Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
March 25, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.


Photo: Ben Robinson via Flickr

Water: too little or too much of it can spell disaster. Water-related hazards - drought, floods, storms - made up nearly 90% of the 1,000 most catastrophic events from 1990 to 2006. Urbanization and population growth will further increase drought and flood risk to cities; by 2030, nearly 40% of urban land will be in a high-frequency flood zone, while the urban population exposed to drought will increase by 5 times to around 160 million people, according to a new study. What's more, this increase is due to socioeconomic factors alone, emphasizing the need for smart planning for new developments to account for flood and other hazards.


Meanwhile, British newspaper The Guardian has launched a new campaign on climate change, committing to cover "the biggest story in the world" with all the attention it deserves, not just in the environmental section, but in politics, economy, and especially on the front page. This kind of leadership is exactly what the world needs to prioritize climate change in the media and public discourse. As their editor in chief writes, real change can only happen when a citizenry is well informed, and The Guardian's climate change section aims to do just that. 

News and Research
Global cost of flooding will be 10 times higher in just 15 years

The number of people impacted by floods worldwide could nearly triple to 54 million by 2030. Of the 170 countries analyzed, developing countries in Asia have the most vulnerable people, with India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Pakistan ranked the highest. The U.S. is the only developed country in the top 20 list, ranked at 18th behind Mexico and in front of Sudan. Within the U.S., Florida is the most vulnerable state, followed by Louisiana and California.


The findings come from the first publicly available online tool to analyze current and future river flood risk at the national, state, and river basin levels. Built by the World Resources Institute, the tool can help visualize the future, prioritize investments in flood protection, plan for safe areas and evacuation routes, and estimate the benefits of differing levels of flood protection. For example, with 100-year flood protection, annual damage in California is predicted to be $14.6 billion but would be halved to $7.6 billion with 250-year levels of flood protection. (City Lab, Flood Analyzer)

Governor Brown proposes $1 billion package of emergency drought legislation

The legislation includes funding for safe drinking water, water conservation projects, and food for farm workers and others suffering economically from the drought. It also includes $660 million to flood control projects, as Brown looks ahead to the potential of extreme weather events. Assembly Republican leader Kristen Olsen called for more storage, desalination, recycling, and other projects to increase water supply, while environmental advocates would like Brown to do more on conservation and require mandatory water use restrictions beyond the current voluntary 20% reduction. (San Jose Mercury News)

Welcome to the world's first climate-adapted neighborhood

Photo: Tredje Natur

When the next mega-storm hits Copenhagen, residents of St. Kjeld should all be safe and dry. This working-class neighborhood is the first climate change-adapted neighborhood, as well as the first to demonstrate storm-resilience using only green infrastructure. St. Kjeld's rainwater master plan replaced city squares with mini-parks that would store water, while "cloudburst boulevards" will turn into canals during megastorms and flooding, channeling water purposefully to the harbor. The approach of green infrastructure that accommodates stormwater - rather than fighting it - offers a lower cost approach than sea walls or sewer upgrades. (Al Jazeera)

The strange new winter in Lake Tahoe

Photo: Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group

Warmer temperatures and drought are changing one of California's iconic winter destinations. The paucity of snow this season means that many resorts are closed while others are resorting to snow-making equipment. This has ripple effects on the local economy, and even summer tourism will suffer, with a shortage of river water for rafting and warmer lake temperatures that can increase the occurrence of toxic algal blooms. (San Jose Mercury News)

Only one year of water left in California reservoirs

California is running out of water: NASA data reveals that total water storage in California has been declining since at least 2002, when satellite monitoring began. Groundwater, the backup plan, is rapidly disappearing as well. Senior NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti provides some recommendations for how California should prepare itself, not just for a 4-year drought but for a long-term megadrought. (LA Times)

FEMA will require climate change consideration for states' disaster plans
Photo: FEMA, States, and Disaster Prep/shutterstock

In order to receive disaster preparedness funding, states must now address climate change's impacts on disaster risk in their hazard mitigation plans - and their governors must approve these plans. The new guidelines will take effect in March 2016, and may create difficulties for states led by governors that deny climate change. Eight of the ten states receiving the most FEMA hazard mitigation money between 2010 and 2014 are led by Republicans. (Inside Climate News, Energy Collective)

2014 global greenhouse gas emissions remain flat - sign of hope?

2014 marks the first time in 40 years in which global greenhouse gas emissions did not increase while the economy grew by three percent. Past years in which emissions did not go up were all due to global economic recession, but this gives us hope that we can successfully decouple economic growth from fossil fuels. (Think Progress

Sacramento pilots new-generation green diesel fuel

Sacramento drivers will be among the first in the state to try a new renewable diesel, produced almost entirely from plant- and animal-based waste, including vegetable oil, animal fats, industrial tallow, and restaurant byproducts. With emissions reductions of 70% from conventional diesel, this renewable diesel from Neste Oil is compatible with all existing diesel vehicles. The new diesel is available at certain Propel stations. (Bloomberg)

Resources and Tools
The Climate has Changed - Why bold, low-carbon action makes good business sense

Too many companies are not prepared for climate change and are only focused on the short-term impacts of action. Far-sighted businesses that actively take part in climate action can help influence government policies. A new report from the business-climate coalition We Mean Business explores how bold climate action not only makes good business sense but also opens up new economic opportunities and markets. (Report)

C40's City Climate Hazard Taxonomy Tool

This tool will provide cities a clear, concise common language with which to discuss, assess, and report on climate hazards and action relating to climate change adaptation. It will provide the basis for scoping hazards as part of the risk assessment process, structure the collection of data from cities about their hazards and their response actions, and more. The Taxonomy is a first step in developing a broader work program that aims to improve and accelerate local urban adaptation efforts and drive global collaboration among cities by tracking both hazards and how cities respond to them. (Bloomberg)

Upcoming Events
Webinar: How CivicSpark can help your agency with climate work

Thursday, April 2, 11am-noon PT

CivicSpark is a Governor's Initiative of AmeriCorps that aims to build capacity for local governments to address climate change. In its first year, CivicSpark has assisted over 86 local government agencies on climate mitigation and adaptation projects on topics such as sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, solar procurement, urban forestry, and GHG inventorying and benchmarking. The 2015-2016 service year will start in October 2015. Please attend the webinar if you are interested in learning about how CivicSpark can help your government agency. (Register

Webinar: Integrating Climate Adaptation Efforts across State, Regional, and Local Transportation Agencies

Thursday, April 9, 10-11am PST

Transportation agencies are exploring measures to adapt to increasing climate disruptions, but efforts are hindered by lack of funding and technical expertise, the need for improved data, and insufficient integration of state and local efforts. This webinar will discuss challenges and opportunities for transportation agencies in addressing climate adaptation, and present a simplified planning framework extracted from a plethora of work nationwide. There will also be a facilitated discussion with leaders of state departments of transportation. (Register)

Cleaner Air Partnership: Business resiliency - A key to sustaining regional economic vitality

Friday, April 10, 11:30am-1:30pm 

Increasing natural disasters and extreme weather events are presenting increasing risks to the region's economy and the health and safety of its communities. The Business Resiliency Initiative is developing a toolkit of best practices to help small businesses assess vulnerabilities and prepare for potential business disruptions. Please come to the Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon to learn more about this project. (Register)

Urban Land Institute: Building Healthy Places - Health & the Built Environment

Thursday, April 16, 8:30-11am

Sacramento County Chambers, 700 H St., Sacramento

The design of the built environment can have a crucial influence on improving public health and well-being. The Urban Land Institute (ULI) just released the Building Healthy Places Toolkit, which includes 21 recommendations for promoting health at the building or project scale. Learn about the critical role of development and land use on healthier people and communities. A panel of experts will discuss current initiatives underway locally and at the state level. (Register)

Sea Level Rise & Coastal Impacts - Social Vulnerability and Community Strengths

Tuesday, April 21, 9am-1pm

Los Angeles, CA

Those responsible for emergency preparedness and response, climate change adaptation, or long-term resiliency and sustainability must consider one common factor: people. Communities vary significantly in their ability to prepare for, cope with, and respond to climate threats. At this workshop, leading climate experts Dr. Susanne Moser and Dr. Julia Ekstrom will teach you how to identify and incorporate social vulnerability into your planning process. (Register by April 7) 

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: