Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
June 17, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.


Are you a local government agency eager to address climate change and its impacts on your community, but face constraints in staff and capacity? We are excited to tell you about CivicSpark, an AmeriCorps initiative that supports communities in responding to climate change. In its first year, CivicSpark members have been working in the Capital Region to support urban forestry for disadvantaged communities in South Sacramento, building community engagement on climate action in Davis, and analyzing the regional transportation infrastructure's vulnerabilities to climate risks.


How would you like to see CivicSpark support your agency's work? What climate projects can best serve your community? Learn more about how the program works; applications for the 2015 to 2016 service year are now open.

News and Research
Can the Pope be a game-changer for U.S. climate politics?
Photo: Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via Associated Press

Due to be released Thursday, Pope Francis's encyclical on climate change could finally change the minds of millions of Americans that have previously dismissed climate change as an issue of environmentalists and scientists. Few Americans think of climate change through a moral, poverty, spiritual, or social justice lens, but leadership from one of the most popular - and trusted - men around the world could provide an important new framing for this critical issue. (Bloomberg) However, many U.S. bishops are wary or resistant to the encyclical, and do not see climate change or the environment as a priority. (NY Times)

What can California learn from Melbourne on drought management?

During Australia's dire drought from 1997 to 2009, Melbourne successfully reduced per-capita water demand by 50 percent to 41 gallons per person. The policy choices and integrated response from government agencies allowed for a sea change and a culture shift to using less water. Two separate studies have now analyzed these actions for their potential to be replicated in California. One key is to connect residents to their water so they treat it as a precious resource. Researchers found that the systemic changes have increased overall resilience to drought: even after the drought ended, residents continue to use the conservation habits they learned because they recognize the environmental benefits. (Wiley; PPIC)

California's Water Czar, Part Empathetic Confessor and Part Friendly Scold

Photo: Max Whittaker for The New York Times

When Gov. Jerry Brown chose Ms. Felicia Marcus to run the powerful if relatively little known State Water Resources Control Board 27 months ago, it seemed a wonky niche of a job. Ms. Marcus is now in the spotlight as the face of California's water regulations, a friendly enforcer one day and lightning rod the next. Most importantly, Marcus has been balancing competing agricultural, environmental, urban, and rural interests, and has managed the previously unthinkable, a compromise with California's senior water rights holders. (NY Times)

Professional sports respond to drought and water restrictions

Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Maintaining a pristine green for visual appeal is no longer necessary. Dodger Stadium has installed underground sensors to reduce watering, while UCLA has replaced one of its athletic fields with synthetic turf. Green Sports Alliance, a nonprofit group, says that over-watering has been common and significant reductions can result from training groundskeepers to use only as much water as necessary. (LA Times

Goodbye, redwoods? World's tallest, oldest trees most vulnerable to climate change

Researchers found that the trees most likely to survive drought and heat waves were short and with smaller leaf areas - like desert plants - while tall trees with large leaf areas were the most likely to die. Their loss would have critical impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity as well as further contributing to climate change (large trees store more carbon). Plants are less adaptable than animals as shifting their habitats would take much longer timescales. (Think Progress)

Wildfire risk above normal due to California drought
Photo: Photo: James Quigg, AP

According to a forecast by the National Interagency Fire Center, fire danger will be highest in the Sacramento Valley in June, due to dry winds from the north that could help to fan the fires. Southern Arizona is also at risk in June. Central and southern California, especially near the coast, will be at high fire risk throughout July, August, and September. (USA Today

Long-term drought may hurt electricity generation

By 2050, extended years of drought could reduce electricity generation in almost half of the western U.S.'s 978 electric power stations. Older fossil fuel generation units were disproportionately negatively affected, but renewable technologies were found to be more resilient, suggesting that a greater shift towards renewables would help create a more climate-resistant power infrastructure. The study warns that current plans looking at electricity generating facilities in the western US have not taken into account the effects of climate change on productiveness, meaning they may have overestimated the region's preparedness and its capacity to meet electricity needs. (Guardian)

A wind turbine without the blades 
Photo: Vortex Bladeless

A Spanish company is developing a radical way of generating wind energy without the iconic spinning blades. The Vortex - essentially an oscillating pole - turns wind into electricity through vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. The Vortex captures 30 percent less wind energy than conventional turbines, but more than twice as many can be installed in the same space as propeller turbines. They should also be cheaper to manufacture and maintain, pose little danger for birds, and are totally silent. (Wired)

Employment Opportunity
Local Government Commission Seeks Regional Coordinators for CivicSpark

CivicSpark is seeking Encore Fellows to serve as Regional Coordinators. Encore Fellowships are paid, time-limited fellowships that match skilled, experienced professionals with social-purpose organizations in high-impact assignments. Each CivicSpark Encore Fellow will spend 1,000 hours over a 13-month period supervising a team of 3-8 AmeriCorps Members, managing partner relationships, and providing support to project management and implementation. Encore Fellows would act as an integral part of the CivicSpark team, supporting the AmeriCorps members and coordinating closely with LGC staff in Sacramento to ensure the program is implemented successfully in the region. We are currently looking for applicants for teams in Fresno, Sacramento, Truckee, and San Luis Obispo. (Application form)

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: New tool to identify environmental justice communities

EJSCREEN, an environmental justice screening and mapping tool, uses high resolution maps combined with demographic and environmental data to identify places with potentially elevated environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. EJSCREEN's simple-to-understand color-coded maps, bar charts, and reports enable users to better understand areas in need of increased environmental protection, health care access, housing, infrastructure improvement, community revitalization, and climate resilience. (EPA)

Funding Opportunities
Northern California Clean Cities Funding Workshop
July 9, 8:30am-2:30pm
Clubhouse at Paradise Valley, 3990 Paradise Valley Rd., Fairfield

The Northern California Clean Cities Funding Workshop will feature grant funding from EPA, Department of Energy, California Energy Commission, Air Resources Board, Air Districts, and innovative financing opportunities. Funding opportunities will be discussed by speakers from the federal, state, and local levels. (Clean Cities)  

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
Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon: Cap and trade funding
Friday, June 19, 11:30am-1:30pm PDT
Nehemiah Corporation, 640 Bercut Dr., Sacramento

Cap and trade is a new source of funding to help California reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Join our next luncheon to learn more about the status of applications from the Sacramento region for projects funded by cap and trade revenue, outreach efforts to bring new programs in transportation, affordable housing, and renewable energy to the region, and an update on what's to come and how you can influence the next round of funding. (Register

Public Workshop: Funding Guidelines for Agencies Administering Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Programs
Monday, June 22, 1-3pm
Byron Sher Auditorium, Cal EPA, 1001 I Street, Sacramento

The Air Resources Board is required to develop funding guidance for all state agencies with programs administering the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (auction proceeds from cap and trade) to reduce GHG emissions, maximize benefits to disadvantaged communities, and meet other statutory requirements. The draft guidelines will be released prior to the workshop; comments are due on June 29 at 5pm. (ARB)

Webinar: Cap and Trade - Past, Present, and Future

Wednesday, June 24, 11am-noon

This webinar will reconvene the speakers of the Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon to discuss the status of applications from the Sacramento region for cap-and-trade funding, outreach efforts to bring new programs in transportation, affordable housing, and renewable energy, the next round of funding, and how you can get involved. (Register)

Strategic Growth Council Meeting: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Awards
Tuesday, June 30, 9am-noon
CalEPA Sierra Hearing Room, 2nd floor, 1001 I Street, Sacramento

The Strategic Growth Council will be making recommendations for awards for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program and the Sustainable Agriculture and Land Conservation Grants, as part of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. (SGC)

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 The 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will be held February 11-13, 2016 in downtown Portland, OR. Visit for more details on this exciting event!

Webinar Series: Building Social Resilience in Climate Vulnerable Communities
Wednesday 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 cover community engagement, indicators for social vulnerability, conducting social vulnerability assessments, and strategic communications. All sessions are full, but signing up for the waitlist allows free access to the recordings. (Register)

Webinar: Greywater 101 & Laundry-to-Landscape Guide

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 for future use. (Cost: $30-50 per organization; register)

VERGE 2015
October 26-29, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, CA

VERGE focuses on the technologies and systems that accelerate sustainability solutions across sectors in a climate-constrained world. It focuses on transformative but practical, scalable, solutions-oriented exchanges through six program tracks: distributed energy systems, next-gen buildings, resilient cities, food and water systems, sustainable mobility, and smarter supply chains. Participants come from a broad range of sectors and job functions, including buildings and facilities, fleets, IT, energy, sustainability, strategy, policymakers and the public sector. Save 10% on registration with our discount code V15LGC here:

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: