Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
December 3, 2014
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.
 

 

 

We hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their families. There were some exciting developments in climate and adaptation news before the holidays - including a U.S.-China partnership to reduce GHG emissions that provided some much-needed momentum to the next round of United Nations global climate negotiations starting this week in Peru. Here is your chance to catch up on some key California and national news, reports, and resources.   

 

We are also excited to introduce you to the Capital Region's 6 CivicSpark Members and share information about the projects that they will be working on over the next 11 months. For those of you that have not heard about CivicSpark, it provides technical support to local and regional governments in an effort to help communities pursue clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard against climate change impacts, and implement sustainable community strategies. 

News and Research
Presidential Task Force publishes recommendations on climate resiliency

The presidential task force of local, state, and tribal leaders has released more than 100 recommendations on how the federal government can help local communities respond to the challenges of climate change. Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento was a Task Force member, and the CRC also helped to contribute suggestions. Here are just a few of the recommendations: 1) Repair and rebuild from disasters in ways that reduce future risks, and deny funding requests for rebuilding that would exacerbate vulnerabilities; 2) Incorporate financial risks and vulnerabilities from future climate hazards into cost-benefit analyses; 3) Consider climate impacts when evaluating federal programs designed to help vulnerable and disadvantaged communities; and 4) Work with the insurance industry to develop pricing structures that incentivize resiliency and policies to require climate risk disclosure. (Link)

EPA updates climate indicators for the U.S.

To provide accurate, accessible information on how climate change is already affecting the U.S., the EPA has updated Climate Change Indicators in the US with new and expanded indicators of changes in our weather and environment, as well as their consequences for society, economy, and more. New indicators cover wildfires, Lyme disease, and heating and cooling degree days, while existing indicators include changes in snowfall, ocean acidity, ragweed pollen season, the growing season, and changes in leaf and bloom dates. (EPA)

Outlook grim for California ski industry

Photo: Max Whittaker for The New York Times

 

Many runs are bare at California's ski resorts, as extreme drought and climate change have reduced snowfall and increased temperatures.  Snowpack during the 2013-2014 winter was the second lowest in 90 years, and visits declined by 25%. Many Californian resorts are now investing in snow-making equipment, but this consumes vast amounts of energy and water and requires temperatures to be below freezing. (NYTimes)

Major investors worried about companies' preparation for climate risks

In a survey of asset managers and pension managers responsible for over $11 trillion in investments, Pricewaterhouse Coopers found that 58% were dissatisfied with companies' disclosure and understanding of climate risks, with the figure rising to over 64% for investors with assets over $100 billion. (PwC)

Proposed research scope announced for California's Fourth Climate Assessment

The State of California has developed a portfolio of research for California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment, which will help address California-specific policy questions and information needs to meet the state's climate and adaptation goals.  The Fourth Assessment is the first inter-agency effort to implement a substantial portion of the Climate Change Research Plan. The document identifies key research themes and specific projects related to each theme, and will serve as the basis for a Request for Proposals in the first quarter of 2015. (CNRA)

Sacramento Delta shows GHG benefits of wetlands restoration

New research shows that restoring wetlands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta - which has one of the world's highest soil subsidence rates - can both reduce GHG emissions and reduce or reverse soil subsidence. Scientists found that the drained land released GHG emissions, while the restored and flooded wetlands became carbon sinks, absorbing CO2. (ScienceDaily)

Climate change will increase losses for taxpayer-backed insurance programs

A new report from the Government Accountability Office found that climate change will substantially increase losses by 2040 for the federal flood and crop insurance programs. Losses may increase by 50 to 100% by 2100. FEMA is already $24 billion in debt for flood insurance claims, but Congressional reforms to update flood risks and rates were delayed or rolled back in 2014. For agriculture, technological advances and other adaptation practices could offset changes in temperature and precipitation in the next 25 years, but after 2050 intensifying climate extremes could start decrease yields and profits. (Link, GAO) 

Mayors Roundtable in Boston discuss the economic impact of climate change
Photo: AP Photo/Dave Callow

 

Mayors and elected officials from the East Coast and Australia discussed the opportunities of leading from the urban level on climate resilience. What is the role that elected officials should play in educating and engaging the public on climate risk? Participants also agreed there is a need for municipalities, businesses, and institutions to collectively make decisions on the worth of resilient infrastructure - how much are we willing to pay for reliability? (NextCity)

Your brain on climate change: Why the threat produces apathy, not action
Photograph: Alamy

Human brains aren't wired to deal with long-term, uncertain challenges, according to new neuroscience research on the many barriers and biases that keep individuals from assessing the threat posed by climate change. With their emphasis on rational decision making, businesses may have greater capacity to lead on climate action, especially with the use of metrics, goals, and friendly competition. (Guardian) 

Resources and Tools
Climate Resilience Toolkit

Climate Resilience Toolkit: Part of President Obama's plan to assist local communities with climate planning, the Toolkit consolidates a wide range of resources and interactive tools from across federal agencies in one portal that's designed to be user-friendly and accessible. Key features include:

-       Climate Explorer: A research application offering interactive maps and graphs for climate data and projected climate impacts.

-       Tools: A centralized portal for accessing a range of federal tools and resources to analyze climate data, generalize visualizations, estimate hazards, and engage stakeholders. Examples include identifying neighborhoods likely to flood or showing how future drought conditions would affect regional crop growth.

-       Step-by-step case studies of how local agencies and partnerships have used these tools, with best practices and lessons learned. 

-       Training courses: A hub for free courses offered online or in-person with a range of difficulty levels. Sample topics include understanding how climate change affects local extreme weather, introduction to downscaled data, water resource planning, and more.

-       Guide to regional and local expertsContact information for federal experts across all agencies in each region. 

Funding Opportunities
Grant: Demonstrating Clean Energy Solutions that Support California's Industries, the Environment, and the Electrical Grid

Deadline: January 6, 2015, at 3pm. 

Part of the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, this solicitation will fund community-scale generation, including combined heat and power and renewable generation technologies in the pre-commercial stage. It will also fund innovative energy management strategies that will facilitate integrating renewable energy into the grid, load shifting, and peak load reduction to minimize demand fluctuations. (CEC)

Grants for Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Deadline: December 19, 2014

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is announcing a new grant program, Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction. Funded by cap and trade proceeds, the program will support projects that reduce GHG emissions through restoration or enhancement of Delta and coastal wetlands and mountain meadow habitat. Projects should also provide co-benefits such as enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, protecting and improving water quality and quantity, and helping California adapt to climate change. (CDFW

CEC Solicitation: Reducing Climate Vulnerabilities in the Electric System

Deadline: January 16, 2015

PON-14-309 will fund applied research and development projects that make the electricity system less vulnerable to climate impacts. Desired initiatives will develop analytical tools and technologies to plan for and minimize climate impacts on the electricity system. The PON also aims to reduce the environmental impacts of electricity generation, and will fund projects that develop analytical tools and technologies to reduce energy-related stresses on aquatic resources and improve water-energy management. (CEC)

Upcoming Events
UC Davis Policy Forum Series: Emerging Renewable Technology

December 10, 2014, 11am-1pm PST

UC Center Sacramento, 1130 K St., Suite LL22

Part 3 in a series on California's transition to renewable energy, this forum will discuss the economic and technical viability of emerging technologies that may help increase reliability and renewable energy in the state's electricity portfolio. Presenters and panelists will discuss these options and their associated costs and benefits in the areas of offshore wind, geothermal, small-hydro, and biomass energy. (Learn more and register)

Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication

December 11, 2014, 12:30-1:45pm PST

Columbia University and ecoAmerica are releasing their new guide that explains how to better communicate with and engage the American public on climate change. The webinar will present an overview of the guide, including the 10 principles for climate change communication; the basics of why and how to put people first; crafting your message; overcoming barriers; and creating the conditions for behavioral change. Space is limited; please register here.

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 session on regional adaptation collaboratives, along with many other topics of interest to adaptation practitioners. (NPSG)

Early Bird Registration Now Open: National Adaptation Forum 2015

May 12-14, 2015, St. Louis, Missouri

The National Adaptation Forum is the biennial gathering of the adaptation community to foster information exchange, innovation, and mutual support. At the Forum, participants learn how to make their work climate-informed, share what they have learned with others, and develop a stronger network of collaborative peers. The 2015 program focuses on integrating adaptation into all activities and breaking out of silos to create holistic, durable solutions. Early bird registration ends Feb. 28, 2015. (Register)

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.