Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
February 24, 2016
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

Each beautiful, blue sky day confirms it: El Ni�o is on the way out. But scientists say that severe, rain-laden, fast-moving storms - known as atmospheric rivers - will become more frequent and stronger in California as a result of climate change, reaching 35 to 55 days each year by the end of the century. Past atmospheric rivers have been linked with dangerous flooding in Sacramento, such as when the city had to evacuate in the 1860s. Though our flood preparations have improved since then, scientists warn that stronger atmospheric rivers will likely increase the risk of severe flooding. That's why it is so important for the region to come together to understand future flood risks and reduce our vulnerabilities. At our quarterly meeting on March 3, we will be hearing from Senator Lois Wolk and other experts to learn more about regional and local preparedness for flooding - we welcome you to join us!   
News and Research
Advanced technology helps communities prepare for flash floods
Photo: Len Vaughn-Lahman/Mercury News
While it has long been possible to predict flooding on major rivers like the Sacramento River, flash flooding on smaller, urban tributaries have long been more difficult to predict. Now a sophisticated network of sensors and computers can help communities accurately anticipate flooding hours in advance, enabling better decision-making. (San Jose Mercury News)
Climate change is worsening Superstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events
Warming ocean water is increasing the amount of precipitation available to storms, while sea-level rise extends the reach of storm surges during storms like Sandy. The Colorado flooding in 2013 was preceded by very warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, from where most of the water entered the atmosphere. Climate change alters not only the odds that any given event would occur, but also the parameters and variables that determine the size and severity of a storm and the amount of precipitation, with severe consequences for people and society. (Guardian)
Why Copenhagen is building parks that turn into ponds
Photo: Cowi, Tredje Natur and Platant
Planning for a future of more frequent flooding, Copenhagen had to choose between a "gray"option of expanding existing subterranean sewer and drainage systems to accommodate higher volumes of rainwater, or a "green and blue" system that dealt with rainwater at street level through a network of parks, cloudburst boulevards, and retention zones. The "green and blue" option also cost half as much, engages the community, and improves quality of life, and that's what Copenhagen ultimately chose. (City Lab)
Sponge cities: soaking up water to reduce flood risks
Faced with the challenges of water scarcity, extreme weather, and urbanization, some cities are considering becoming "sponge cities", a re-imagination of the urban environment where almost every raindrop is captured, controlled, and reused. While digging bioswales can be a quick fix, transforming entire cities will require massive investment. Few buildings or municipalities have a greywater infrastructure to transport fresh but untreated water like rainfall, and replacing kilometres of concrete or building massive underground cisterns (plus the smart systems to control them) is expensive. But these improvements can make financial sense in the long-term, reducing costly repairs or need for new infrastructure, and bring wider co-benefits. (Guardian)

Natural disasters risk toxic exposure from forgotten waste sites

The 2011 tornado left 40% of yards in Joplin, Missouri, contaminated with lead waste from the city's former smelters and mines. California has 15 former lead smelters vulnerable to natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, and other natural disasters - the most out of any state. If known, these sites should be the focus of planning, say researchers, but some sites have been forgotten. Many states, including California, have not done planning for vulnerable smelters. (Environmental Health News)
Photo: Carl Manning/American Red Cross

Map reveals which places on Earth are most sensitive to climate change

Using satellite data collected from 2000 to 2013, researchers have created an index to measure and compare ecosystem sensitivity to climate change for every 2-square-mile block of the Earth's land surface. The resulting map shows which parts of the world will be most severely affected by climate change. The sensitivity was calculated by comparing satellite-measured vegetation ground cover with air temperature, water availability, and degree of cloud cover, and their changes over time. Sensitive areas identified include the alpine regions, tropical rainforests, parts of the boreal forest belt, the Arctic tundra, and North and South American prairie and steppes. (Tech Times, Nature)

Sea-level rise could last 10,000 years - twice as long as human history

Sea-level rise will last far longer than the entire history of human civilization to date, unless carbon emissions are cut drastically during the brief window of opportunity of the next few decades. This is because carbon emissions will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Even if temperature rise is limited to 2C, 20% of the world's population will eventually have to migrate away from coasts, as cities including New York, London, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Calcutta, Jakarta, and Shanghai would all become submerged. (Guardian)

How climate change is already changing the fashion industry

Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
A Patagonia spokesperson called climate change "a serious crisis" for its business. Uniqlo, H&M, and Gap all announced major seasonal shortfalls this year, and Macy's blames 80% of its revenue shortcomings on cold-weather goods like jackets, hats, and scarves that just didn't sell. Some fashion retailers are starting to adapt by adjusting timelines, business models, and even the concept of seasonal fashion. (Fast Co.Design
Cities face multiplying climate risks and interdependencies
The Lloyd's City Risk Index ranks and analyzes 301 global cities on their financial exposure to 18 man-made and natural hazards, including flooding, drought, and heat waves, through 2025. Wind storms is the highest-ranked  natural hazard, at #3, while flooding ($432bn) is 5th overall, and drought ($89bn) and power outages ($80bn) are 10th and 11th. Expected losses to the global financial system due to climate impacts alone are worth $4.2 trillion, which could increase to $43 trillion if we reach 6 degrees Celsius of warming. The most at-risk cities in the U.S. are New York ($90bn), Los Angeles (#2, $90bn), and San Francisco (#4, $41bn). (Lloyd's)
Federal study examines climate impacts on the Truckee River Basin
A new Bureau of Reclamation study takes an in-depth look at how climate change will affect the Truckee River Basin, which includes the Truckee and Carson Rivers and Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Temperatures are expected to increase up to 5 degrees by the end of the century, and precipitation will change from snow to rain, meaning that reservoirs will have to operate differently. Evaporation from Lake Tahoe will increase, as will the frequency and intensity of floods. Lower magnitude floods alone will increase by 20% by 2050. (Capital Public Radio)
Upcoming Opportunities
Cap and Trade: Affordable Housing and Sustainability Program (AHSC)
The AHSC Program will fund projects that will achieve GHG emissions reductions and benefit disadvantaged communities by supporting compact, infill growth patterns, encouraging active transportation and transit usage, and protecting agricultural land from sprawl development. Concept proposals are due by Wednesday, March 16, at 5pm. (SGC)
Cap and Trade: Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALCP)
The SALCP is accepting applications for $40 million in grants to fund the purchase of agricultural conservation easements development of agricultural land strategy plans, and other mechanisms that result in GHG reductions and a more resilient agricultural sector. Final applications are due May 2. (Department of Conservation)
Access Vulnerability of California's Transportation Fuel Sector to Extreme Weather - Related Events and Identify Resilience Options
This opportunity will fund research that provide an initial assessment of the vulnerability of California's transportation fuel sector to current and projected extreme weather events, in close collaboration with petroleum sector stakeholders, in order to identify resilience options, implementation strategies, and priorities for further investigation. The research will also consider opportunities for coping with barriers (financial and otherwise) to adaptation. A pre-application workshop will take place on Feb. 16, at 1pm. (More information)
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wetland Mitigation Banking Program
Wetland mitigation banking is a market-based approach that involves restoring, creating, or enhancing wetlands in one place to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location. The NRCS will provide awards of up to $1 million each to help partners develop, operate, and manage wetlands mitigation banks. NRCS is prioritizing funding to locations with a significant amount of wetland compliance requests, including the California Vernal Pool Region. Deadline: March 28, 5pm EST. (
FEMA: Pre-Disaster Mitigation and Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program provides funds for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects for the purpose of reducing overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time also reducing reliance on federal funding from actual disaster declarations. The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program provides funds so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program. Deadline: June 15. (Link)
Upcoming Events
Capitalizing Environmental Justice in the Sacramento Region
Tuesday, March 1, noon-1.30pm
UC Center Sacramento, Room LL3, 1130 K Street, Sacramento
"Capitalizing Environmental Justice in the Sacramento Region" is the first study to assess the dire conditions of environmental injustice confronting low-income communities and communities of color in California's Capital Region. The report uses a wide range of environmental justice maps and data to identify the issues, populations, and places that require collaborative action to address. The report also profiles inspiring success stories by community organizations to improve health and well-being in the region. (Register)

Webinar: Sea Level Rise and Southeast Florida Climate Change Compact

Wednesday, March 2, 11am-noon PST

Jim Murley, chief resilience officer for Miami-Dade County in southeast Florida, will explain how the county has worked with regional partners, federal and state agencies, and experts from around the world to develop a plan for addressing sea level rise. (Register)

CRC Quarterly Meeting: Focus on Flooding

Thursday, March 3, noon-3pm

West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 W Capitol Ave, West Sacramento

The Capital Region is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather patterns and flood risks. At this meeting we will discuss current El Ni�o conditions and flood preparedness at the state and local levels. Guest speakers include Senator Lois Wolk. (Register)

Visionary: Drought-Proofing California for a Water-Secure Future

Thursday, March 3, 5.30pm

Crocker Art Museum, 216 O Street, Sacramento

Journalist James Workman will speak on drought-proofing California and his award-winning book Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought. As a "Drought Doctor," Workman has advised businesses, aid agencies, civic associations, governments, and more on water scarcity and climate adaptation. (Register)

The Business of Local Energy Symposium: Optimizing Community Choice

March 4, 2016, San Jose, CA

The Center for Climate Protection is organizing this all-day symposium to exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy Programs, and to learn about current energy policy, regulations, markets, and technology. Topics include: critical elements of successful Community Choice programs; designing programs that drive economic development; opportunities and challenges of developing distributed energy resources; policy and regulatory trends; top local energy and efficiency programs; and more. (Register)

Inequality and Climate Change

Wednesday, March 9, 8.30-11.30am

Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative, 4625 44th Street, Sacramento

Please join award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa for a spirited moderated conversation about climate change. Featuring a panel discussion with almond farmer, Tom Frantz; Guadalupe Martinez, assistant executive director of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment; Adrianna Quintero, founder and director of Voces Verdes; and Amy Vanderwarken, co-director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. The event will begin with a short theater performance directed by Marie Acosta. (Register)

Webinar: How to engage people of faith on climate

Thursday, March 10, 8am

Last year there was a surge in action on climate change from faith groups - and with more than 8 in 10 people worldwide identifying with a faith, we need to keep that momentum going. This new guide, produced in partnership with international interfaith group GreenFaith, is based on pioneering international social research. It not only presents language that works with each of the world's five main faith groups (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) but also language that works across faiths - and language that doesn't. (COIN)

UC Davis and Nature Conservancy: Natural Climate Solutions Symposium

Thursday, March 10, 8am-5pm

Elks Tower, 921 11th St. #210, Sacramento

Presented by The Nature Conservancy and the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy, this symposium will engage in a discussion with government officials, scientists, and other experts regarding how California's natural and working lands may be managed and conserved to optimize climate and other public benefits in support of the state's goal to reduce GHG emissions and foster a more resilient California. Speakers include Fran Pavely and Mary Nichols. (Register)

Webinar: Climate change adaptation & wastewater infrastructure challenges

Wednesday, March 16, 10am PST

This webinar will address the considerations and challenges of water and wastewater utilities and infrastructure resilience in coastal regions. A panel of subject experts and representatives from state and local governments will share their perspectives and experiences. (AWRA)

Placer County Business Resiliency Workshop #1

Thursday, March 17, 7.30-11am

270 Technology Way, Rocklin

Some 25-40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a major disaster, and 57 percent of businesses have no disaster recovery plan. Don't let your business be a statistic! Invest in its future on Thursday, March 17, and disaster-proof your business. (Register)
Institute on Science for Global Policy conference: Water and Fire: Impact of Climate Change
April 10-11, 2016
California State University, Sacramento
Convened in partnership with California State University-Sacramento, this free, two-day conference is the culmination of a semester-long undergraduate class at CSUS about changing climate and its impact on fish, fire, and water policy in the Sacramento area.   Registration is now open. "Water and Fire" brings together three internationally recognized scientists, public and private-sector policy makers, students, and area residents to both debate and seek consensus on science-based policies related to climate change in the Sacramento area.   These debates seek to clarify scientific and technological understanding for nonspecialists who often are responsible for making or directly influencing, local, regional, national, and global policy decisions regarding many issues, including ecology (e.g., preserving native fish populations), forest fires, and water policy. (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: