Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
November 12, 2014
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.
 

 

The Fifth Assessment synthesis report just released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms what we already know: we need to cut emissions, steeply and without delay, and we need to prepare for the impacts that are already locked into the system. California has taken a lead on both these fronts, and now the federal government is following suit. After the release of the EPA's Clean Power Plan and new rules to phase out ozone-depleting substances, federal agencies have now prepared their own adaptation plans to protect their programs, grant-making, and resources - in short, ensuring the continuity of their critical services and operations.   

 

News and Research
Climate change will bring "severe, widespread, and irreversible" impacts
Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/Corbis

In its synthesis report of the Fifth Assessment on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has published its starkest warning for the world yet. Despite its grim projections of future impacts, the report emphasizes that addressing climate change and reducing GHG emissions is affordable, will only reduce economic growth marginally, and will benefit global public health and poverty alleviation. Emissions must peak by 2020 to avoid the most dangerous warming at the lowest cost. Delaying emissions cuts until 2030 will increase costs by 50% and lock-in more severe impacts. (Guardian)

Six action you can take on climate change

The challenge outlined by the IPCC's latest report may seem daunting, but solutions are available, and there are actions individuals can undertake. Talking about climate change is an important first step to build support and engagement. (Guardian)

Federal agencies outline plans to respond to climate change

As part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, 38 federal agencies have released plans detailing

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

their vulnerabilities to climate impacts and how they will protect their operations, programs, facilities, and resources. For example:

  • The National Park Service found that climate change is affecting its ability to conserve natural resources, while rising temperatures and sea level rise may impact visitor safety and experiences.
  • A 100% increase in the acreage burned by wildfires annually by 2050 will significantly impact USDA budget and resources, reducing its capacity to provide other critical services.
  • The Department of Defense found that climate change is a threat multiplier with repercussions ranging from terrorism to infectious disease, and that coastal military installations are threatened by sea level rise and flooding.

In response, agencies have outlined plans for how they will address these issues and factor climate resilience into decision making, grants and investments, and the design and construction of new and existing facilities and infrastructure. For example:

  • The Department of Commerce plans to stimulate new technologies and initiatives to build resilience in American communities.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will require higher flood elevation for HUD-funded hospitals, housing, and other vital community resources.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release case studies from state and city health departments that have conducted climate vulnerability assessments.

Find out more about each agency's adaptation plan or read the Washington Post article.

How will California's water system cope with climate change?

Photo: Randy Pench/rpench@sacbee.com

Focusing on one of the most critical issues of our region, this article takes an in-depth look at how dramatically decreased snowpacks in the Sierra Nevadas will impact reservoir management for both flood protection and storing water. Current reservoir management does not capture all runoff from winter storms in order to maintain some buffer space against flooding, but increasing water storage levels may be necessary to capture the greater portion of winter precipitation that falls as rain. Folsom Dam - whose operations manual is being rewritten - provides a case study. The article also discusses the California Water Plan, the Department of Water Resources' long-term, comprehensive strategy to protect the state from floods and droughts. (SacBee)

West Nile virus cases soar in the midst of historic drought

California public health officials are trying to understand why West Nile-carrying mosquitoes are at record-high levels. Human infection cases are at their highest since 2005 and are more than double the 2013 number. Possible factors include climate, the drought, and the number and type of birds and mosquitos, with the limited number of water sources possibly bringing birds and mosquitoes into close contact. According to the CDPH, there have been 35 human cases in the SACOG region. (San Jose Mercury News)

SMUD turns former landfill into urban solar farm
Photo: Mark Anderson | Sacramento Business Journal

SMUD and German solar company Conergy have built a 1.5 MW solar array at the site of a former landfill at Sutter's Landing Regional Park. The $4 million project demonstrates how solar power can be deployed in the urban city and on land that can't be used for other purposes. There are three kinds of solar collectors: ground-mounted arrays, arrays mounted on a parking shade structure, and 10 solar "trees" that provide shade to a dog park.  (SBJ)

Resources and Tools
USDA Climate Hubs: Practical, regional information for farmers and more

The new website of the USDA Climate Hubs will serve as a portal for farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and others to find useful, practical information to help them prepare for climate impacts. Region-specific sections will provide information on agriculture and forestry sector vulnerabilities, as well as tools and contact information to get in touch with regional specialists.  (USDA Climate Hubs

Funding Opportunities
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)

Upcoming Events
Environmental Justice: A new model for planning in under-served communities

November 12, 2014, 10-11am PST

EPA's Office of Environmental Justice will discuss how different communities have aligned environmental justice and municipal planning. The webinar will introduce tools developed by the EPA to strengthen public involvement and encourage community action. (Register)

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

November 13, 2014 9-10:15am PST

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 program features a community resiliency track, which includes sessions on regional adaptation collaboratives, tools for building community resilience, and incorporating smart growth into disaster recovery, along with many other topics of interest to adaptation practitioners. (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 Sacramento Region.  If you are interested in learning more about the Climate Readiness Collaborative, joining the Collaborative, or being added to the list serve, 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.