Capital Region
Climate Readiness Collaborative 
 
Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
July 23, 2014
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.
 

 

This week's newsletter is all about policy - state and federal. Two major state documents on climate change have been released recently, and we are pleased to say that the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative (CRC) has helped to contribute to both. In August 2013, our executive committee testified to the Little Hoover Commission on how the state of California could more effectively support climate adaptation action at the local and regional levels. And with our partners at UC Davis, we also proposed research needs specific to the Sacramento region for the state's draft Climate Change Research Plan. We hope that you'll take the time to read these major state guiding documents and share your thoughts with us. We are also pleased to say that the CRC, as part of the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, provided input to the President's Task Force, which recently released their preliminary recommendations.

News and Research
Little Hoover Commission: Governing California through Climate Change
Photo: http://www.lhc.ca.gov

The Commission's report, based on expert testimony and research, focuses on current adaptation efforts in California, institutional barriers to adaptation, and recommendations for the state on how to more effectively address climate adaptation (report here). After concluding that existing state efforts are scattered and should take greater account of local and regional perspectives, the report made some key recommendations:  

  • Designate a new or enhanced existing state entity to serve as an authoritative source on climate science, standards, and risk assessment methodologies. The entity would not make policy but exist to provide best available information, especially localized climate impacts, in a useful form to guide local and regional decision makers.
  • Governments at all levels should incorporate climate risk into their everyday planning and governing processes, and in all their infrastructure, program, and planning grants.
  • The Strategic Growth Council should expand its mission to include climate adaptation, incorporating climate risks in its grant-making and review of statewide infrastructure plans and its guidelines for sustainable communities.
  • Minimize wildfire and property damage by enforcing defensible space requirements in state law since 2005.
  • Work with key state agencies to clarify California's Common Law Public Trust Doctrine in light of sea level rise, to create a legal framework and prevent litigation. 

California releases draft climate change research priorities

The Research Plan outlines the state's priorities and strategy for developing targeted, policy-relevant California-specific climate change research. It focuses on research gaps that should be tackled in the next three to five years. Some key focus areas include downscaled climate projections and risk assessments, preparing for climate risks, the socio-economic effects of climate impacts and policy responses, and the synergies of mitigation and adaptation. Read the draft here and provide comments by September 5.  

EPA issues new climate adaptation directive

Emphasizing the importance of building the capacity of its state, regional, and local partners, the policy directive asks EPA to, among other actions: 1) encourage climate-resilient investments by integrating climate adaptation considerations into discretionary and non-discretionary financial mechanisms; 2) provide information, tools, training, and support; 3) implement priority actions in the EPA's climate change adaptation plan and implementation plan; and 4) focus on the most vulnerable people and places. (EPA)

Obama announces new climate adaptation initiatives
Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

The preliminary recommendations from the president's task force on climate preparedness include protecting the electricity supply and improving local planning for flooding and storm surges. USDA will provide funding to assist rural areas with drought and electric infrastructure, and the USGS will work on three-dimensional mapping data, which can help locals with water resource planning, coastal erosion, and identifying landslide zones. FEMA will also release new guidance for hazard mitigation plans. (The Hill, NYTimes)

Drought's slow devastation as severe as hurricanes
Peter Essick, National Geographic

National Geographic examines one of California's worst droughts on record: Though it may not be as dramatic as a hurricane, droughts are as costly and may have longer term impacts. Decreased harvests, lost farm jobs, and more all factor into UC Davis's estimate that this year's drought will lead to a $2.2 billion economic loss. The focus now is on the probability of a fourth year of drought, which may spell the end of the cotton crop in the San Joaquin Valley. (National Geographic)

 

How the health care system needs to prepare for climate change

Doctors and health experts discuss with NPR the changes that the health care system needsto make to prepare for climate change. For example, it takes nearly 25 years to open a new hospital, so health professionals need to start thinking now about how population shifts might require fewer hospitals in Miami and more in (for example) North Dakota. (PBS)

Hawaii authorizes statewide committee to address climate
Photo: cakex.org

The state has passed legislation to establish an interagency climate adaptation committee to develop a sea-level rise vulnerability and adaptation report focusing on statewide impacts to 2050. The bill also authorizes the state planning office to coordinate the development of adaptation plans and policy recommendations, and to use the committee's report as a framework to address other climate threats and adaptation priorities. (link)

Resources and Tools
EPA: New Flood Resiliency Tool for Local Communities

After Vermont suffered severe floods in 2011, state agencies and local communities worked with EPA and FEMA to identify smart growth strategies that can help communities prepare for and recover from floods. The results include a report and a tool, the Flood Resilience Checklist, to help all communities with flood preparation, disaster response and recovery. It offers communities a framework for thinking through flood issues as well as a menu of strategies. There will also be a webinar on August 13 on lessons learned from the Vermont project. (EPA)

CivicSpark: A New Program to Support Local Climate Action Efforts in the Sacramento Region
This new program will help local governments address climate change in their community and build capacity through teams of dedicated AmeriCorps members and volunteers. In its first year, CivicSpark will staff 48 AmeriCorps members in 9 regional hubs across California, including a team of 6 AmeriCorps members and a supervisor in the Sacramento Region. The program is a joint effort of the Local Government Commission and the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Local governments from the Sacramento region interested in participating should visit the website; local government applications are encouraged to be completed by August 1(CivicSpark)
Funding Opportunities
DoE launches $4 billion renewable energy and energy efficiency loan guarantee program

The program does not directly fund projects but rather reduces the risk for banks by guaranteeing loans should the companies fail. The program is intended to support technologies that are catalytic, market-ready, and replicable. The five key technologies of interest are advanced grid integration and storage, drop-in biofuels, waste-to-energy, micro hydro, and efficiency improvements. (DoE)

Upcoming Events
Webinar: Innovation and Effective Stakeholder Engagement on Water and Energy Issues

July 24, 2014, 11am-12pm

Speakers from American Water and the East Bay Municipal Utility District will discuss how they leveraged stakeholder involvement to address water-energy challenges and implement innovations, including using renewable energy technologies and engaging community partners to establish greater integration across their resource management activities. (C2ES)

Public Workshop: Proposed Scope of Work for the 4th California Climate Assessment

August 8, 2014, 10am-12pm

Hearing Room A, California Energy Commission, 1516 9th St., Sacramento 

The State of California will be hosting this public workshop to seek input on a proposed scope of work for the 4th California Climate Assessment, which will develop regionally relevant research to support California's climate change actions on both mitigation and preparedness. For more information, webcast links, and commit submittal, visit this 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 Sacramento Region.  If you are interested in learning more about the Climate Readiness Collaborative, joining the Collaborative, or being added to the list serv, visit: http://www.climatereadiness.info/ 

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.