Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
December 16, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

Twenty-three years after the Rio conference established the global commitment to tackle climate change, six years after Copenhagen, we finally have it: an ambitious climate deal signed by 195 nations. That it has taken so long is a sign of the size of the challenge and the inevitable complexity of one of the few diplomatic processes where each country, however small, has a voice. That we have a deal at all is astounding. There are gaps - there is no long-term timescale or target date for peaking emissions, and no mention of human rights - but there is now a clear path forward for countries, businesses, investors, campaigners, and communities. Last month the world sent Paris strength and support, but now it is Paris that gives the world hope for the future. Thank you, Paris.

This is our last newsletter of the year, and looking back, 2015 has been an exciting year for the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative. We have welcomed new members - including the latest, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. From supporting disaster-readiness for small businesses to analyzing transportation infrastructure vulnerabilities to hosting an adaptation planning training, we are working to strengthen the resiliency and quality of life of the Capital Region. As 2015 ends on an unbelievable high, we are looking forward to busy, productive 2016. From all of us at the CRC, we'd like to wish you a happy holiday season!
News and Research
COP21: What was in the deal?
  • Nations committed to hold temperature rise to "well below 2C and endeavor to reach 1.5C." Almost all countries - 187 so far - have set non-binding emissions reduction targets (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions in the official jargon) that will take effect in 2020. More importantly, every five years, countries will review progress and - ideally - increase their targets, starting in 2018. The long-term ambition is to reach net-zero emissions sometime between 2050 and 2100.
  • Recognizes loss and damage from the impacts of climate change, but crucial to the U.S., does not hold developed countries liable.
  • Emphasizes the role of forest protection and recognizes REDD+, which provides developing countries money to keep their forests standing.
  • Developed countries reaffirmed their pledge to provide developing countries $100 billion annually by 2020 through 2025 to help them address climate change. (Guardian, C2ES)
Photo: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
COP21: What does it all mean?
Credit: Simone Golob/Corbis
  • The Economist says the deal creates "an unprecedented political recognition of the risks of climate change." Perhaps its most significant effect will be to send a signal to investors and businesses that the age of fossil fuels is over.
  • Climate change deal: five reasons to be glad, five to be gloomy
  • NPR finds out what leading climate scientists think about the climate deal, while UK scientists get more technical with the Guardian.
  • Paris is just the beginning: From activists to business leaders, every section of civil society says there is much more work to be done, including on climate adaptation. 
Behind the scenes at COP 21
  • French diplomacy, cross-ocean telephone calls, good negotiating strategies, and "should" versus "shall": world leaders learned from the mistakes atCopenhagen in 2009 to make the Paris deal happen.  (Reuters)
    Photo: Francois Mori/AP
  • The U.S. strategy: The U.S. needed a very particular kind of climate deal that did not require Congressional approval. (Guardian)
  • China-U.S. relationship key to deal: The Obama administration was able to capitalize on China's recognition that multilateral climate action was not a hindrance but an opportunity to showcase itself as a progressive superpower - while doing things it needs to do anyway to maintain stability. (LA Times)
  • The world's greatest diplomatic success: Even as delegates celebrated, there was a palpable sense of relief from the exhausted French hosts. At many points in this fortnight of marathon negotiating sessions, it looked as if a deal might be beyond reach. That it ended in success was a tribute in part to their diligence and efficiency and the efforts of the UN. (Guardian)
COP21: Other new announcements and initiatives

USDA warns of global increase in hunger at Paris's COP 21

A new USDA report on global food security and its implications for the U.S. reveals that climate change is likely to increase hunger around the world. Disruptions to production, interrupted transport conduits, and lowered food safety will decrease food availability and increase prices. Accurately identifying needs and vulnerabilities and effectively targeting adaptive practices and technologies across the full scope of the food system are central to improving global food security. (Report)

California wine growers prepare for El Ni�o

Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times
Across California's wine regions, growers are hoping cover crops and ample straw will keep their nutrient-rich topsoil in place through what may be the first very wet winter in more than four years. Frequent rains and torrential downpours could boost the cost of next year's vintages as much as 20%, said the executive director of Napa Valley Grapegrowers. (LA Times)

Forest thinning helps reduce fire behavior

In each the four instances studied, when the fire encountered areas with treatments, the fire behavior moderated significantly - enough that aerial-delivered fire retardant alone checked the fire spread long enough for suppression crews to safely access and construct control lines around the fire. (Sierra News)

Restoring California's vanished meadows can benefit climate and water goals

Photo: Amy Quinton/Capital Public Radio
Restoring meadows can help improve water quality and increase water storage, while also increasing carbon sequestration. Most mountain meadows in the Sierra Nevada are degraded. With funding from cap-and-trade, the Sierra Foothill Conservancy is working with scientists and other partners to restore meadows and quantify their carbon sequestration impacts. (Cap Radio)  

Undercover siting reveals professors-for-hire to write climate denial reports

Two prominent climate sceptics were available for hire by the hour to write reports casting doubt on climate change. Posing as consultants to fossil fuel companies, Greenpeace approached professors at Princeton and Pennsylvania State University to commission reports touting the benefits of rising carbon dioxide levels and the benefits of coal. The investigation demonstrates how, unbeknownst to the public, the fossil fuel industry could inject paid-for views about climate change into the debate, confusing the public. (Guardian
Resources and Tools
Smart Growth America releases (Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization
(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization is a new guide designed to be used by communities of all sizes to bring people and businesses back to downtown. Reinvesting in downtown can expand economic opportunity, create a culture of engagement, and make your city stand out within the region. It is also an opportunity to improve how your community achieves the triple-bottom line goals of equity, economy, and environment.  
Upcoming Opportunities
Environmental Justice Small Grants and Funding Opportunities
The California Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Small Grants are available to help eligible non-profit community groups / organizations and federally recognized Tribal governments address environmental justice issues in areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and hazards. Applications due January 22, 2016. (CalEPA)
EPA: Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Grants
This program encourages local, community-based organizations to address environmental or public health concerns within their community and to collaborate with other stakeholders to achieve effective solutions. Cooperative agreements will be awarded to local community-based organizations. One award will be made per EPA region in amounts up to $120,000 for a two-year project. Proposals are due by February 12, 2016. (Learn more)
Upcoming Events

Strategic Growth Council meeting

December 17, 1-5pm Cal EPA, Sierra Hearing Room, 1001 I Street, Sacramento

Agenda items include Fall 2015 funding awards for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC), 2015-2016 final draft guidelines for the AHSC and the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program, 2015-2016 AHSC technical assistance pilot program, and the 2015-2016 Transit and Intercity Rail and Capital Program and Low-Carbon. (SGC)

Early-Bird Registration for the New Partners for Smart Growth has been extended to December 29th!

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)

The Business of Local Energy Symposium

March 4, 2016, San Jose, CA

The Center for Climate Protection, the Local Government Commission and the Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition is organizing an all-day symposium to accelerate California's shift to a clean energy economy, driven by local government and business. The Symposium provides a forum to exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy programs, and to learn about current energy policy, regulations, markets, and technology. Help accelerate the wave of local renewables sweeping California. Please join us on March 4, 2016 in San Jose for the Business of Local Energy Symposium. (RSVP)
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: