Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
November 2, 2017
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
We're on the eve of another United Nations climate change conference, one that will be historic for several reasons. First, this is first time the Conference of the Parties (COP), now in its 23rd year, will be led by one of the Pacific island nations, which are among the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The   Republic of Fiji will serve as conference president, though the actual meeting will be in Bonn, Germany, from November 6 to 17. With less than 1 million people scattered over 300 volcanic islands and atolls, Fiji is already facing the challenges of sea level rise, stronger storms, and displacement. Second, this will be the first conference to take place since the US has announced its intention to leave the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. With   Syria now the only nation to not ratify the Paris Agreement, the US will be an isolated figure in Bonn, and other nations will be wary of any attempts from the official US delegation to dilute global ambition. Third, the role of sub-national regions and cities will be more significant than ever at COP 23. As part of the We Are Still in Alliance, a delegation of US governors, mayors, legislators, business leaders, and citizens will travel to Bonn to demonstrate the US's continued commitment to climate action. This will include Governor Jerry Brown, who serves as the United Nations Special Advisor for States and Regions - and it will be this unofficial delegation that represents the true spirit of the US on climate leadership.
"It can become unlivable." How Jerry Brown is planning for raging fires and extreme heat
California's efforts to adapt to climate change have already begun. Around Sacramento, the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative, led by Kathleen Ave, covers six counties and includes cities and air districts. Members meet quarterly and focus on developing strategies for regional heat pollution, flooding, and emergency response. An immediate focus is on local laws that require more shade, which remain largely unenforced. SMUD is launching a project to encourage more builders to take up the most ambitious green standards in the world. In such structures, all of the energy is generated on site, all the water treated on site and the buildings rely on natural light and are "fossil free." The article also profiles the work of our fellow collaboratives in the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation - forest restoration in the Sierra Nevada, cool roof initiatives in Los Angeles, and coastal resilience to rising sea levels in San Diego and the Bay Area. ( Sac Bee)
Global atmospheric CO2 levels hit record high
Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at record speed last year to hit a level not seen for more than three million years. Despite a slowdown of anthropogenic emissions, atmospheric CO2 levels accelerated due to El Niño, which intensified droughts and weakened the ability of vegetation to absorb carbon dioxide. As the planet warms, El Niños are expected to become more frequent. The increase of 3.3 ppm is considerably higher than both the 2.3 ppm rise of the previous 12 months and the average annual increase over the past decade of 2.08ppm. It is also well above the previous big El Niño year of 1998, when the rise was 2.7 ppm. ( Guardian)
Sudden oak death likely exacerbated deadly Northern California wildfires
A dramatic increase this year in the number of oaks, manzanita and native plants infected by the tree-killing disease known as sudden oak death likely helped spread the massive fires that raged through the North Bay, a UC Berkeley forest ecologist said. Thirty-seven percent of the trees sampled in fire-ravaged eastern Sonoma County - prior to the fires - were infected by sudden oak death, a 10-fold increase compared with two years ago. The virulent pathogen, which thrives in the aftermath of heavy rains, has infected 13 percent of trees along the California coast, according to samplings this year. Statewide, the disease has spread rapidly: infected oak trees doubled compared to a year ago, and tripled since 2015. Dead oak burns well and for a long time, while live oak trees are naturally fire-resistant. ( SF Chronicle)
What needs to be done to stop wildfires in drought-killed forest
Photo: U.S. Forest Service
A century of fire suppression followed by the worst drought in recorded history has put California's forest landscapes and water supply at risk. A new report by the Public Policy Institute of California proposes new approaches as well as changes in state law and public attitudes, including prescribed burning and mechanical thinning. ( Water Deeply)
Four questions about climate change and the California fires
Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
The deadly fires that swept through California's wine country made one of the state's most destructive fire seasons on record even worse. Wildfires are hugely complex events, complicated by human activity, including rampant development and decades of fire suppression strategies that left too much dry timber and underbrush for fires to burn. (Inside Climate News)

A landmark California plan puts floodplains back in business
Photo: Carson Jeffres/ courtesy UC Davis
Something monumental happened on August 25 in California water management that received almost no media attention: It became official policy to reconnect the state's major rivers with their floodplains. The action by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board clears the way for the state to embrace projects that allow floods to recharge groundwater. By allowing rivers to inundate historic floodplains for the first time in a century, the result could be not only reduced flood risk, but reviving severely depleted groundwater aquifers, restoring wildlife habitat and improving the capabilities of existing water storage reservoirs. The plan will guide flood-safety improvements on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers - the largest in the state - and their tributaries for the next 30 years. (Water Deeply)
Extreme Weather, Extreme Costs: How our changing climate wallops Americans' wallets
Photo: AP/David Goldman
Extreme weather disproportionately harms families who struggle to make ends meet, including low- and middle-income households who have the fewest resources to prepare for and respond to disasters. Additionally, extreme weather events can also exacerbate existing racial and socioeconomic inequities around housing, access to services, and economic opportunity. Repeated disasters appear to make counties poorer over time, and a single flood event can push a low-income family below the poverty line. This Center for American Progress issue brief explores how climate change is affecting severe thunderstorms, floods, tropical cyclones, and winter storms and freezes. The brief then examines how extreme storms disproportionately affect low- and moderate-income Americans, finding storms are more likely to affect counties with median household incomes below the nationwide average. Finally, the brief considers non-storm events such as droughts, wildfires, and heat waves. (Link)

By 2050, climate change could add $12 billion to 35 billion to federal budget annually
Photo: Credit Kyle Miller/Wyoming Hot Shots/ via Associated Press
Fires, floods and hurricanes are already costing the federal government tens of billions of dollars a year, and these costs will rise even higher with continued climate change, warns a new report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress's auditing arm. The report urges the Trump administration to take climate change risks seriously and begin formulating a response. Rising temperatures could cause losses in labor productivity of as much as $150 billion by 2099, while changes in some crop yields could cost as much as $53 billion. Over the past decade, extreme weather events have cost the federal government $350 billion, including over $200 billion for aid and recovery, $90 billion for payouts in crop and flood insurance, and $30 billion for repairs to federal facilities. ( NYTimes)
Climate vulnerability could drive credit downgrades
U.S. state and city governments' planning for natural disasters will become more critical to their credit quality as costs to deal with extreme weather events increase, S&P Global Ratings said in a report. While relatively few credit downgrades have been prompted by natural disasters or climate risks, S&P said that number could rise if climate risks increase and are not mitigated. Costs to build more resilient infrastructure will increase, while federal disaster relief could become less certain. On Tuesday S&P revised its outlooks on five Texas municipal utility districts to negative due to impacts of Hurricane Harvey. ( Reuters)
US winter has shrunk by more than one month in 100 years
Photo: lamy Stock Photo
The length of the US winter is shortening, with the first frost of the year arriving more than one month later than it did 100 years ago. The trend of ever-later first freezes appears to have started around 1980, according to data from 700 weather stations across the US going back to 1895. In 2016, the average first freeze was 2 weeks later than the 20th-century average, and the last frost of spring was 9 days earlier than normal; overall, the US freeze season of 2016 was more than a month shorter than the freeze season of 2016, with the biggest difference in the Pacific Northwest, where the freeze season was two months shorter. ( Guardian)
Highlighting Local Solutions
All-wood tower in Paris will fight climate change with 2,000 plants
Photo: Stefano Boeri Architetti
An Italian firm is designing a new tower in Paris called Forêt Blanche, or "White Forest." The 177-ftmixed use tower will be made entirely out of wood and will be covered by 2,000 trees and shrubs. The firm said that the use of greenery was more than a stylistic choice but intended to address climate change and promote biodiversity in urban settings. (Futurism)
Tools and Resources
Natural Resources Defense Council: Extreme Heat Map of the US
This map shows extreme heat predictions for every county in the US, revealing that over two-thirds of Americans live in counties vulnerable to heat threats from unexpectedly high summer temperatures. Collectively, 48 major urban areas could see about 28,000 more heat deaths by the 2090s. For California, 83% of the state population lives in counties that average more than 9 extreme heat days, and average temperatures are expected to exceed historical records by about 9F by 2100 if climate change continues unabated. In California, heat stress causes nearly 4,300 emergency room visits and 600 hospitalizations a year. (Link)
Recommendations to Expand Wood Products Markets in California
The California Natural Resources Agency Wood Products Working Group designed these recommendations to address the urgent need to utilize dead and dying trees in the Sierra and long-term forest management needs in the Sierra and statewide. The Working Group identified three goals that expansion of wood products markets must serve: 1) Utilize material removed from High Hazard Zones, particularly in ways that can substitute or complement bioenergy production; 2) Promote forest health and carbon sequestration, as described in the Draft 2017 Forest Carbon Plan and Draft 2017 Scoping Plan Update, and advance other statewide climate change goals; and 3) Promote rural economic development, including job creation. (CNRA)
Upcoming Opportunities
Transformative Climate Communities Program: Planning Grants
The Strategic Growth Council is now accepting applications for Planning Grants to fund planning activities in disadvantaged communities that may be eligible for future Transformative Climate Communities Implementation Grants. Deadline: November 30, 2017. ( Link)
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program - Planning Subapplications for 2017 Winter Storms
The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) invites Planning Subapplications for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding that is available as the result of Presidential Disaster Declarations (DR-4301, DR-4305 and DR4308) for the severe winter storms, flooding, and mudslides that affected California in 2017. All counties of the SACOG region are eligible. Planning activities that reduce the effects of future natural disasters are eligible for this funding. Eligible subapplicants include state agencies, local governments, special districts, and some private non-profits. Deadline: January 1, 2018. ( Link)
Third round of Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities funding now open
The California Department of Housing and Community Development in partnership with the Strategic Growth Council is pleased to announce the availability of approximately $255 million in funding for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program. Deadline: 11:59 p.m. PST on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. ( Link)
Upcoming Events
SMUD Living Future Project Accelerator
November 2 and November 30, 1-6pm
SMUD invites members of the development community to participate in the SMUD Living Future Project Accelerator, which supports local projects to help them achieve certification under the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Living Building Challenge and Zero Energy Certifications. This framework applies to both new and existing commercial and residential buildings. The goal is to activate more ILFI projects in the region and assist them in moving from concept to certification. The program will kick-off with a series of educational events and tours of leading-edge buildings in the region. In addition, the Project Accelerator will include engagement, technical assistance, and expert coaching; financial assistance with certification fees and documentation; and development of Living Future roadmaps for building types most relevant to the Capital Region. ( Link)
EPA Water Research Webinar: National Stormwater Calculator
Wednesday, November 15, 11am
EPA's   National Stormwater Calculator is a software application that estimates the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site. This webinar will introduce the newest features of the Calculator, which is now available as a mobile app for smartphones and tablets. EPA has also added a cost estimation module that allows planners and managers to evaluate green infrastructure practices based on comparison of regional and national project planning level cost estimates and predicted performance. ( Register)
Report Card 2007-2017: What does it means for 2017-2027
Friday, November 17, 8.30-10.30am
West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue, West Sacramento
How has the Sacramento Region made progress on sustainability, climate change, and smart growth over the last 10 years? This session will retrospectively examine what we've learned in the last ten years, and how these lessons can inform the planning profession in the next year. We've promoted smart growth principles, the Blueprint, sustainable practices and climate action. We've experienced the great recession and a severe drought. We're dealing with signifi­cant changes at the national level and assessing what it means for Sacramento and California. What have we learned and how can we apply lessons learned to the future? (Link
Local Clean Energy Alliance: Clean Power, Healthy Communities 2017
Friday, November 17, 9am-5pm
Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St, Oakland
The Local Clean Energy Alliance's 6th Clean Power, Healthy Communities Conference will explore strategies and programs for advancing a local clean energy transition in the Bay Area and beyond. The conference will take up a range of topics, from national policy frameworks to local community projects. The conference program will feature afternoon breakout sessions on how community-based energy can empower communities, address community needs, and advance community resilience in the face of climate change, with special focus on the Bay Area's newest, groundbreaking Community Choice energy program, East Bay Community Energy. On Thursday, the Local Clean Energy Alliance will hold a fundraiser celebration of its 10th anniversary and book publication. ( Link)
Preparing People for Climate Change in California
January 24-25, 2018  
Join the International Transformational Resilience Coalition for a conference on the urgency, methods, and benefits of applying psychological and psycho-social-spiritual models to build human resilience for climate adversities. From high levels of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), to financial struggles, racism and other forms of inequity, traumatic stress is epidemic today. Climate change will aggravate all of these existing adversities, and add many new ones as well. This conference will show how California can lead the nation in building widespread levels of personal and psycho-social-spiritual resilience for the hardships generated by rising temperatures and produce multiple benefits for individuals, families, communities, and our planet's climate. Early-bird discount rate ends October 15, 2017. ( Link)
Registration now open for New Partners for Smart Growth
February 1-3, 2018, San Francisco, CA
Registration is now open for the 17th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in San Francisco. Eight thematic tracks include "One Water" for Resilient Communities, Adapting to a Changing Climate, and Building Capacity in Small Towns and Rural Communities, while the themes of smart growth and equity are woven throughout the program. ( NPSG)
Save the date for the 3rd California Adaptation Forum
August 28-29, 2018, Sacramento, CA
Join the Local Government Commission and the State of California at the 3rd California Adaptation Forum taking place August 28-29 (with pre-forum workshops on August 27), 2018, in Downtown Sacramento. The Forum gathers a multidisciplinary audience of 600+ climate leaders to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to transition from adaptation awareness to planning and action through a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, workshops, networking activities, and more. ( CAF)
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.