Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
October 29, 2014
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.
 

 

 

Increasingly, research shows that it's in the interest of a strong economy that we begin to prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change. But surveys show that U.S. insurance companies and many states are still slow to address climate impacts, even as models and predictions become more precise. Fortunately, there are positive examples, too, with New York state adopting legislation to require state agencies to account for climate impacts in decisions on permit approval and funding, and examples of green infrastructure being deployed for both sustainability and resilience. 

 

Don't miss this week's many events and opportunities on water efficiency, technical assistance from the EPA, and more!  

News and Research
Most U.S. insurance companies failing to address climate change

Environmental investor advocacy group Ceres conducted a survey of 330 insurers representing 87 percent of the U.S. insurance market on how they respond to climate change based on their governance structures, climate risk management programs, computer modeling, stakeholder engagement, and measuring and reducing GHG emissions. Only 10 percent of companies had issued public risk management statements. Property and casualty insurers - at the frontline of climate risks - have the highest ratings, but are not addressing risks comprehensively. Instead, they are shifting responsibility and risks to local communities and institutions by limiting coverage or withdrawing from disaster-prone areas. (Reuters)

New report outlines how resiliency can grow the economy

According to "The New Climate Economy," adapting to climate change can help generate economic growth. This perspective can help catalyze a new approach to climate engagement, focusing less on the costs of climate change and more on the opportunity that climate change presents to America and the world. (Report)

Climate change linked to increased violence

Photo credit: Shutterstock


According to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which evaluated 55 studies, hot temperatures, heavy rainfall, and drought are all linked to increased rates of both interpersonal and inter-group violence. (link)

Weather service's storm forecasts get more localized

The National Weather Service's new high-resolution computer model will dramatically improve forecasts for storms up to 15 hours in advance. The model should more accurately pinpoint where and when tornadoes, thunderstorms, and blizzards are expected, allowing people to prepare and take cover. (US News)

2014 on track to be the hottest year ever

Global land and sea temperatures were the highest ever recorded for September. Combined land and sea temperatures for the first nine months of 2014 exceeded the 20th century average by 1.2 F (0.68 C), and if this same trend continues for the rest of the year, 2014 will surpass 1998 as the hottest year ever since record-keeping began in 1880. Warming in the oceans is particularly notable, breaking record temperatures 3 times in 2014 alone, with record warmth observed in parts of every major ocean basin. (NOAA)  

Winter unlikely to end California's drought
Complete drought recovery in California this winter is highly unlikely, according to NOAA. Even with a good chance of near- or above-average rainfall expected this winter, drought may persist or intensify in large parts of the state due to its severity. There is a 67 percent likelihood of El Nino developing by the end of December, but it is expected to a weak one, offering little additional moisture. (NOAA)
Case Studies and Examples
Climate-resilient development wins design award
Credit: Scape

A comprehensive climate change adaptation and community development project, Living Breakwaters, has been announced as winner of the 2014 Fuller Challenge, "socially responsible design's highest award." The project will dissipate the force and impact of 100- and 500-year storms through ecological interventions, integrating components ranging from ecologically engineered "Oyster-tecture" to transformational education around coastal resiliency and the restoration of livelihoods traditional to the community of Tottenville in Staten Island. (ArchDaily)

Green, not gray, infrastructure key to managing warming risk

The United States should combat the negative effects of climate change by shoring up its natural defenses like living shorelines and wetlands, rather than reaching for so-called gray infrastructure that contributes to erosion and other problems, a new report by the National Wildlife Federation argues. The report lays out seven recommendations for how the federal government can improve its green infrastructure defenses to better respond to the more frequent storms, sea-level rise and other effects of warming. (Report)

N.Y. law folds climate change into building decisions

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation requiring state agencies to assess the risks of climate change when approving projects like updates of wastewater treatment plants. The Community Risk and Resiliency Act also calls for official projections of sea-level rise and standards for storm surges and flooding that state officials must use when issuing some major permits or approving funding for a range of projects, including large water infrastructure systems, local parks, waterfront revitalization efforts, and coastal rehabilitation work. The measure will also provide model adaptation laws for local officials. (Link)

Alabama struggles with high vulnerability to sea level rise
Photo: Kari Goodnough/Bloomberg

 

Federal studies find that the 300-year-old port of Mobile will be flooded under almost every climate scenario, and could be under as much as 25 ft of water. The port supports 127,000 jobs and serves major companies like Airbus, ThyssenKrupp, and Kimberly-Clark. Alabama is one of 12 states that has done nothing about climate change, according to a 2012 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. But local residents can see for themselves the evidence of worsening flooding and storm surges. (Bloomberg)

Funding Opportunities
Cap and Trade Funding: Urban and Community Forestry

CalFire has released a grant solicitation for projects funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (the proceeds from cap and trade) for urban and community forestry. All projects are required to reduce GHG emissions, but many project types also have important adaptation benefits, such as urban tree planting project and reclaiming and restoring blighted, unused urban lands. Concept proposals will be due November 13, 2014. There will be six public workshops (TBA) on the grant solicitation. (Grant solicitation)

EPA offers technical assistance on resilience and revitalization

Through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program, EPA will select 25 communities, including underserved communities, coastal communities, small cities and rural areas, for technical assistance on bikeshare planning, equitable development, infill development for distressed cities, sustainable strategies for small cities and rural areas, and/or flood resilience for riverine and coastal communities. The program aims to increase resilience to natural disasters and strengthen the economy while protecting human health and the environment. The program provides quick, targeted technical assistance to communities using tools with demonstrated results and widespread application. Applications will be due November 20, 2014. EPA will host a webinar to discuss the application on Thursday, October 30, from noon to 1pm PDT. (EPA)

Upcoming Events

EPA Watershed Academy Webinar on Climate Resilience

October 29, 10am-12pm PDT

This webcast will share findings from the most recent National Climate Assessment report concerning climate change and water resources. It will also discuss a new workbook from EPA that will help communities develop risk-based adaptation plans. The workbook can provide guidance for environmental managers and planners on conducting risk-based climate change vulnerability assessments and developing adaptation action plans. (Workbook, Webinar registration)

Saving Money, Kilowatts and Gallons: Implementing Water - Energy Savings Programs at the Local Level

October 29, 2014, 1-2pm

California's drought may continue into 2015, and there is a growing understanding of the inextricable link between water and energy use, both through supply and demand side uses. This webinar will showcase innovative opportunities to increase water and energy efficiency, including creative new ways to conserve water, using PACE to finance water efficiency projects, and the Department of Water Resources' Water-Energy Grant Program. (Register)
UC Davis Solar Decathlon Kick Off Event

October 30, 2014, 5:30-7:30pm

AECOM Building, 2020 L Street Suite 300, Sacramento, CA

Preview the Aggie Sol Solar Decathlon Team net-zero house and learn more about the goal of designing and building an affordable green house. Meet the students and faculty involved in the project and find out how you can be involved. The event will include an unveiling of the draft design, appetizers, and beverages. Hosted by UC Davis Extension Land Use and Natural Resources with AIA, APA, and ULI. (RSVP, jljohnston@ucdavis.edu). 

Webinar: Assessing Vulnerability of Water Conveyance Infrastructure from a Changing Climate in the Context of a Changing Landscape

November 13, 2014 9:00-10:15am PDT

This webinar will present research on the hydrologic impact of climate change and land-use scenarios on existing water conveyance infrastructure. The built infrastructure in the watersheds were assessed and mapped in order to generate multiple build-out analyses for the watersheds using current land use regulations. Vulnerable infrastructure was identified and a marginal cost analysis was completed for alternative actions of response. Participants will learn how these studies informed community resilience that increased stakeholder capacity at the local level in adapting to change. (Register)   
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference 2015

January 29-31, Baltimore, MD

Registration is now open for the nation's largest smart growth and sustainability event. The theme for the 14th annual NPSG conference is "Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies in Creating Great Communities," underscoring the stronger emphasis on implementation. The program will feature tools, strategies, focused training, and new technologies that will help communities NOW. The conference will explore practical strategies for identifying and over-coming barriers to more sustainable development along the East Coast and the rest of the nation. The program features a session on regional adaptation collaboratives, along with many other topics of interest to adaptation practitioners. (NPSG)

Call for Papers: Michigan Journal of Sustainability

This online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal is seeking submissions for a special edition on preparing for and building resilience to climate change. The journal emphasizes the translation of research into formats that are useful and usable to practitioners and policy makers, and welcome submissions that bridge the science-policy divide. Manuscripts are due November 3, 2014 online. For more information see the guidelines

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: 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.