Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
January 13, 2016
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

As we return to our work at the start of the New Year, we would like to reflect on CRC's accomplishments and look forward to what 2016 has in store. First, please join us in welcoming Kathleen Ave from the Sacramento Municipal District as the new CRC Chair. We would also like to thank Larry Greene of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District for his dedication over the past several years as the Chair of the CRC and for his endless enthusiasm and commitment to making our region more resilient. 

2015 was an exciting year for CRC - we held outreach and engagement meetings with key stakeholders from throughout the region, engaged in and supported ARCCA's efforts, hosted the NOAA Adaptation Planning Workshop, and nearly tripled our membership! We also embarked on an ambitious effort to develop adaptation and regional resiliency communication materials for elected officials and other key leaders, which we will continue to work on in 2016. We invite you to review the full list of CRC's accomplishments in 2015 here. Stay tuned for our next newsletter where we will share our 2016 goals and activities.

Thank you for your continued interest and engagement in helping create a more resilient region. We look forward to working with you in 2016.

News and Research
Why 2015 may be remembered as a turning point for energy
Photo: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images
The past year hints at a historic transition for the U.S. energy sector. From dramatic price plunges for oil and natural gas to the significant emergence of industrial batteries for energy storage, 2015 was on a momentous course even before the world came together in Paris. While it's not always a simple story, the overall tenor of these changes is clear - Americans are moving into a world that will get less of its energy from fossil fuels, that will embrace clean or low emission sources of electricity, and that will write this into policy. (Washington Post)
The eight biggest climate story lines of the year
Was 2015 the most influential year ever in terms of climate change? The agreements struck at the Paris climate talks gave the world hope that nations could finally get their acts together to cut carbon emissions and with them, the risks climate change poses. On top of being the hottest year on record, 2015 also saw a significant carbon dioxide milestone passed, sea level rise projections raised, and one of the strongest El Niño's on record. (Climate Central)
2015 is the U.S.'s second warmest year and the third wettest too
Photo: YouraPechkin ©
2015 is officially the second-hottest year ever recorded for the U.S., and likely to be the hottest year globally. An incredibly hot December was not only record warm, but it was also record wet - the first time a month has set both records simultaneously. This was the 19th consecutive year that the overall U.S. temperature exceeded the 20th century average. And even with the record-breaking drought, 2015 was also the third wettest year for the U.S., reflecting the extremes of precipitation likely with climate change. ( Scientific American)
2016: What to look for on energy and climate
2016 will kick off with a sense of optimism about climate change after the success of the Paris climate talks in December. In the U.S., that may mean more enthusiasm for commitments to renewables and other lower-carbon energy sources, as low oil prices make the future of fossil fuels production in the U.S. and Canada less certain. However, low oil prices also increased driving and gasoline consumption.  (Climate Central)

All major petroleum companies knew about climate change in the 1980's

Photo: Morten Hval/Associated Press
The American Petroleum Institute together with the nation's largest oil companies ran a task force to monitor and share climate research between 1979 and 1983, indicating that the oil industry, not just Exxon alone, had long known of the link between burning fossil fuels and global warming. (Inside Climate News) What's more, as the oil industry publicly discredited climate science and fought new regulations to address climate change, they were also quietly safeguarding their own billion-dollar infrastructure projects from rising sea levels, warming temperatures, and increasing storm severity. (LA Times)

As El Niño looms with promise of rain, California struggles over water storage

Photo: Max Whittaker for The New York Times
California must decide how best to upgrade its aging water system while balancing the needs of farmers, cities, and the environment. While many farmers support dams, others say that dams would supply relatively little water for the money, as the best sites have already been dammed long ago. Aquifer recharging through flooded agricultural fields - while growing a healthy crop - is another option. Experts say that Californians need to move aggressively to more modern methods of water management, reducing waste to a minimum, and learning to live within the limits imposed by an arid environment. (NYTimes)

El Niño makes snow now, but warmer winters still ahead

The El Niño weather pattern that's fueling a snowy start to 2016 for the Tahoe region is among the strongest on record and likely to continue bringing storms. But the long-term climate prognosis for the Sierra Nevada is more troubling. And if this year's El Niño brings warm, wet weather, it could generate rain instead of snow in the mountains. (Reno Gazette-Journal)

Is agriculture in developed countries more vulnerable to heat and drought?

Photo: McGill
Drought and extreme heat reduced cereal harvests in recent decades by an average of 9% to 10% worldwide - but by nearly 20% in the developed nations of North America, Europe, and Australasia. Researchers hypothesize that impacts may be greater in developed countries due to the dominance of large farms with uniform crops and farming methods, while developing countries tend to have small farms with diverse crops. Farmers in wealthier countries also rarely depend on harvests directly for food, and typically have access to crop insurance, thus leading them to prioritize maximizing yields rather than reducing risks. (McGill)

New 16.3 MW solar plant will supply 14% of UC Davis's electricity demand

UC Davis, together with San Jose-based SunPower, has built a 16.3-megawatt solar power plant on a 62-acre site south of Interstate 80. The largest solar installation in the UC system, the project will reduce UC Davis's carbon footprint by 9%, approximately 14,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The project uses innovative solar panel cleaning technology that can reduce water use by 75% and may improve system performance by 15%. (UC Davis
Resources and Tools
SB 350 & AB 802: Impacts and Implications for Local Governments
On December 3, the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative hosted a webinar with CEC Commissioners David Hochschild and Andrew McAllister to dive into two key new laws, SB 350 and AB 802. The webinar focused on the key takeaways of the new laws, particularly how they impact local governments, and features an in-depth Q&A session with the Commissioners. View the webinar recording (YouTube), or download the presentations from Hochschild and McAllister
Summary of Oversight and Informational Hearings of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Efforts in California
This document summarizes four oversight and informational hearings on climate adaptation held by the State Senate Environmental Quality Committee in 2015, as well as three important bills on climate adaptation (SB 246, SB 379, and AB 1482) that the hearings helped inform. The first hearing focused on the state government's activities on climate adaptation. Local and regional representatives, including ARCCA members, testified on the importance of collaboration, aligning policy and investment, and needs that the state should fulfill. (Report)
Upcoming Opportunities
Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program
This program seeks to develop community-based stewardship of local natural resources, address water quality issues in priority watersheds.  Its goal is to meet the conservation needs of important species and habitats, providing measurable and meaningful conservation and educational outcomes. There are $2.5 million in grants available, and applications are due February 3, 2016. (NFWF)
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)
Science and Technology Policy Fellowship
The California Council of Science and Technology's Science and Technology Policy Fellowship provides a unique professional development opportunity to scientists and engineers. The fellowships are ideal for applicants who are interested in improving the interface between science and legislative decision-making. Deadline: February 29, 2016. (CCST)
USDA: $350M to protect and restore grasslands, wetlands, and working lands
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program is providing $350 million through to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands, and wetland. Native American Tribes, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to purchase conservation easements. (USDA)
Upcoming Events

EPA Webinar - Beyond the Light Touch: Next Steps for Improving Energy Efficiency in Multi-Family Affordable Housing

Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 10-11.30am

This webinar will explore challenges and opportunities faced by programs that aim to improve energy efficiency in multifamily affordable housing, with an emphasis on achieving multiple benefits through deeper retrofits. By focusing on facilitating and incentivizing action by building owners, a growing number of states and organizations have found ways to reduce household energy cost burdens and provide multiple benefits that go beyond those achieved by standard "light touch" efficiency improvements. (Register)

Local Government Commission: Groundwater Sustainability Training

January 21, 26, and 28

With recent legislation taking effect in the new year, you need the background and tools to make informed decisions about sustainable groundwater management. The Local Government Commission is offering workshops for local agency staff to gain a better understanding of groundwater management in their region, impacts of recent legislation, and tools for effective stakeholder engagement. The trainings will take place in Marysville (Jan. 28), Stockton (Jan. 26), and Reedley (Jan. 21). (Register)

ARB Public Workshop: FY2016-2017 Funding Plan for Low Carbon Transportation Investments and the Air Quality Improvement Plan

Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 9.30am-1pm

Coastal Hearing Room, 2nd Floor, CalEPA, 1001 I Street, Sacramento

In preparation for receiving GHG Reduction Funds from the FY 2016-17 State Budget, ARB staff will develop a joint Funding Plan for the Low Carbon Transportation and AQIP for the FY 2016-17 funding cycle. At the workshop staff will discuss potential project categories, an implementation update on projects included in previous funding plans, and more. (Notice)

COP21 and its effect on CalTrans

Friday, January 29, 2016, 10am-noon

Secretary of State Building Auditorium, 1500 11th St., Sacramento

What were the key takeaways from the United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris? What do we need to plan for? How does this effect sustainability in CalTrans? Join Dr. Steve Cliff of CalTrans and Dr. Christopher Field and Dr. Katharine Mach from the Carnegie Institute for Science. Additional details to follow.

Registration is still open for the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference!

February 11-13, 2016, Portland, Oregon

Don't miss this opportunity to register for the 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference. This year's 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 ARCAA), green infrastructure, integration with hazard mitigation planning, community solar, and more. Regular registration rates are available through January 21st. (Register)

Sacramento Region Environmental Justice Tour

March 2016

The Environmental Justice Coalition for water is organizing an environmental justice community bus tour and training in March 2016. Participants will learn about local environmental justice issues from direct, lived experience of low-income and people-of-color communities in Sacramento and Yolo counties. Community hosts will lead the tour of affected communities. Several prominent environmental justice leaders from around the state will lead remaining sections of the training and group discussions on cross-cutting themes, collaborative, community-based environmental enforcement models and more. Use the link to see the proposed agenda, express your interest and share your availability. (Link)
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: