Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
December 17, 2014
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.


Recent storms in the Sacramento region may have been plentiful enough to snarl traffic and frustrate commuters, but unfortunately are not enough to end California's three-year long drought. At this week's American Geophysical Union meeting, NASA reported that it will take 11 trillion gallons of water to do that, largely due to the depletion of groundwater in the Central Valley. On the bright side, improvements in NASA's satellite technology mean that we now have an unprecedented level of information about droughts, snow water volume, and snow melt, which can all help inform water management decisions.


This is the Climate Readiness Collaborative's last newsletter in 2014; we hope that you have found it helpful and useful. We look forward to sharing more news, events, and funding opportunities in 2015 as we work together to increase the resilience of our region. The CRC team wishes you a happy holiday season and a productive new year!  


News and Research
10 reasons to be optimistic about climate change

The future often looks grim for those of us working on climate change. Here are some reasons to feel like we're making progress. (Guardian)

Extreme heat helps to make current drought worst in 1,200 years
Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Griffin


Scientists found that the 2014 water year was likely the driest since the year 800. However, researchers noted that the level of precipitation wasn't abnormally low in comparison to previous dry periods. Rather, it is the extreme heat that has made the current drought so unusually severe. Hotter temperatures increases the amount of moisture lost from soil and plants - conditions that we are likely to see more of in the future. (SCPR)

Designing California cities for drought-resilience

California cities were built with the assumption that water would be plentiful and endless, even if it needed to be piped in from elsewhere, but the increased likelihood of droughts threatens this way of life. One neighborhood in Los Angeles offers an alternative model. The street collects and stores rainwater above ground, and permeable surfaces provide additional storage in underground basins. By comparison, in a typical city, rainwater is generally lost into the sewer system as wastewater. (KQED)

Michael Bloomberg: Increase cities' access to capital markets


Improving cities' access to capital markets is an effective way of responding to climate change, as it increases cities' ability to invest in modern, low-carbon infrastructure while also spurring economic growth. For example, with World Bank assistance, Lima, Peru, was recently able to enhance its credit rating, allowing it to access $130 million to upgrade its bus rapid transit system. Low-carbon, climate resilient infrastructure offer enormous benefits to residents and businesses, but local governments are often unable to undertake major investments due to lack of access to credit markets. (Bloomberg)

Climate change contributes to increase in sustainable investing

U.S. assets invested in socially responsible investments have grown 76 percent in the last two years, according to a biennial survey. Investors are increasingly applying environmental, social, and governance criteria in their investment analysis and portfolio selection, with climate change being the most significant of the environmental factors. Shareholders concerned about climate risks filed 72 resolutions on the subject in 2014, more than double the number in 2012. (USSIF)

How much can local cities reduce emissions?
Photo: David Kidd


While many cities across the U.S. have signed up to reduce GHG emissions, the majority lack means to measure progress and only have authority over municipal emissions. Grand Rapids serves as an example of a conservative-leaning city that has embraced sustainability and climate action through leadership and using non-partisan motivators such as financial savings and faith. (Governing)

How businesses can manage climate-water risks to their operations
Photo: John McConnico/AP

A critical driver of success in the 21st century economy will be how businesses and investors balance their demands for water and other resources with a changing climate. Declines or disruptions in water supply can impact manufacturing operations, irrigation, material processing, cooling, and more, making companies more vulnerable to regulatory, financial, and reputation risks. Here are five strategies that businesses can utilize to manage and reduce their climate-water risks. (Guardian)

Resources and Tools
White House releases new climate data for more resilient ecosystems

The Department of Interior and other agencies are releasing new troves of government data on water and ecosystems as part of the President's Climate Data Initiative. The new datasets include critical information on streamflow, soil, land cover, and biodiversity, and are accompanied by geospatial tools to overlay and visualize data. In addition, a host of organizations committed to devote resources, expertise, and technological capabilities to leverage climate data in ways to increase resilience. For example, Amazon has committed to make a petabyte of Earth-imagery data from the U.S. Geological Survey available as a public dataset. Esri will stand up a Water Open Data portal to extend accessibility of key water data through interactive services and tools. (Blog, details, Climate Data Initiative)

Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication

This excellent guide will help everyone - policymakers, businessmen, educators, local leaders, and more - be more effective in engaging with the public on climate change. The guide covers 10 principles for effective communications and practical tips that will help overcome 7 key mental barriers that undermine our ability to understand and prioritize climate change. Emphasizing solutions instead of disastrous impacts, shared values instead of ideological differences, and other strategies can all improve engagement on climate issues. Read about the 7 mental barriers, watch the webinar, or download the report

How Climate Change Endangers America's Neglected Wastewater Infrastructure
Photo: AP/Tony Dejak

Stronger storms, floods, and sea-level rise are challenging aging sewer systems around the U.S. - many built over 50 years ago for a much smaller population - resulting in billions of gallons of sewage overflows into streets and rivers. As many sewer systems approach the end of their planned lifespans, states and municipalities should incorporate climate risks in planning and investments in all new wastewater infrastructure. Read the Center for American Progress's full report for recommendations on financing and investments to protect water quality and public health while increasing storm resiliency and reducing costs. (CAP

EPA launches new online tool to improve home energy efficiency

The Energy Star Home Advisor will help Americans save energy and money by improving home energy efficiency. The tool guides homeowners through a "do-it-yourself" energy assessment to determine customized, prioritized recommendations for improvements. From these recommendations, users can create their own to-do lists of projects such as adding insulation to the attic or replacing an HVAC air filter. Over time, users can update their home profiles as they make improvements, see the positive environmental impacts of their upgrades, and get additional recommendations. The home profiles can also be used at the time of sale. (EnergyStar)

Funding Opportunities
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

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)

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
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference 2015

January 29-31, Baltimore, MD

Don't miss out on the nations largest sustainability event! Registration is still open for the 14th annual New Partners for Smart Growth: Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies in Creating Great Communities conference. This year's program includes over 80 exciting sessions, plenaries, workshop and tours that 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)

Urban Soil Carbon Water Summit

February 24-24, 2015, Los Angeles, CA

The Urban Soil Summit is bringing together a select group of 300 people who will have access to world-renown scientists and problem solvers from multiple disciplines including forestry, agriculture, storm water, riparian restoration, soil science, ecosystem restoration, land use planning, engineering, grassland management, soil microbiology, and more.  It is the first international summit focused on issues, policies, and technologies about soil in the urban environment. It is particularly relevant in arid urban settings of the west. (Urbansoil)
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: