land base. ( Link)
Upcoming Opportunities
National Environmental Health Association Climate and Health 2018-19 Grants
The National Environmental Health Association, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will offer two $10,000 grants to support state, local or tribal governmental environmental health agencies to translate climate and health data into a format that is available and useful to their residents and staff. These demonstration grants will support agencies that are already working with their local or state climate and health data or using the CDC BRACE framework. The purpose is to advance the efforts of environmental health departments or agencies to use their data to inform efforts to adapt to climate change. ( Link)
Cal Fire: Forest Health Grants Program
Cal Fire is soliciting applications for $155 million in projects that will help prevent catastrophic wildfires and restore forest health while sequestering carbon and reducing GHG emissions. The  Forest Health Grants Program will fund projects that proactively restore forest health, protect upper watersheds, promote the long-term storage of carbon in forest trees and soils, and minimize the loss of forest carbon. Conservation easements and land acquisitions are also eligible under the Forest Legacy Program. In addition, up to $3.5 million will be available specifically for applied research studies that examine forest management and health to support forest landowners, resource agencies, and fire management organizations. Deadline: 3pm, January 29, 2018. ( Link)
FEMA FY 2018 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program and Flood Mitigation Assistance Program
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program (PDM) funds State, Local and Tribal Governments to implement and sustain cost-effective measures designed to reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural hazards, while also reducing reliance on Federal funding from future disasters. The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program funds State, Local and Tribal Governments to reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings and structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In FY18, the FMA Program will prioritize proposals that address community flood risk by setting aside $70 million for this purpose. Deadline for both programs: January 31, 2019. ( PDM & FMA)
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Health and Climate Solutions
This funding opportunity aims to develop and amplify the evidence around approaches that improve community health and well-being and advance health equity, while also addressing climate change adaptation or mitigation. Eligible local approaches can focus on one or more of a range of determinants of health—including but not limited to air quality, energy, transportation or mobility design, food and water systems, and housing. Grant funds will support research and evaluation activities to develop the best possible evidence highlighting what is working well with the select approach and why; where there have been opportunities and challenges; and how other communities may learn from this approach to tackle similar challenges. All interventions eligible for this funding must have been implemented and active for at least one year as of the date of the application. Deadline: 12 noon, February 8, 2019. ( Link)
$395 Million Available for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Round 4
Round 4 of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program is now open for applications. Administered by the Strategic Growth Council and implemented by the Department of Housing and Community Development, the AHSC program funds land use, housing, transportation, and land use preservation projects to support infill and compact development that reduces GHG emissions. Deadline for applying for technical assistance is Nov. 21. Deadline: February 11, 2019. ( Link)
EPA: Environmental Justice Small Grants Program
EPA announced $1.5 million for a new competition cycle for the Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) program. In general, the EJSG program awards grants to community-based organizations that support community-driven projects designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues and develop strategies for addressing those issues, building consensus in the community, and setting community priorities. The current opportunity will emphasize projects that address emergency preparedness and increase resiliency, as well as projects that include the needs of US military veterans and homeless populations. Deadline: February 15, 2019. ( EPA)
Drinking Water for Schools Grant Program
The State Water Resources Control Board is now accepting applications for $9.5 million in grant funding for projects that improve drinking water quality and access on public school campuses in disadvantaged communities. Applications are due March 1, 2019. ( Link)
Upcoming Events
Low Carbon Transit Operations Program Technical Assistance Workshop – Caltrans District 3
Wednesday, January 16, 10am-noon
The Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) is a California Climate Investment program that funds transit operations and capital projects across the state. Caltrans and the Strategic Growth Council are hosting outreach workshops across the state prior to the upcoming 2018-2019 LCTOP Funding Cycle. Transit agencies and local community organizations located in Caltrans District 3 are invited to attend to this workshop to learn about LCTOP and to identify key priority areas for transit funding in their region. ( Register)
Webinar: Climate, Drought, and Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the Fourth California Climate Assessment
Wednesday, January 16, 1.30-3.30pm
This webinar presents research from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, from Dan Cayan, Julie Kalansky, and Dave Pierce (USCD, Scripps Institution of Oceanography). ( Link)
Sacramento Civic Innovation Challenge Launch Event
Wednesday, January 16, 6.30-8.30pm
The Urban Hive, 1601 Alhambra Blvd #100, Sacramento
You are invited to participate in the launch event for the Sacramento Civic Innovation Challenge! In response to the Ideas Competition for the Civic Innovation Challenge, stakeholders and thought leaders will be gathering to brainstorm submission ideas. While we are open to many ideas, we will start this discussion with a focus on Healthy Air for All as a comprehensive response to the four topic areas of equity & access, resilience, mobility, and built environment. We are soliciting applications for presenters who can speak for 2-3 minutes in lightning talks that will inspire ideas for discussion in the focus area breakout groups. ( Link)
Webinar: Climate Adaptive Response Estimation: Short and Long Run Impacts of Climate Change on Residential Electricity and Natural Gas Consumption Using Big Data
Friday, January 18, 2-3pm
This webinar presents research from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, from Max Auffhammer (UC Berkeley). ( Link)
SACOG Travel Demand Model User Conference
January 22-23, 2019
SACOG Board Room, 1415 L Street, Suite 300, Sacramento
This user conference will focus on hands-on training for model users, dive into how to run and apply the new functionalities of the model on projects, and provide a strong understanding of model structures, features, and model application. ( Register)
Webinar: Reno Resilience – Sustainability in the Wild West
Thursday, January 24, 11am-noon
The 2014 local election brought new, progressive leadership to the City of Reno. The newly elected Mayor and City Council took immediate action to tackle climate change leading to the city's first sustainability manager coming on board in late 2015. In just 3 years, Reno has earned a place on the map for building solutions around sustainability. Presented by Reno Sustainability Manager Lynne Barker, the webinar will describe the sustainability principles reinforced in citywide goals and policies adopted in the City of Reno Master Plan, as well as the more specific strategies identified in the city's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. ( Register)
Webinar: Is your community dangerous by design?
Thursday, January 24, 11.30am-12.30pm
If 6,000 people died in plane crashes every year in America, air travel would grind to a halt and the industry would be thrown into chaos. Unfortunately, nearly 6,000 people were killed in 2017 doing something much more commonplace: walking. In fact, even as traffic fatalities overall have been decreasing, pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise over the last decade. The National Complete Streets Coalition is releasing the Dangerous by Design 2018 report, which ranks each state and the 100 most populous metro areas based on how deadly they are for pedestrians. This webinar will discuss the results, and importantly, what can be done to save lives. ( Register)
California Bioresources Economy Summit 2019
January 29-30, 2019, David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA
The California Bioresources Economy Summit will bring together policymakers, bioresource experts, technology innovators, community groups, and researchers to explore how the State’s bioresources from the forest, agricultural, and urban sectors can help the State adapt to and mitigate climate change, improve air quality, create jobs, and achieve other co-benefits. ( Link)
Preparing for the Health Effects of Drought: A Workshop for Public Health Professionals and Partners
Monday, February 4, 2019, 10am-4pm
Cal/EPA, Sierra Hearing Room, 2 nd floor, 1001 I Street, Sacramento
This workshop is hosted by the California Department of Public Health’s Climate Change and Health Equity Program as part of the Climate Action Team Public Health Workgroup. The morning will provide an informational session on the health impacts of drought, and drought projections. Facilitated by the National Drought Mitigation Center, the afternoon session will focus on understanding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preparing for the Health Effects of Drought: A Resource Guide for Public Health Professionals. Webcast available. ( Register)
CRC Quarterly Meeting: Sacramento Valley Regional Climate Symposium
Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 10am-4pm
Multi-purpose Room, UC Davis Student Community Center, 397 Hutchinson Drive, Davis
Join the CRC, leading climate researchers and scientists, state agencies, local jurisdictions, and community leaders at our first quarterly meeting of 2019 to learn about key findings from the Sacramento Valley regional report and California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment and opportunities to advance local adaptation initiatives. This workshop will highlight new findings on key climate risks impacting the Sacramento Valley region with a special emphasis on rising temperatures and shifting participation, public health, community planning, and local and land use and natural habitats. Participants will also learn about financing mechanisms, funding opportunities, key tools and resources while also engaging in interactive discussions to inform the update to the State’s Adaptation Planning Guide. ( Register)
Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon Q1 2019
Friday, February 8, 2019, 11.30am-1.30pm
The California Endowment, 1414 K St #500, Sacramento
The Cleaner Air Partnership will explore the SB 375 mandate to reduce GHG emissions in the Capital Region to 19% below 2005 levels by 2035. Attaining these critical GHG reductions will require coordinated transportation, housing, and land use planning as well as new partnerships between public agencies, business leaders, environmental advocates, and others. ( Register)
6th California Climate & Agriculture Summit
March 4-5, 2019
The first day features tours of three climate-friendly farms in Yolo and Solano Counties, and the second day will be a full day of plenary, workshop and poster presentations about the latest science, policy and practice related to climate and agriculture. This summit brings together a diverse group of over 350 farmers and ranchers, researchers, agriculture professionals, agriculture and environmental nonprofit organizations, and local and state policymakers and government agencies. The California Climate & Agriculture Network hosts a summit once every two years, and it usually sells out, so register now! ( Register)
Registration for the National Adaptation Forum is now open!
The 4th National Adaptation Forum will take place in Madison, WI, from April 23-25, 2019. Attendees will learn how to make their work climate-informed, share insights with others, and develop a stronger network of like-minded peers. Early registration ends March 1, 2019. ( Link)
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 .