Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
October 19, 2016
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is proud to announce the launch of our new website! New features include a searchable tools and resources library to help you find that perfect local climate adaptation data mapping tool or flood resiliency guide. We hope that you'll find the new site easy to navigate - please take a look around and let us know if you have any feedback.

If you missed our latest quarterly meeting on the urban heat island effect, presentations are now available online. Among many robust discussions, Haider Taha shared the latest science on the urban heat island effect, while Jonathan Parfrey from Climate Resolve presented on Los Angeles's cool roof ordinance. We discussed what we are currently doing in the Sacramento region and potential ideas to help increase our cool roofs and reduce our urban heat island effect.

Please also don't forget to sign up for our tour of the UC Davis Pavement Research Center on October 27, where we will learn about the latest in pavement technology and how they can help cities stay cool, filter stormwater, and other resilience-building strategies. 
Landmark climate deal could deliver largest temperature reduction achieved by a single agreement
A global deal to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), primarily used in air conditioning and refrigeration, is a "monumental step forward" in fighting climate change. HFCs have a global warming effect thousands of times stronger than carbon dioxide, but also have a much shorter atmospheric lifespan, so any reduction will have an immediate benefit. Under the deal, developed countries will begin to phase out HFCs in 2019, with over 100 developing countries, including China, starting in 2024, and India, Pakistan, and some Gulf states in 2028. Worldwide use of HFCs has soared in the past decade as rapidly growing countries like China and India have widely adopted air conditioning in homes, offices and cars. Affordable and market-ready alternatives to HFCs already exist, and the European Union is already actively reducing HFC use, but the U.S. Senate could block U.S. ratification of the landmark deal. ( Guardian)  
Climate change blamed for half of increased forest fire danger
Photo: Shmuel Thaler/The Santa Cruz Sentinel, via Associated Press
In a new study, scientists from the University of Idaho and Columbia University calculated that over half of the increased scope and intensity of Western wildfires can be attributed to human-caused climate change and its effects. The authors found that climate change accounts for 55 percent of the increase in fuel aridity from 1979 to 2015, and that fuel aridity has a direct relationship with forest fire area. Since 1984, cumulative forest fire area has increased by 16,000 square miles, about the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. Scientists stressed the exponential relationship between fuel aridity and wildfire area: Every degree of warming has a much bigger effect on wildfire area than the previous degree did. ( NYTimes)
Looming megadroughts in US Southwest would make current drought look minor 
Photo: Noah Berger/AP
The harsh drought currently gripping California may appear trivial in the future as new research shows that the southwest US faces the looming threat of "megadroughts" that last for decades. Such a megadrought lasting 35 years would impose "unprecedented stress on the limited water resources" of the US southwest, bringing conditions similar to the 1930s dustbowl. The study predicts a 70% chance of a megadrought by the end of the century, should rainfall levels remain the same, with a 90% chance of an elongated drought should rainfall decrease, as most climate models forecast. If GHG emissions are rapidly reduced at levels far steeper than called for by the Paris Climate Accord, then the risk of megadrought could reduce by half. ( Guardian)
Disappearing Yosemite glacier becomes symbol of climate change 
When John Muir explored Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park about 150 years ago, the river of ice stretched as far as 10 football fields between the peaks of the Lyell Canyon, a glacier one might expect to see in Alaska, not California. Today, it has lost 78 percent of its surface and become a vivid example of the effects of climate change and a touchstone for National Park Service officials increasingly concerned about global warming. Yosemite's two glaciers, Lyell and Maclure, could both be gone within decades. ( Sac Bee)
When it rains it pours, and sewage hits the fan
Record rainstorms across the U.S. in the past year have caused billions of dollars of flood damage and killed dozens. But it is little known that these floods also often cause massive overflows of untreated sewage into waterways, streets, businesses, and homes. These overflows can trigger dangerous outbreaks of waterborne diseases, pollute water, and result in expensive remediation and decontamination to make buildings safe for people again. From the 70 sewage overflows over the past 20 months, overflows of more than one billion gallons combined were reported, but local officials say these reported volumes are likely underestimating the true extent of overflows. ( Climate Central)  
Cities fight flooding with green roofs
Photo: Andy Clark/Reuters
As storms intensify with a warming climate, sometimes the best way to prevent flooding is to find a way to stop storm water from reaching the ground in the first place. That's why cities from New York to Portland to Paris are embracing green roofs, whose soil and vegetation absorb rainwater that would otherwise fall to paved streets and surfaces that are impermeable. Research has shown that green roofs can absorb as much as 61% of annual rainfall on a building. While the best solution to water retention is large green spaces - a 30- or 40-acre park, for example - but smaller, on-site controls such as green roofs are absolutely necessary, especially if deployed in systematically. ( Take Part)
Obama administration announces new efforts to increase preparedness and build community capacity to recover from disasters
Federal agencies are announcing new actions to address the vulnerabilities and areas for national improvement identified in the 2016 National Preparedness Report and help build the capacity of state, local, tribal, territorial, private sector, and nonprofit stakeholders to recover from future disasters. New programs announced include a business resiliency initiative, resilience measures for the urban built environment, a toolkit to support the homeless before, during, and after disasters, funding to provide training for emergency managers and economic development professionals to proactively seek and undertake economic recovery and resilience initiatives, and more. ( Factsheet)
Planet at its hottest in 115,000 years, warns experts 
Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images
The 2016 temperature is likely to be 1.25C above pre-industrial times, bringing the Earth in line with temperatures last seen in the Eemian period, 115,000 years ago, when there was much less ice and the sea level was 20-30 ft (6-9 meters) higher than today. In September atmospheric CO2 concentrations also passed the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million, reaching levels last seen in the Pliocene era three million years ago, when seas were 65 ft higher than today and trees grew near the North Pole. ( Guardian)
Tools and Resources
Now available: California Adaptation Forum Presentations 
Presentations are now available for nearly 40 breakout sessions featured at the California Adaptation Forum. Infinite Earth Radio also released a series of companion podcast episodes on climate adaptation. ( CAF)
Collaboration vital for cities to tackle climate change
A new report, It Takes A City: the Case for Collaborative Climate Action, published by AECOM and CDP, has reaffirmed the vital need for cities to collaborate with companies, investors, and regional governments to mitigate the impact of climate change. Cities around the world are increasingly grasping the economic opportunities generated by the need to tackle climate change and are pursuing concrete partnerships with business. Moving from sharing knowledge and ideas, many cities are looking to launch more tangible projects with the private sector, with the most popular areas for collaboration in energy efficiency, building retrofits, renewable energy, and transport. The investment needed in cities for low-carbon infrastructure is estimated at $57 trillion between now and 2030. "Blended" models of finance, in which public sector institutions can reduce investment risk for businesses, can be more likely to attract private financing. Another reason for collaboration is that while the world's cities are responsible for some three-quarters of GHG emissions, the majority of the emissions sources, such as buildings or private transport, lie outside of the direct control of city authorities. ( Reuters)
EPA: Adaptation Resource Center  
EPA's Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) is a self-guided, interactive web portal to help local governments effectively deliver services to their communities even as the climate changes. Decision makers can create an integrated package of information tailored specifically to their needs. Once users select areas of interest, they will find information about the risks posed by climate change; relevant adaptation strategies; case studies illustrating how other communities have successfully adapted to those risks and tools to replicate their successes; and EPA funding opportunities. ( EPA)
Vision released for California Healthy Soils Initiative
California's Healthy Soils Initiative is a collaboration of state agencies and departments, led by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, to promote the development of healthy soils on farm and ranchlands, which can help to reduce GHG emissions while building resilience. This document outlines the Initiative's guiding principles and specific actions. With the signing of AB 1614, $7.5 million of cap-and-trade investments have been directed to this program. ( CDFA)
Upcoming Opportunities
2017-2018 Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants
These grants provide transportation planning funds to promote a balanced, comprehensive multimodal transportation system that promotes sustainability. They may be used for a wide range of transportation planning purposes to address local and regional transportation needs and issues. Sample proposals include context-sensitive streetscapes or town center plans, complete street plans, bike and pedestrian safety enhancement plans, and studies that advance a community's effort to reduce transportation related greenhouse gases, assist transportation agencies in creating sustainable communities, or advance a community's effort to address the impacts of climate change. Deadline November 4, 5pm. ( Link)
EPA Offers Assistance to Rural Communities to Revitalize Downtowns
EPA invites rural communities to apply for planning assistance to develop strategies that help grow the economy and revitalize downtown neighborhoods. There are three technical assistance programs for communities. The Local Foods, Local Places program leverages local food enterprise to diversify local economies. Cool & Connected uses broadband service to create walkable, connected economically successful neighborhoods. The Healthy Places for Healthy People program promotes active living through centrally located health care facilities to catalyze downtown revitalization. Selected communities will work with an EPA-supported team of experts to develop strategies and action plans that enable them to realize their local revitalization goals. Deadline November 6. ( EPA)
Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area
This USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Challenge Area focuses on the priority to mitigate and adapt to climate variability and change. It supports activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration in agricultural and forest production systems, and prepare the nation's agriculture and forests to adapt to variable climates. Deadline November 17, 2016. ( USDA)
Upcoming Events
CRCRC UC Davis Pavement Center Tour
Thursday, October 27, 9.30-11.30am
3327 Apiary Drive, Davis
The CRCRC is organizing a visit of the UC Davis Pavement Research Center to learn about their exciting research on cool pavements. The tour will cover an overview of their research, lifecycle analysis, and studies around permeable pavements and other related research. We will also tour their pavement garden, where they are collecting data on cool pavements. ( Register)
Workshop: Overcoming Financial and Organizational Barriers to Local Adaptation
Friday, October 21, 1-5pm
915 I Street, Sacramento
Join us for an interactive, discussion-based workshop to better understand the financial and organizational barriers that local governments in California face in implementing adaptation strategies. This workshop will provide opportunities to learn about financing needs in California, practical opportunities for funding adaptation, what institutional and organizational barriers hinder work on adaptation, and how to move your organization to higher levels of capacity. We encourage you to attend this workshop if you work in, with, or for local governments on adaptation research, planning, financing, funding and/or implementation. ( Register)
4th annual Farm to Every Fork
Friday, October 21, and Friday, November 4, both at 5.30pm
Grace Presbyterian Church, 4300 Las Cruces Way, Sacramento
The 4th annual Farm to Every Fork event hosted by Grace Presbyterian Church focuses on food justice and access, with this year's events addressing child nutrition. On October 21, there will be a screening of What's on Your Plate?, a witty and provocative documentary that follows two eleven-year-old city kids as they explore the origin of the food they eat, how it's cultivated, and how many miles it travels from farm to fork. On November 4, Monique Stovall, the director of nutrition at the San Juan Unified School District, will speak on meeting the challenges of providing nutritious, appealing meals amidst regulations and tight budgets. ( Link)
Creating Net Zero Living Buildings and Communities
Wednesday, October 26, 10am-3.30pm
SMUD Customer Service Center, Rubicon Room, 6301 S Street, Sacramento 
What does the future of design look like? How do designers push the envelope towards truly regenerative, net positive, and beautiful design? Join Brad Liljequist, Director of Net Zero Energy at the International Living Future Institute, to talk about how the Institute's Net Zero Energy Building Certification and The Living Building and The Living Community Challenges are changing the face of design on a national and local level.  Lunch will be provided. Space limited. ( 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. (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.