Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
June 3, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.
 

 

We are excited to welcome the City of Davis and Ascent Environmental as the newest members of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative. We would also like to invite you to join our next Quarterly Meeting, on Tuesday, June 9, to learn more about Valley Vision's Business Resiliency Initiative and their new toolkit to help small businesses in the region prepare for natural disasters and plan for business continuity. As the recent flooding in Texas and Oklahoma remind us, severe, multi-year droughts are often ended by record-breaking storms. Climate change increases the likelihood of these swings from extreme to extreme - suggesting that Sacramento, in particular, cannot forget about flooding while working to reduce water use. 

News and Research
The two degrees debate - too much or just wishful thinking?
Photo: Reuters/Stringer

Two degrees Celsius is the widely agreed upon goal for limiting climate change, but many scientists and experts warn that this will not prevent many severe impacts. Even with current temperature increase under 1C, we are already facing severe impacts from droughts, storms, and sea-level rise. A 2C increase would see small Pacific islands become uninhabitable, an increase in weather-related disasters, extreme heat conditions, and many people displaced. Meanwhile, another view point argues that climate scientists are using unrealistic assumptions to keep the 2C goal alive. (Reuters, Nature)

Extreme rainfall on the rise in the US

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported last Thursday that Texas was finally free of extreme drought

Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images

after five debilitating years. But then the weekend brought torrential rainfall and flash flooding on scales comparable to tropical storms or hurricanes, with 95% of the state under flash flood warnings at one point. A steadily escalating swing between drought and flood is one of the most confident predictions of climate change, where a warming atmosphere becomes more saturated with water vapor and capable of previously unimagined downpours. Analyzing 65 years of rainfall records at thousands of weather stations, Climate Central found that 40 of the lower 48 states have seen an overall increase in heavy downpours since 1950. (Climate Central, Slate)

Water banking: A solution for California's drought?

Groundwater supplies 40 to 60 percent of human-used water each year in California, but it's rapidly being depleted in major agricultural regions. One potential answer is groundwater banking, which incentivizes municipalities, farmers, and other water users to percolate water down into sub-surface aquifers for later use. Underground aquifers contain at least 3 times the storage capacity of the state's 1,400 reservoirs and offer many other benefits over surface storage. Learn more about these benefits, as well as the barriers that need to be overcome to make this a widespread practice in the state. (Yale 360)

Homeowner survey suggests difficulty in meeting water conservation targets

In a new statewide poll, 44 percent of homeowners said that it would be difficult for them to reduce water use, including 48 percent of wealthy homeowners, who tend to use more water. A majority - 65 percent - supports the mandatory conservation rules, however, and 89 percent recognize the drought as serious or extremely serious.  According to the Pacific Institute, many residents are unaware of potential savings, and water agencies could provide more education and outreach. (San Jose Mercury News)

Hospitals aim to cut water safely

Hospitals are big water users: being dirty is not an option. Nevertheless, hospitals are trying to cut water use by 25 percent while maintaining hygiene and safety standards. Several hospitals in the region, including Kaiser facilities in Sacramento and Roseville and the Marshall Medical Center in Placerville, are swapping in more water-efficient equipment such as sterilizers, replacing lawns, and installing low-flow fixtures. (Sacramento Business Journals)

West Sacramento turning vacant lots into urban farms

The Winters-based Center for Land-Based Learning, in partnership with the City of West Sacramento and area businesses, is turning vacant city lots into urban farm incubators, providing access to three things new farmers need most: land, capital, and infrastructure. More than seven acres could be up and running by the end of 2015. Raley's has promised to purchase 25 percent of the harvest for their local food-bank program, and the money will help support harvest distribution, including a new farm stand site at a vacant lot at 5th and F Street in West Sacramento, opening in June. (Link)

Central Coast cattle ranches struggling in drought

Area ranches sold a record $129 million in cattle last year, as high beef prices and drought conditions led many to thin their herds. In total, about 75 percent of cattle in San Luis Obispo County have been sold or removed in the last four years. Grasslands are turning into bare ground, and even after the drought ends, several years of conservative grazing will be needed to restore productivity to range lands. Some ranchers have turned to vineyards, which yield a higher economic return on water than ranching. (LA Times)

Americans are migrating to extreme heat zones
Credit: UCAR.edu

Exposure to extreme heat in the US could increase by 4 to 6 times by 2050 as a result of both climate change and population growth in the southern and western U.S. The study bridges the "discipline gap" by combining climate scenarios with projected demographic changes for a more complete analysis of the public health impacts of heat waves. People in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Tampa will have some of the highest exposure levels. (NYTimes)

Summer reading: 12 must-reads on climate change

Disquieting vacation reads they may be, books on climate change may be the perfect reading material for a summer that could break more temperature records. CNN presents here a list of 12 "must-read" climate change books that they will be tackling in their email reading group, starting with Mark Lynas' Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, an examination of our likely world with each degree of warming. (CNN

Resources and Tools
Business Resiliency Initiative: A toolkit for small businesses in the capital region

Valley Vision and partners are pleased to launch a new toolkit of resilience resources designed specifically for small businesses in the Capital Region. The toolkit provides a concise, accessible, action-oriented, easy-to-use guide to creating a business resiliency plan. The goal is to help increase awareness of disaster risks as well as continuity planning, which protects both individual businesses as well as the regional economy. Stay tuned for workshops in the coming months. (Business Resiliency Toolkit)

EPA: Local Government Climate Adaptation Training

This new online training module will help local government officials take actions to increase their communities' resilience to a changing climate. The training explains how a changing climate may affect a variety of environmental and public health services, such as providing safe drinking water and managing the effects of drought, fires, and floods. It provides examples of effective strategies as well as links to resources that can help local officials get started with adaptation planning in their own communities. Read more about it or access the tool.

Funding Opportunities
USDA: Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

The RCPP will make $235 million available to improve water quality, fight drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and promote agricultural viability. The program enables partnerships between agricultural producers, local governments, business, academia, non-profits, and landowners to develop conservation projects tailored specifically for their community. This is the second round of funding; the first round supported projects to convert flood irrigation systems to more efficient systems with integrated hydropower, restore working forests, and reduce fertilizer runoff in Lake Erie. Pre-proposals are due July 8, 2015. (USDA)  

Upcoming Events
Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative Quarterly Meeting
Tuesday, June 9, 9am-noon
City of Sacramento - New City Hall - Conference Room 1119
915 I Street, Sacramento

This meeting will feature an update and panel discussion on Valley Vision's Business Resiliency Initiative, as well as how to strengthen the interaction between private and public sector preparedness efforts, and how businesses can effectively understand community resilience/preparedness plans and resources. The Nature Conservancy will also present on their work to address climate change through natural resource conservation and land use by developing replicable tools, policies, and economic incentives for the County of Sonoma.(Draft agenda; Register)

2016 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference - Call for Session Proposals Open
May 18 - June 30

The Local Government Commission is conducting a formal Call for Session Proposals (CFSP) for the 2016 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference program. The CFSP process is open now through June 30. In order to submit a proposal and view instructions visit www.newpartners.org/cfsp. The 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will be held February 11-13, 2016 in downtown Portland, OR. Visit www.NewPartners.org for more details on this exciting event!

Webinar Series: Building Social Resilience in Climate Vulnerable Communities

Wednesdays May 27-June 24, noon-1:10pm PDT

This webinar series will provide tools and resources to integrate social vulnerability into climate adaptation and help participants make connections between urban vulnerable communities and rural landscape changes. The sessions will dive deeper into community engagement, indicators for social vulnerability, conducting social vulnerability assessments, and strategic communications. All sessions are filled, but signing up for the waitlist allows you to access recordings for free. (Register)

Water Hazards and Community Resilience
Thursday, June 4, 10-11am PDT

The latest webinar in a series on water and resilience sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US National Integrated Drought Information System, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, and EPA's Climate Ready Water Utility Initiative, among others. (Register

50/50/50 by 2030: Transportation and the California Energy Challenge
Wednesday, June 10, 2:30-4:30pm
Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento

A panel of thought leaders in policy, academia and industry will debate the Governor's challenge for petroleum reduction and whether California can balance these climate and clean air goals while still meeting its energy requirements, transportation demands, and economic prosperity. Panelists will discuss which innovations, clean technologies or alternatives will contribute toward meeting the new goals. California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Len (D-Los Angeles), one of the prime sponsors of SB 350, will be the keynote speaker. (Register)

ARB Research Seminar: Deriving Roof Albedo for Seven California Cities Using Remote Sensing
Thursday, June 11, 1:30pm PDT

Switching to "cool roofs" that reflect sunlight can reduce building temperatures while saving electricity and mitigating the urban heat island effect. The potential benefit depends on the increase in roof albedo (reflectivity) at the city scale, but measuring city level-albedo has, until now, been hindered by a lack of reflectance data with sufficient resolution. This research seminar will discuss using remote sensing to derive the albedos of roofs in seven California cities, including Sacramento, as well as the potential impacts of widespread adoption of cool roofs. (ARB)

Healthy Planning Leadership Series webinar
Thursday, June 11, 1-2pm PDT

Hosted by the Governor's Office of Planning and Research, this webinar series will bring together professionals interested in moving ideas forward to action to support healthy communities. Local innovators in California and beyond will offer pragmatic examples of healthy planning for planners, public health professionals, elected officials, health care providers, public works staff, and anyone interested in building healthy communities. The first webinar discusses the importance of healthy planning, featuring Dr. Dick Jackson and Heather Wooten. (Register

Yolo Climate Compact Meeting: Food Waste
Friday, June 12, 9-11am
2nd floor conference room, UC Davis Conference Center

In the US, approximately $160 billion worth of food is thrown out each year. Come hear from Craig McNamara, president of the State Board of Food and Agriculture, as well as Michele Wong, CEO of Clean World, a local clean energy company that turns food waste into renewable energy. Other speakers represent a range of perspectives, including the county government, food bank, local farmers, and university dining services. Contact John Mott-Smith with any questions, johnmottsmith@comcast.net, 530-400-7622.

OEHHA Workshop: Indicators of Climate Change in California
June 16-17, 2015, Sierra Hearing Room, CalEPA, 1001 I Street, Sacramento

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is convening a workshop to collect input for its next update of the report Indicators of Climate Change in California, planned for 2017. The workshop will examine potential indicators that should be tracked to present a comprehensive picture of climate change and its impacts, discuss known and emerging issues based on current scientific understanding, get feedback on the existing indicators and identify data gaps, and examine how the indicators can be integrated into policy and action. (OEHHA)

Webinar: Greywater 101 & Laundry-to-Landscape Guide
Wednesdays, June 17-July 1, 2-4pm

This three-part webinar series will introduce participants to greywater and provide guidance on designing a system as well as working with local agencies and contractors to streamline the permitting process. Participants will have access to the course materials and presentations to adapt for future use. Part 1 provides an overview of greywater, its costs and savings potential, and design considerations. Part 2 discusses how to design and install a laundry-to-landscape system, and Part 3 discusses how to work with local agencies and stores. (Cost: $30-50 per organization; register)

Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon: Cap and trade funding
Friday, June 19, 11:30am-1:30pm PDT

Cap and trade is a new source of funding to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the State of California. Join the next Cleaner Air Partnership Luncheon to learn more about the status of cap and trade-funded projects in the Sacramento region, and future opportunities to secure funding for the Sacramento region. Details to come; see website

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/