Capital Region 
Climate Readiness Collaborative 

Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
May 14, 2014
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.


After careful deliberation, we have decided to adopt a new name that is more reflective of our regional identity. Resilient Sacramento is now the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative (the Climate Readiness Collaborative or CRC). A name change is not to be taken lightly for any organization, but we felt that it was especially important to have a name that embraced the complete region - El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba County. We also wanted to emphasize our goal: to build a climate-ready Sacramento region through collaboration.  

News and Research

The real big news of the past week is the release of the third U.S. National Climate Assessment. This report is the definitive account of how climate change is affecting the U.S., by region and by sector, both now and in the future. The overwhelming conclusion is that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but is firmly in the present, with clear impacts in our daily lives and in every corner of the country. For the first time, the report findings are presented in an interactive, user-friendly website, highlighting the importance of clear communications. 


This week, in lieu of the usual news stories, we have summarized some of the key findings relevant to our region, but we hope you'll visit and share the website ( to help emphasize the urgency of climate action. 

Third U.S. National Climate Assessment

Since the last national climate assessment was published in 2008, many changes that had been predicted for the future are already happening now. Just 2�F of average surface warming has already led to changes throughout the U.S., from severe heat waves to higher rates of asthma and longer allergy seasons. However, the report also emphasized that climate change is gradual, and will not occur at the same pace throughout all parts of the country - nor will cold winters suddenly disappear.


This region includes California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

Photo: Momatiuk-Eastcott/Corbis
  • Decreased snowpacks and streamflows will erode surface water supply reliability for cities, agriculture, and ecosystems.
  • Specialty crops: The Southwest produces more than half of the U.S.'s vegetables and fruit, which are dependent on irrigation and particularly vulnerable to extremes of moisture, cold, and heat. Longer frost-free seasons, shorter winter chill periods, more frequent heat waves, and less frequent cold air outbreaks will all affect crop budding, ripening, and maturity; reduce yields; stress livestock; and increase water demand. These changes may require a shift in crop-producing areas, displacing jobs in rural communities.
  • Increased wildfire: Increased warming, drought, and insect outbreaks - all caused by or linked to climate change - will increase wildfire and its associated impacts to people and ecosystems. Models predict elevated risks for communities across extensive areas, including a 74% increase in burned area in California.
  • Flooding and sea level rise: Erosion and flooding are already occurring at existing sea levels in parts of California, damaging coastal areas during storms and high tides.
  • Health: Regional temperature increases, combined with current urban heat island effects, will pose increased threats and costs to public health. Cities are home to 90% of the population in the southwest region. Disruption to urban electricity and water will exacerbate health problems, especially for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.
  • Tourism and recreation: Reduced snowpack and streamflows, as well as increased wildfires, will negatively affect the ski industry, lake recreation, and other tourism, with particular economic costs for communities reliant on these industries.
Agriculture in the U.S.
  • Livestock and agricultural production will decline in most regions due to increased pressure from weeds, diseases, insects, and pests.
  • Weeds and crop insects will thrive. Weeds are more resilient to changes in temperature and precipitation than crops, while insects grow and reproduce faster in warmer temperatures, and will expand their range. An increase in herbicides and pesticide use will raise costs for farmers, contaminate soil and water, and increase chemical resistance, requiring higher and more toxic dosages.   
  • The Southwest region (including California) faces the U.S.'s biggest increase in frost-free season length - 2 to 3 weeks. Warmer winters can enable new agricultural pests to become established, and others to persist year-round.
  • A longer growing season in an already hot and moisture-stressed region can further increase water demand by crops and other plants, reduce productivity, increase water shortage, and lengthen the fire season. 
Water in the U.S.
  • Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
    Soils will dry more rapidly
    with warmer temperatures, which will increase rates of evaporation and loss of water from plants. Drying soils will, in turn, lead to greater heating of the surrounding air, exacerbating heat waves.
  • Greater extremes of precipitation - such as during the Colorado floods of 2013, when a year's worth of rain fell in a week - will in
    tensify flooding 
    in many U.S. regions, even in areas where total precipitation is projected to decline.
  • Groundwater is the only source of fresh water in many regions, including parts of California, and aquifers are vulnerable to climate impacts and change in water demand. Changes in precipitation and the availability of surface water will affect groundwater recharge rates.
  • Water quality: increasing temperatures, more intense precipitation and run-off, and intensifying droughts can decrease water quality in lakes and rivers, through increasing sediment, nitrogen, and other pollutant loads.
Rural Communities Across the U.S.
  • Rural communities are highly dependent on natural resources - which are inherently vulnerable to climate change - for their livelihoods and social structures. Climate impacts will progressively increase volatility in food commodity markets, shift locations where economic activities (recreation, agriculture, etc.) can thrive, change the ranges of plant and animal species, and increase water scarcity, exacerbate flooding, and increase the intensity and frequency of wildfires.
    Photo: �STR/Reuters/Corbis; �Nati Harnik/AP/Corbis
  • Rural communities face particular geographic and demographic obstacles in responding to and preparing for climate risks. These include physical isolation, limited economic diversity, and higher poverty rates, in combination with an aging population.
  • Adaptation challenges: Rural transportation, infrastructure, health, and emergency response systems will require significant adaptation to prepare for climate impacts, but governments in rural communities have limited institutional capacity and financial resources. Rural communities also have limited planning staff and are not equipped to deal with major infrastructure expenditures. 
Funding Opportunities
Federal government announces $15 million for community solar

The Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity aims to help local, regional, and state entities develop multi-year solar deployment plans. Sample ideas include incorporating solar power into emergency response plans and shared solar programs. First deadline 5/28/2014. Read more or view application information

Georgetown launches $5 million dollar energy efficiency competition for local governments

The Georgetown University Energy Prize is challenging small- to medium-size communities across the country to implement creative strategies to increase efficiency. The competition is aimed at municipalities with populations between 5,000 and 250,000, and the application period is open from April to June 2014. (More information)

CA Active Transportation Program Now Open to Funding Applications 

The Active Transportation Program is now open to applications of funding for projects that increase biking, walking, safe routes to school, and other active transportation planning in California. Applications are due May 21, 2014. (Program guidelines and application)

Upcoming Events
Registration for California Adaptation Forum Opening This Week
Registration for the first California Adaptation Forum, to be held August 19-20, 2014 in Sacramento, will open this week! This exciting forum includes over 40 plenaries and breakout sessions and will attract and engage a diverse mix of over 600 policymakers, practitioners and leaders. Visit the forum website for more information on the program, tours, special events, featured speakers, travel and hotel information, and to register.
Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources

May 19, 2014, The California Museum, 1020 O Street, Sacramento

This one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists, and policy makers from the UC, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California agriculture and natural resources. Program and registration.

California Urban Forestry Conference

June 25-27, San Diego

Presentations will discuss urban forestry and its impact on carbon emissions, water, health, and cap and trade; strategies and case studies; and other critical issues. A limited number of scholarships are available for government and non-profit attendees, as well as students. (Link)

Provide comments on the Environmental Goals and Policy Report
The Office of Planning and Research is interested in hearing the perspective of local and regional agencies and organizations on the Governor's Environmental Goals and Policy Report, which provides an overarching vision and goals for California in the context of population growth and climate change. The draft document and instructions for comments are here.
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 Sacramento Region.  


The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative's current members include: UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy; Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District; Sacramento Area Council of Governments; Greenwise Joint Ventures; Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; and the Local Government Commission. If you are interested in learning more about the Climate Readiness Collaborative, joining the Collaborative, or being added to the list serv, please contact Jenny Woods.

Copyright � 2014. All Rights Reserved.
This newsletter is intended for general educational and informational purposes only. 
It does not necessarily reflect the views of individual CRC members.