Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
October 21, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

Governor Brown has put pen to paper and signed into law many bills that help ensure California will continue to address climate change and strengthen its economy. SB 246 by state Senator Bob Wieckowski will help create a comprehensive, coordinated approach to adaptation planning across state, regional, and local levels. Even without the reduction in petroleum use, SB 350 helps to move California forward with ambitious goals of a 50% renewable energy supply and a doubling in energy efficiency for buildings. And state agencies will have to consider climate impacts and adaptation in their planning decisions and investments (AB 1482), while city and county governments will have to do the same in general plans and hazard mitigation plans (SB 379). 
News and Research
California could learn from Australia's Response to its 13-year "Big Dry"
Photo: Eriver Hijano, Special To The Chronicle
A 13-year drought has helped Australia become more prepared than ever for a drier future. By the drought's end, farms and cities had cut their water use by 50%, and the complex water rights system was reformed. Now the majority of Australian homes have greywater recycling systems and rain barrels, which are little used in California, and water users pay up to twice the rates they did before the drought. Notably, the Australian public is in strong support of the water conservation measures, which experts contrast with the bitter recriminations thrown around in California. (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco takes lead on water recycling
San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require new developments over 250,000 square feet to ban the use of fresh tap water for non-potable uses. The ordinance requires onsite reuse systems to treat rainwater, greywater (from sinks and showers), stormwater, and blackwater (sewage) for purposes such as cooling towers, irrigation, and toilet flushing. The ordinance was developed from a voluntary program that has completed 30 projects since 2012, including the Exploratorium and the Moscone Center. Other initiatives include a water treatment system that will allow the city to save up to 5 million gallons of water per day for irrigation. (Huffington Post)
Million-gallon water users still persist despite drought
Photo: Shutterstock
In Bel Air, one household used 11.8 million gallons of water in one year, and many similar users can be found in wealthy neighborhoods such as La Jolla, Beverly Hills, and Walnut Creek. In all, 365 California households pumped more than 1 million gallons of water each during the year ending in April, including 73 homes using more than 3 million gallons each. Water agencies are doing little to restrict water use by these mega-users however. In Los Angeles, as long as you follow other usage rules, you can still use as much water as you want, thought that may be about to change. (Grist)  
Unintended side effects of water conservation
Photo: Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times
California reduced water usage 31 percent from 2014 levels this July, but water officials are also identifying some unintended consequences. With less household water flowing through sewer pipes, sanitation districts must increase maintenance on pipes to prevent corrosion and the spread of odors. In Sacramento, where the sewer is relatively flat, lower flow is increasing the amount of debris and grease collecting in pipes, increasing the risk of a stoppage as well as the amount of maintenance. Water suppliers have also seen decreases in revenue, while tree roots are invading sewer pipes to seek out any available water. (LA Times)

Winemakers turn to dry-farming grapes in California

Photo: Eric Risberg, AP
A growing minority of California growers and winemakers are using less water in their vineyards -but because it makes a better wine, not for the drought. In the early days of California winemaking, as in parts of France and Spain today, all grapes were dry-farmed, but irrigation increased with acreage. Today, some growers in Napa and Sonoma are returning to dry-farming or deficit-irrigation, believing that it helps to give grapes their taste of terroir. (SCPR)

El Ni�o could bring crop failures and famine to millions of people

At least 10 million of the world's poorest people are set to go hungry this year because of crop failures caused by one of the strongest El Ni�o climatic events on record, Oxfam has warned. El Ni�o is already causing prolonged drought in many parts of the world, including many vulnerable countries without the systems to cope, such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Indonesia, and more. El Ni�o brings heavy rainfall and flooding to some parts of the world and drought to others, and could become more frequent due to climate change.  (Guardian)

Famous Mount Blanc glacier now a site to witness climate change

Photo: Getty Images
The Mer de Glace, rising to 6,276 feet near Chamonix in the French Alps, has been shrinking at a record pace for the last 30 years. In 1988 it took just 3 steps to reach the ice; today tourists must descend a stair of 370 steps. Tourists who once came to see the massive ice cave now visit to see the effects of climate change. (Bloomberg)

South Carolina flooding is sixth thousand-year flood event this year

The flooding in South Carolina is at least the sixth 1-in-1,000 year rain event in the U.S. since 2010. So many 1-in-1,000 year rainfalls is unprecedented, according to global insurance firm Aon Benfield. According to a study by Climate Central, 40 of the 48 contiguous states have recorded an uptick in heavy rain events in the past several decades. (USA Today)

How owl flight can help wind turbines become more efficient

Owls fly in deadly silence thanks to the unique structure of their wing feathers. Now scientists are looking at imitating that surface structure, using 3D printing, for wind turbine blades. Because turbine speeds are currently heavily braked to reduce noise, designing a silent turbine could greatly increase electricity generation. (Link)
Upcoming Opportunities
Job opening: Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
The Local Government Commission (LGC) is recruiting to fill the Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator position for the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative. This position will focus on assisting local governments to meet goals within the California Long-term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan. The coordinator is responsible for developing and disseminating local government energy efficiency best practices, tracking statewide progress, facilitating partnerships between local government staff, and more. Application deadline is November 6, or until the position is filled. (More information)
100 Resilient Cities Challenge
Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the challenge seeks to find 100 cities worldwide that are ready to build resilience to the social, economic, and physical challenges of climate change. Cities will receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer, assistance in developing a resilience strategy, access to innovative tools, and more. The application deadline is Nov. 24. (Link)
Upcoming Events

