Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
November 16, 2016
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative

It has been a long, difficult week, and many of us are filled with uncertainty about the path forward. We have deep concerns about what this election means for America - for our diversity, our global leadership, our willingness to lift up our disadvantaged communities.

But we also have tremendous hope in human resilience. More than ever, we must stand by the rights of all people, especially those who are women, immigrants, people of color, and LGBTQ, and we must work to maintain our hard-won environmental protections. We believe that California can and will press on with the leadership and vision that has made us such a beacon for the world. No matter what happens, we will continue to have an impact and create models for the rest of the nation to follow when the pendulum swings back. 

We have difficult times and conversations ahead. Our success will hinge on our ability to bring our best selves - to listen deeply with empathy to opinions we don't hold, and to hold the line with care and compassion when we need to. 

The work we are doing here in the Capital Region matters more than ever now. From the ground up, we must continue moving forward to build resilient, smart, low-carbon communities and nurture local leaders. We must create the inclusive, sustainable future we want to see. We have so much opportunity ahead, and we'd like to thank all of you for being here with us, for your commitment, strength, and vision on the long journey ahead. 
Cities and communities are beacons of hope on climate change
Even without rigorous federal policy, cities and communities are taking meaningful steps to protect the climate. Cities will continue to set transportation, building, and power standards that substantially lower emissions. Kate Meis, Executive Director of the Local Government Commission, discussed the importance of local leadership and activism. "You can work with communities at the local level to develop solutions and innovations in a way that you can't at the federal level." She described a number of activities going on throughout California cities, including one of particular pride, CivicSpark, an initiative of the state and the AmeriCorps program. Each year the program's 68 Fellows contribute more than 65,000 hours at the local level to help California communities respond to climate change and water issues. "This program is training future environmental stewards, which is where we need to go," Meis said. "Instead of dwelling on what happened in the election, we need to focus on what we are doing now... and moving forward." ( Nexus Media)

Photo: Pixabay
Donald Trump presidency a 'disaster for the planet', warn climate scientists
The ripples from a new American president are far-reaching, but never before has the arrival of a White House administration placed the livability of Earth at stake. Donald Trump's climate denialism could prove to be a lasting imprint of his presidency. Trump wants the US to exit the Paris deal, potentially setting off a cataclysmic domino effect where other countries also drop out or ease off efforts to decarbonize. The 2C limit, which was already a stern challenge, now appears perilous. Bitterly contested fossil fuel projects such as the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipeline, would likely be waved through, with Trump promising to "lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks to allow these vital energy infrastructure projects to go ahead". ( Guardian)
Source: Lux Research, Inc.
Donald Trump wants to dismantle Obama's Clean Power Plan. It's trickier than it looks.
Donald Trump has made it clear that one of his top priorities is to dismantle the climate change regulations that President Obama has put in place over the past eight years. But the details of how he tries to do this matter enormously, and anyone interested in climate policy should pay close attention to the nuances here. ( Vox)
Social infrastructure and cohesion critical for surviving climate change
Social infrastructure is critical to explaining why communities of identical socio-economic characteristics had vastly different mortality and recovery rates during heat waves and natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Places with active commercial corridors, a variety of public spaces, local institutions, sidewalks, and community organizations fared well in disasters, while more socially barren places did not. Just as the temperature of a heat wave or the thickness of a levee, it's the strength of a neighborhood that determines who lives and who dies in a disaster. Building against climate change can either support vibrant neighborhood conditions or undermine them via hard infrastructure that erodes neighborhood connectivity. ( Wired)
Yosemite experiment supports letting wildfires burn 
Photo: Scott Stephens
An unprecedented 40-year experiment in a 40,000-acre valley of Yosemite National Park strongly supports the strategy of managing wildfires with minimal suppression and almost no preemptive, prescribed burns. This strategy has helped the Illilouette Creek basin become more resistant to catastrophic fire, with more diverse vegetation and forest structure, and increased stream flow, soil moisture, and water storage. Even in drought years, the basin retained more water than similar areas, resulting in more stream flow in the Upper Merced River, when other rivers showed the same or decreased flow. If the results are confirmed by other studies, they could alter forest management. ( YubaNet)
Jay Lund: Lessons we should learn from the drought
The drought is not over: Even if we have a wet winter, groundwater depletion will remain an issue for years, as will ecosystem recovery. UC Davis professor Jay Lund, and former presenter at a CRC Quarterly Meeting, shares several lessons that we should learn from the drought, including a prime need for common state water accounting and analysis across agencies. He also notes that forests are probably the environmental areas most affected by the drought, with millions of tree deaths that will change forests in the decades to come, while economic damages for agriculture were limited due to the availability of groundwater, water trading, cooperation among local agencies and good global prices for California's agricultural products. ( SacBee)
Climate change already disrupting all aspects of nature
Photo: Anita Ritenour via Flickr
Global increases in temperature have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, with increasingly worrying consequences for humans. A staggering 80 percent of ecological processes that form the foundation for healthy marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems already show signs of distress and response to climate change, such as alterations in the genetic diversity of animal populations, skewed predator-prey relationships, shifts in sex ratio of fish and reptile species. Impacts to humans include increased pests and disease outbreaks, reduced productivity in fisheries, and decreasing agriculture yields. These changes may also compromise the capacity of ecosystems to mitigate and adapt to climate change, such as by regulating local climate and reducing risks from hazards such as floods and sea-level rise. Too many changes can scale up into ecological regime shifts, where one ecosystem state shifts to an alternative state, such as from tundra to boreal. ( Link)
Highlighting Local Actions
San Francisco is first U.S. city to require green roofs
Photo: Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, National Geographic
San Francisco will require that most new buildings incorporate solar, green roofs, or both on 15 to 30 percent of roof space. The ordinance builds on an April bill requiring new residential and commercial buildings 10 stories or shorter to install solar panels or a solar heating system. Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, reduce building energy costs, and help to mitigate the urban heat island effect. Combining solar and green roofs can be mutually beneficial, as solar panels can shade vegetation, reducing the need for watering, while green roofs can lower temperatures, improving solar efficiency. Around the world, France mandates at least partial coverage of green roof or solar on all new construction. In 2009, Toronto mandated green roofs on industrial and residential buildings. Germany's green roof industry has been legislated and supported by the government since the 1970s. ( National Geographic)
When a city stops arguing about climate change and starts planning
Charleston is one of a growing number of coastal cities in red states adapting for climate change - one that other low-elevation cities should be watching. In December 2015, Charleston adopted the "Sea Level Rise Strategy," its first comprehensive plan for climate adaptation. Recommendations include improving stormwater drainage systems, enacting special building standards for flood hazards, steering public facilities and infrastructure outside of hazard areas, acquiring wetlands and other open space, and writing ordinances to limit new development in flood-prone areas - a controversial proposition in pro-growth Charleston. ( Next City)
Los Angeles: Powering EVs with energy savings from LED replacements
It cost Los Angeles $57 million to replace 4,500 miles of sodium-vapor streetlights with LEDs, but the new technology saves the city $9 million a year in electricity costs. It also frees up electric capacity to install as many as 100 new electric vehicle charging stations, 30 of which will be in place by the end of 2016. The project falls under LA's Sustainable City pLAn, which sets an overall goal of 1,000 charging stations by 2017. ( Wired)  
Tools and Resources
State of Local Climate Action: California 2016 
This report from ICLEI and the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) presents a comprehensive picture of local government climate leadership in California, including measurable local emissions trends, targets, planning efforts, and energy and climate actions. The report also presents in-depth profiles of local and regional agencies pursuing goals like public health and economic development through climate action. The findings confirm that local governments are making a significant contribution to the State's climate goals. ( Link)
White House launches Resilience Dialogues and Resilience Opportunities report
The White House launched new climate resilience programs, including the Resilience Dialogues, an online consultation service that will connect cities with climate science experts to provide customized technical assistance for risk assessment and resilience planning. In addition, the White House also released a report highlighting opportunities for federal agencies and stakeholders to address climate resilience, focused on advancing and applying science-based information and tools, integrating climate resilience into federal agency mission and operations, and supporting community efforts. The report identifies the need to increase climate-resilient design and construction, which a coalition of 97 academic institutions and associations has pledged to support by teaching students resilient design principles. ( Report)
Upcoming Opportunities
National Adaptation Forum: Poster, Tools Cafe, and Oral Presentation submissions
If you did not have enough time to write a full session proposal, you can submit an abstract for an Oral Presentation or Poster Presentation to be presented to your colleagues at the National Adaptation Forum. You can also submit an online decision making tool for our Tools Cafe at this time. Deadline December 16, 2016. ( Link)
USDA seeking proposals for $25 million in Conservation Innovation Grants
USDA is seeking proposals for cutting-edge projects for the competitive Conservation Innovation Grants program. Projects will spark the development and adoption of innovative conservation technologies and approaches in areas like conservation finance, data analytics, and precision conservation to benefit producers on private agricultural and forest lands. For example, The Climate Trust launched a Working Lands Carbon Fund to serve as a revolving source of financing for conservation projects that reduce GHG emissions and sequester carbon on working lands.  Deadline Jan. 9, 2017. (, USDA
EPA - Environmental Justice Small Grants Program now accepting applications
EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants program provides financial assistance to community-based organizations and local and tribal governments working on projects to address environmental and public health concerns. Grants will support activities designed to empower and educate affected communities and to identify ways to address environmental and public health concerns at the local level. Approximately 40 one-year projects will be awarded at up to $30,000 each. Deadline: January 31, 2017. ( EPA)
NFWF - Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program
This program seeks to develop nation-wide community stewardship and restoration of coastal, wetland, and riparian ecosystems across the country, preserving them for future generations and enhancing habitat for local wildlife. Projects seek to address water quality issues in priority watersheds, pollution from stormwater run-off, and degraded shorelines caused by development. Funding priorities include on-the-ground wetland, riparian, and in-stream restoration, measurable ecological, educational, and community benefits, and the engagement of a diverse group of community partners. Deadline: January 31, 2017. ( NFWF)
Upcoming Events
Cal Fire Urban and Community Forestry Program 2016/2017 Grants
Tuesday, November 29, 10am-noon 
Participants will learn about CAL FIRE's Urban and Community Forestry California Climate Investments grant offerings for 2016/2017. Types of eligible projects, eligible applicants, the application process, project rating criteria, and grant administration will be discussed. ( Register)
EcoAmerica: Latino Messaging Guide and Webinar
Thursday, December 1, 10-11am PST
Latino communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change - which is why Latino support and action are crucial to ensuring we get the climate solutions we need. At the National Latino Climate Leadership Forum on June 17, Latino leaders from across the country discussed ways to build engagement and craft effective messaging that resonates with Latino audiences. Combining those learnings with demographic research, ecoAmerica is releasing a communications guide, Let's Talk Climate: Messages to Motivate U.S. Latinos, offering key words, phrases, and narratives for successfully engaging Latinos on climate. View the National Latino Climate Leadership Forum Recommendations Report or attend the webinar for a detailed overview of the guide and to receive early access. ( Register)
Webinar - All adaptation is local: will changes in DC affect the adaptation movement?
December 13, 2016, 10am PST
Over the past decade adaptation has been burgeoning in the United States. While the federal agencies have been part of this for the past several years, they have not always been the primary leaders. What are non-federal entities aiming to do in light of the changes expected in DC? Will their course change or be unaltered? (Register)
Early-Bird Registration is Open: New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
February 2-4, 2017,  St. Louis, MO
The 16th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will focus on practical tools and innovative strategies for creating great communities, and will include more than 80 plenaries, breakouts, focused trainings, experiential learning opportunities, and implementation workshops. Climate change-related topics include resilient cities, renewable energy, adaptation, green infrastructure, and more. Early-bird rates are available through November 30th. Use the CRC discount code (NP17CRC) when registering and receive a 5% discount on your conference registration! (Link)
About the Capital Region Climate  Readiness  Collaborative
The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is a membership based collaborative network designed to promote greater climate change resilience planning coordination in the six-county Sacramento Region. The purpose of this collaborative network is to create a forum where leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor can come together to exchange information, identify vulnerabilities and data gaps, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions in an effort to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Capital Region.

The CRC is a program of the Local Government Commission.