Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
October 4, 2017
A biweekly newsletter of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative
Who would have believed it, a year ago, that 3.5 million Americans would be without electricity for the foreseeable future, and over a million would lack access to clean drinking water and communications? Yet that is exactly what's happening in Puerto Rico, currently facing a growing humanitarian crisis two weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall there with winds at 155 mph. The storm destroyed the island's electric grid as well as 80 percent of its crop value and clean water access for 60 percent of the island. As of this week, power has been restored to only 6.89% of Puerto Rico, and 55 percent still do not have potable water (the Puerto Rico government is tracking progress here). Aid distribution has been severely hampered by collapsed supply chains and infrastructure, as damaged roads and a shortage of gasoline and trucking services leave thousands of shipping containers of water, food, and medicine languishing in ports. The crisis is worsening with time, especially in rural parts of the island, as people run out of supplies and hospitals run out of diesel, threatening a medical crisis. If you would like to provide aid to Puerto Rico, here is a list of ways you can help.  
Voices from Puerto Rico on the frontline of climate change
Photo: Joe Raedle / Staff / Getty Images
Millions of people in the Caribbean are getting a glimpse of a future under climate change. One week after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Puerto Rico remains in a state of disarray, and communication is still largely cut off to most of the island. Food and clean drinking water have been slow to arrive. It has all the makings of what could easily turn out to be a disaster nearly without parallel in modern American history. Here a few people have managed to share via phone, email, and social media about what life is like on the island right now. ( Grist)
Life or death as Puerto Rico's older residents go without essentials
Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters
For Puerto Rico's elderly, more than a week without drinkable water, electricity or communication has become a matter of life or death. Without electricity, many older people are stranded on their apartment floors because the elevators don't work and they can't walk up and down stairs. Fresh supplies of medicine, food and water are unreachable without caretakers or administrators who have left to deal with their own problems or have been prevented from reaching the buildings by the debris that still blocks many roads. ( Guardian)
Don't let disaster recovery perpetuate injustice 
Many rebuilding efforts from Louisiana to New Zealand have worsened existing social inequality and environmental damage. Managers of recovery efforts should be explicitly charged with identifying community and minority groups and seeking their input. Assessments of the social and environmental impact of recovery must be more dynamic, and conducted by panels charged to take complex existing disparities into account, to collect facts and to report grievances.  If we do not reconceive the ethics and politics of disaster-recovery efforts, we will not be able to design more effective, fair procedures and projects. How national and international policymakers act next will be crucial to building fair and sustainable communities for the people most affected by disasters. ( Nature)
Sixth mass extinction of wildlife also threatens global food supplies
Photo: J.van de Gevel/Bioversity International
Three-quarters of the world's food today comes from just 12 crops and five animal species, leaving food supplies very vulnerable to climate change as well as disease and pests that can sweep through monocultures. Yet there are tens of thousands of wild or rarely cultivated species that could provide a richly varied range of nutritious foods, resistant to disease and tolerant of climate change. However, a new report reveals that the same pressures of habitat destruction and pollution that endanger wildlife also threaten the agrobiodiversity that could help boost our food supply, with at least 1,000 cultivated species already endangered. The new report sets out how governments and companies can protect, enhance, and use the huge variety of little-known food crops. Mainstream crops can also benefit from diversity: in 2017 in Ethiopia researchers found two varieties of durum wheat that produce excellent yields even in dry areas. ( Guardian)
Latin America could lose up to 90 percent of its coffee-growing land by 2050
Photo: Dethan Punalur/ Getty Images
Climate change coupled with a decrease in global bee population could reduce coffee production insome Latin American regions by up to 88 percent by 2050 - a figure 46-76 percentage points higher than previous global assessments. This is the first study to look at the combined effects of pollinator population decline and climate change. The lowlands of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Venezuela could be particularly devastated. To protect coffee hotspots, forest conservation, shade adjustment and crop rotation are essential, as well as an increased attention to the coupled effects of global warming and pollination. (Link)
Climate change could wipe out a third of all parasite species
Photo: Paul Fetters for the Smithsonian Institution/Courtesy of Science Advances
Climate change could wipe out a third of all parasite species on Earth, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date. Tapeworms, roundworms, ticks, lice and fleas are feared for the diseases they cause or carry, but scientists warn that they also play a vital role in ecosystems. Major extinctions among parasites, which provide up to 80% of food web links in ecosystems could be highly destabilizing and lead to unpredictable invasions of surviving parasites into new areas, affecting wildlife and humans and making a "significant contribution" to the sixth mass extinction already under way on Earth. ( Guardian)
Not just the bees: why insects are declining and why it matters
Illustration: Luisa Rivera for Yale360
Scientists have found global insect and invertebrate populations have dropped steeply, by as much as 45 percent in the last four decades. Unfortunately, declines in the insect world have been largely ignored, with insects perceived as nuisances or pests. But while some are undoubtedly pests, scientists emphasize the ecological importance of diverse and abundant insect populations. A significant drop in insect populations could have far-reaching consequences for the natural world and for humans, who depend on bees and other invertebrates to pollinate crops. Insects also prey upon other pests, while providing food sources for birds and amphibians. Scientists estimate that there are 4 million insect species worldwide still unrecorded, and worry that current monitoring and protection efforts are far from sufficient. ( Yale 360)
How rising CO2 levels may contribute to die-off of bees
Scientists investigating the decline of bee populations have found that soaring levels of carbon dioxide alter plant physiology and significantly reduce protein in important sources of pollen. The greatest drop in protein occurred from 1960 to 2014, when atmospheric carbon dioxide rose rapidly. More than 100 previous studies have shown that carbon dioxide reduces the nutritional value of plants for humans, and this study suggests a similar story for pollen and bees, undermining bee nutrition and reproductive success. From 2006 to 2011, honeybee colonies declined 33% each year, influenced by factors such as neonicotinoid pesticide use. ( Yale 360)
Biodiversity loss globally threatens ecosystem resilience and human systems
Photo: Red Rose Exile via Flickr
Humans have reduced biodiversity to below safe levels across more than 58% of the planet's land surface. Scientists say this level of biodiversity loss is substantial enough to question the ability of ecosystems to support human societies. This is bad news for human food security because biological diversity underwrites the resilient ecosystem services on which humans and all higher animals depend - crop pollination and pest control, nutrient decomposition and recycling, water and air purification. "Decision-makers worry a lot about economic recessions, but an ecological recession could have even worse consequences," said one of the authors. Over the decades, in both laboratory experiments and in real-world observations, naturalists have confirmed that as biodiversity in a forest or a field or grassland is reduced, so is the ecosystem's resilience. ( Article, Full Study)
Climate optimism has been a disaster - can the language of emergency work instead?
Photo: David J Phillip/AP
The message of optimism around climate change has created a giant canyon between the reality ofclimate change and most people's perception of it. An optimistic message has led to complacency - "people are saying it's doable so it will probably be fine" - and championing success stories has convinced people that the threadbare action taken by governments so far is sufficient. A new campaign could centre on the demand for governments to meet the 1.5C target, emphasising how dire the consequences will be if we don't. People don't need to imagine what climate change looks like any more: they can see it in the sea water that has enveloped the islands of the Caribbean, the drowning houses in Houston, the communiques from those who couldn't escape, and prepared themselves to lose everything. ( Guardian)
Highlighting Local Solutions
What would a flood-proof city look like?
As the recent floods from Bangladesh to Texas show, it's not just the unprecedented magnitude of storms that can cause disaster: it's urbanisation. With climate change both a reality and threat, many architects and urbanists are pushing creative initiatives for cities that treat stormwater as a resource, rather than a hazard. The articles highlight innovative ways in which cities are planning around the flow of water, channeling it beneficially, rather than shutting it out. For example, Chicago, which is projected to have 40% more winter precipitation by 2100. has poured significant investment into reimagining stormwater management over the last decade, including building more than 100 "Green Alleys" built since 2006. Lessons from Chicago are being applied in China, where the government has commissioned the construction of 16 "Sponge Cities" to pilot solutions for the freshwater scarcity and flooding. ( Guardian)
Tools and Resources
Nine ways mayors can build resilient and just cities
A new report from the Center for American Progress and the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy shows how US mayors can fight climate change by redesigning cities in ways that reduce the risk of floods, pollution, and the damage caused by extreme weather and sea level rise. At the same time, mayors must address legacy social, racial, economic, and environmental inequality that result in low-income communities and communities of color bearing the brunt of environmental costs. The report includes examples from dozens of cities that have already taken action and recommends nine actions that mayors and city leaders can take to rebuild resilient and just cities: ( Link)
Guide to Equitable, Community-Driven Climate Preparedness Planning
This guide provides guidance to local governments in designing and implementing a more inclusive, equitable planning process and takes an equity-centered approach to adaptation planning, providing a framework for understanding and addressing the contributing causes of disproportionate climate risks, providing community-driven planning strategies, and presenting step-by-step actions and adaptation solutions. ( Link)
Upcoming Opportunities
CalTrans SB1 Adaptation Planning Grant Program
As part of SB1, CalTrans will be making available $7 million in grants to local and regional agencies for climate change adaptation planning during the 2017-2018 grant cycle. The overarching goal is to support planning actions at local and regional levels that advance climate change adaptation efforts on the transportation system, especially efforts that serve the communities most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Deadline: October 20, 2017. ( Link)
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)
National Science Foundation Environmental Sustainability Program
This program aims to promote sustainable engineered systems that support human well-being and are also compatible with sustaining natural systems that provide ecological services vital for human survival. All proposed research should be driven by engineering principles, and be presented explicitly in an environmental sustainability context. Proposal window: October 1 - October 20, 2017. ( NSF)
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)
American Climate Metrics Survey
We invite you to participate in the  American Climate Metrics Survey to increase our understanding of your attitudes and awareness on climate change and what we can do as community leaders. As a valued member of CRC, we want to make sure that we count your voice in this research, which is conducted by ecoAmerica. Your individual answers are confidential and will be aggregated for analysis. 
Upcoming Events
Webinar: Teach, Learn, Grow: The Value of Green Infrastructure in Schoolyards
Wednesday, October 11, 10-11.30am PDT
Schools across the US are among the most fertile grounds for green infrastructure implementation. Demonstration projects in schoolyards are living laboratories that can provide water quality benefits, create wildlife habitat, and acquaint future generations with the importance of responsible stormwater management. This webcast will discuss the multiple benefits of integrating green infrastructure practices into schoolyards, and provide attendees with on-the-ground case studies and tools that can be used to create or enhance green schoolyard initiatives in their own communities. ( EPA)
SMUD Living Future Project Accelerator
October 12, 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
Climate Change Compact of Yolo County: Extreme Weather Attribution
Friday, October 13, 9-11am
600 A Street, Supervisor's Conference Room, Davis
Scientists have for years predicted that climate change will increase extreme weather events. The challenge has been to determine if climate change is one of the causes, and if so, the magnitude of its contribution. Two UC Davis climate experts, Paul Ullrich and Richard Grotjahn, will present on the science of extreme weather attribution. Also, John Hammond, of Indigo Architecture, will discuss energy efficiency and Indigo's role in integrating building design, energy efficiency, and art. (John Mott-Smith:
ARCCA Learning Session: Voluntary Resilience Standards
Tuesday, October 17, 10-11am
Resilient facilities and infrastructure are a crucial component of community preparedness to natural and human-made hazards and climate risks. On behalf of The Kresge, Energy, and Barr Foundations, Meister Consultants Group prepared a report, "Voluntary Resilience Standards: An Assessment of the Emerging Market for Resilience in the Built Environment." This webinar will provide an overview of the report's key findings from its market characterization of voluntary standards to increase resilience in the built environment. The webinar and report can assist facilities and planners in understanding existing resources, inform state and local leaders as they draft policies to encourage the adoption of standards and resilient building techniques, and help develop the strategies of funders and program managers. ( Link)
Climate Action Team Public Health Workgroup Quarterly Meeting
Tuesday, October 17, 1-3pm
Webcast and Sierra Hearing Room, CalEPA, 1001 I St., Sacramento
The quarterly meeting will focus on tree health, human health, and climate change.
UC Center Sacramento: Paths to Carbon Neutrality and Food Insecurity
Wednesdays 12-1pm, 1130 K Street, Room LL3, Sacramento
As part of UC Center Sacramento's weekly public lectures, on October 11 Professor Juliann Allison from UC Riverside will discuss the progress of recent carbon neutrality efforts and potential obstacles to future carbon neutrality in California. On October 18, Sasha Abramsky will discuss food security, its causes, and policy solutions. ( Link)
SEEC Webinar: Clean Transportation Vehicle Technologies
Tuesday, October 24, 10-11am
Join SEEC for an informational webinar on clean transportation to hear from experts about emerging trends in new vehicle technologies. Speakers will provide an overview of transportation electrification, natural gas vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells, and the role of municipalities to reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector. ( Link)
Let's Talk Climate: Applied Research and Practical Guidance for Local Climate Engagement
Two part: Tuesday, October 31, 1-2pm, and Tuesday, November 21, 10-11am
In this two-part webinar series, participants will be equipped to communicate effectively on climate change, empowering them to create and deliver compelling messages that engage and motivate a diversity of Americans in the issue. The first session will explore how social movements in America grow and succeed, and how American values shape people's perceptions and attitudes of the climate issue and debate. The second session will provide communications and engagement guidance, including best practices and the latest research and tested messages from ecoAmerica's "Let's Talk Climate" and "15 Steps" guides. ( Register)
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)
Save the date: 2018 New Partners for Smart Growth
February 1-3, 2018, San Francisco, CA
Mark your calendars for the 17th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in San Francisco, California. Get involved early in the nation's largest smart growth and sustainability event by becoming a sponsor or a promotional partner. Don't forget to check out presentations and materials from this year's fantastic conference in St. Louis too. ( NPSG)
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.