Webinar: Building Resilient States: A Framework for Agencies

Thursday, October 22, 1-2pm

Building Resilient States is a new resource to help stakeholders integrate land use and transportation issues into their states' conversations about resilience. Disaster preparedness professionals can use it to make strategic decisions and build communities that are more resilient from the ground up. Hear from Smart Growth America's policy experts, national resilience scholars, and staff from state disaster preparedness agencies about how land use and transportation strategies are helping to make their state more resilient. (Register)

Caltrans' Sustainability, Livability and Economy Goal

Friday, October, 23, 1.40-3pm

Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis

As part of a new strategic plan, Caltrans is adopting a new Sustainability, Livability and Economy goal that represents a major shift away from its primary focus on highways to a vision of an efficient multimodal transportation system. This presentation will detail the Caltrans strategic plan objectives, performance measures to evaluate progress, and strategies for implementing the sustainability goal. In addition, new areas of innovation, stakeholder engagement, and research needs will be discussed. (UC Davis)

Public Workshop on State Actions to Prepare for Climate Change

Monday, October 26, 10am-noon

Rosenfeld Hearing Room, California Energy Commission

Released by the Natural Resources Agency, Safeguarding California: Implementation Action Plans provides a blueprint for all the actions taking place across state government to help California address the impacts of climate change. The report sets forth how the state will help residents, communities, and natural systems adapt to the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change. The report also analyzes what actions have already been taken, details steps that still need to be taken across ten sectors, identifies agencies or groups of agencies to take the lead, and prepares an implementation plan for necessary state actions. Public comments on the plan are due on November 30, with the final report released in December. (Report

VERGE City Summit: Partnerships and Financing for Resilient Infrastructure

Monday, October 26, 9am-5pm, San Jose, CA

Part of VERGE's four-day event on the technologies and systems that accelerate sustainability solutions across sectors in a climate-constrained world, City Summit brings together public and private sector leaders to address how cities and companies can partner to finance and implement resilient city infrastructure. It's a powerful, one-day working session designed to accelerate scalable, replicable solutions to pressing urban challenges. Save 10% on registration for VERGE 2015 with discount code V15LGC. (Register

2015 Southwest Climate Science Summit

November 2-3, 2015

Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, 300 J St., Sacramento

Hosted by the Southwest Climate Science Center, this summit brings together managers and scientists from across the Southwest to learn about emerging climate science, explore adaptive management, share climate-smart conservation results, and discuss management and policy responses. Concurrent sessions focus on Southwest ecosystems, tribal climate adaptation planning, decision support, effective partnership models, and more. (SWCSC)

Climate-Smart Conservation Training

November 4, 2015

Delta King, 1000 Front Street, Sacramento

The California Landscape Conservation Cooperative is hosting a free one-day adaptation training based on the guide Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice. The course will provide an introduction to climate adaptation as applied to conservation, crafting climate-informed conservation goals, and managing for climate-related uncertainty. To register, please contact [email protected] or 304.876.7438. (LCC)

Webinar: Climate Action through Conservation

Friday, November 6, 1-2.30pm

Come and learn about a new, replicable portfolio of tools, policies, and economic incentives developed by the Nature Conservancy to help counties take climate action through natural conservation and land use. The initiative provides tools to assess how land-use scenarios, zoning, and policies for natural and working lands and urban forests will impact carbon stocks, GHG sequestration potential, and other conservation and climate benefits. It also helps counties and local governments to align positive conservation and climate outcomes with emerging state and local initiatives. Please RSVP to Alex Leumer ([email protected]) by October 31. 

Region Rising: An inaugural collaborative conference

Friday, November 20, 9am, Sacramento, CA

Region Rising is dedicated to dreaming big about what our region's future will be, and having challenging discussions on how each of us can bring it to life, now. The goal is to create one massive collision spot where more than 1,000 people come together from all areas - private, public, and community sectors - to mix and mingle and collaborate in an idea-rich, high-value series of conversations that turn ideas into action. It is a day dedicated to helping us all better understand how and why we arrived at this point, and what we ought to do to make it even better - for everyone. (Register)

Registration for New Partners for Smart Growth is now open!

February 11-13, 2016, Portland, Oregon

The 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will focus on practical tools and innovative strategies for creating great communities, and will include more than 80 plenaries, breakouts, focused trainings, experiential learning opportunities, and implementation workshops. Climate change-related topics include regional collaboration (featuring the CRC and ARCCA), green infrastructure, integration with hazard mitigation planning, community solar, and more. Early-bird rates are available through December 4th. (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: