Capital Region Climate News & Resources: August 6, 2019

Collaborative Update

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative would like to welcome our newest member, the City of Elk Grove! With a population of over 170,000 people, Elk Grove is the second largest city in Sacramento County and recently adopted a Climate Action Plan in February. Planning Commissioner Mackenzie Wieser is also a member of the Mayors’ Climate Commission on Climate Change.


 ‘People are in danger’: the prisoners feeling the effects of US climate crisis
At least 23 prisoners in Texas have died from hyperthermia – excessive body temperature – since 1998. A 2015 paper found widespread risk of heat-related illnesses among the 2.2 million people imprisoned in the US, due to advanced age, mental health problems and complicating medications. The Texas prison system has no plan to cope with global heating trends, and efforts to alleviate the overheating of prisons were recently stymied by state lawmakers. Currently, 75 out of 104 state-run prisons in Texas do not have air conditioning and the TDCJ has said it would need to spend $1.2bn to remedy this situation. (Guardian) Photo: Chantal Valery/Getty Images


Here’s how hot your hometown will feel by midcentury
The annual number of days with National Weather Service heat indices above 100F is expected to double by mid-century, according to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The number of days that “feel like” 105F or higher is set to triple, with the number of people exposed to “off-the-charts” temperatures growing exponentially. This means days with conditions so extreme that they exceed the current heat index range, which stops at 127F. Days like this have so far affected less than 1 percent of the US by area, but by mid-century, up to a quarter of the US could feel “off-the-charts” heat at least one day a year. An interactive map allows you to explore how the heat index will change in your area depending on the level of climate action. (Grist, UCS) Photo: Ralph Freso / Getty Images North America


 ‘Climate apartheid’: UN expert says human rights may not survive
The world is increasingly at risk of “climate apartheid”, where the rich pay to escape heat and hunger caused by the escalating climate crisis while the rest of the world suffers, a report from a UN human rights expert has said. Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the impacts of global heating are likely to undermine not only basic rights to life, water, food, and housing for hundreds of millions of people, but also democracy and the rule of law. “The risk of community discontent, of growing inequality, and of even greater levels of deprivation among some groups, will likely stimulate nationalist, xenophobic, racist and other responses. Maintaining a balanced approach to civil and political rights will be extremely complex.” The report to the UN human rights council (HRC) concludes: “Human rights might not survive the coming upheaval.” (Guardian) Photo: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images


During a historic heat wave, researchers make the case for sustainable cooling
Amid the hottest summer on record for various regions, a team of researchers affiliated with the UN released a report calling on entrepreneurs and politicians to fund affordable ways for people to cool off without hurting the planet. This topic, known as “sustainable cooling,” is vital for curbing GHG emissions that result from inefficient air conditioners and refrigerators. “Cooling for all is not simply a clarion call to put an air conditioner in every home,” said Rachel Kyte, the CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, the team behind the report. “It’s an equity issue. It’s an efficiency issue. It’s a productivity issue.” (Mother Jones) Photo: Charlie Kaijo/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire


See-through film rejects 70 percent of incoming solar heat
MIT engineers have developed a heat-rejecting film that could be applied to a building’s windows to reflect up to 70 percent of the sun’s incoming heat. At temperatures above 85F (32 C), the film acts as an “autonomous system” to reject heat. Researchers estimate that if every exterior-facing window in a building were covered in this film, air conditioning and energy costs could drop by 10 percent. The film’s heat-rejecting properties come from tiny microparticles made from a type of phase-changing material that shrinks when exposed to temperatures of 85F or higher. Below 85F, the film is highly transparent, but above 85F, the microparticles give the normally transparent film a more translucent or frosted look. Applied to windows in the summer, the film could passively cool a building while still letting in a good amount of light. (MIT) Photo: MIT Researchers


Science Friday Podcast: Hot enough for you? Cooling the worsening urban heat island
As the globe warms, urban heat islands are projected to become more pronounced, with even hotter temperatures and a more stark urban-rural divide. But scientists and engineers have been working on solutions to reflect the sun before it can raise temperatures, such as cooler roofing materials and heat-reflecting pigments, cool pavements, green roofs, and neighborhood green space. Ronnen Levinson of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory joins Science Friday to describe what we know about cool infrastructure, while Global Cool Cities Alliance executive director Kurt Shickman explains how cities around the world are implementing solutions—and why it may take something as bureaucratic as building codes to see mass adoption of cooling strategies. (Science Friday)


Berkeley became first US city to ban natural gas. Here’s what that may mean for the future
Berkeley this week became the first city in the United States to ban natural, fossil gas hook-ups in new buildings. The landmark ordinance was passed into law after being approved unanimously by the city council the previous week amid resounding public support. Although Berkeley may be pushing the vanguard, the city is hardly alone. Governments across the US and Europe are looking at strategies to phase out gas. More than 50 cities and counties in California are now considering similar policies to Berkeley’s, either banning or limiting gas and incentivizing full electrification in new buildings. This is significant as new research suggests that natural gas supply systems are leaking far more methane emissions than previously estimated. (Guardian)


Paris to plant mini urban forests to combat climate change
Paris will be planting a series of urban forests as a way to combat climate change. The mini forests will center around the Gare de Lyon, the Palais Garnier, and pathway along the banks of the Seine river, according to Dezeen. The goal, says Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, is to decrease carbon emissions and curb rising temperature, which have already been rippling across Europe this summer. (Curbed)


Living in the first passive house highrise
Over the last 10 years, the passive house, a form of green design that originated in Germany, has surged in popularity. By creating an airtight building envelope with thick, insulated walls and triple-paned windows, passive houses can eliminate the need for heating and cooling systems in temperate climates and greatly minimize it in a place like New York. But applying those design principles to the construction of a 26-story high-rise is more complicated than it is in a single-family home. The House, a 26-story residential tower, is designed to consume 60 to 80 percent less energy than a traditional high-rise, for a projected annual savings of 882 tons of carbon dioxide. (NYT)


Climate change anxiety: Researcher shares tips to avoid feeling overwhelmed
Michele Koppes, Ph.D., is a geographer and associate professor at the University of British Columbia, where she’s spent the last 20 years watching massive glaciers melt away as a result of the climate crisis. She, like many people who follow the news about global warming and its effects, is aware of climate change anxiety, the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness about the fate of our planet. The changes can be “disheartening,” she tells Inverse, but she doesn’t believe that feeling anxious about climate change is the only direction that people have to go in. Here, she shares how she feels about melting glaciers, coping with climate change anxiety, and the importance of small climate change interventions amid systemic changes. (Inverse)


‘Climate grief’: Fears about planet’s future weigh on Americans’ mental health
Recently therapists have been seeing patients with anxiety or depression related to climate change and the Earth’s future. Often these patients want to do something to reduce global warming but are overwhelmed and depressed by the scope of the problem and difficulty in finding solutions. And they’re anxious about how the Earth will change over the rest of their or their children’s lifetimes. (KHN) Photo: Ikon Images/Getty Images

Tools and Resources

Climate Ready Communities: A Practical Guide to Building Climate Resilience
Most local governments find themselves facing difficult climate resilience challenges with few financial resources or help from state or federal governments. Climate resilience planning can be intimidating and overwhelming. This guide will help practitioners break down the process into manageable steps. (Climate Ready Communities)


Recording available: Wildfire Resilience in California: State of the Space
ARCCA hosted a learning session on wildfire resilience in California with speakers Jennifer Montgomery (Director, Governor’s Forest Management Taskforce) and Nuin-Tara Key (Climate Resilience Program Director, Office of Planning and Research). The recording and presentation are now available. (ARCCA)


Heat, Fire, Water – How Climate Change Has Created a Public Health Emergency
This new report from the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) provides a summary narrative of the key findings from three transformative reports on climate change released in 2018 – the 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Global Warming of 1.5 ºC Special Report, and the U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment. (PSR)

Upcoming Opportunities

Cal-Adapt User Survey
Cal-Adapt wants to hear from you! The Cal-Adapt team continually strives to make its climate data visualizations, interpretation, and download tools more useful. This survey will expand the Cal-Adapt team’s understanding of who uses Cal-Adapt and for what purposes, to expand the tools available, build a seamless user experience, and support climate change adaptation across California. Please fill out a survey to let us know what tools would help you understand California climate change. (Cal-Adapt)


Job opportunity: Deputy Director, Clean Vehicle Assistance Program
The Beneficial State Foundation is hiring a Deputy Director to lead the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program, which is scaling up to serve thousands of low-income Californians with grants and fair financing for the purchase of clean vehicles. The Foundation is seeking a visionary and pragmatic leader with a strong commitment to direct service that furthers economic and environmental justice. The ideal candidate will have experience leading nonprofit programs, executing government grants, mentoring and growing a team, and scaling grantmaking initiatives. Deadline: August 16, 8am PST. (BSF)


Job opportunity: Campaign Manager & Field Coordinators at Cool Davis
In partnership with the City of Davis, Cool Davis is developing and implementing cutting edge programming to encourage rapid reduction of GHG emissions at the household and neighborhood level. Cool Davis offers seasoned professionals as well as college students and recent graduates access to valuable experience in sustainability and resilience fields. Cool Davis is hiring a Campaign Manager and two Campaign Field Coordinators to direct and implement the Cool Homes and Cool Solutions Campaigns to reduce GHG emissions in the areas of Transportation, Home Energy, and Consumption (consumer choices). The Campaign Manager is responsible for the overall development, planning, and implementation of campaign strategy, as well as the activities of Field Coordinators and their volunteers. The Campaign Field Coordinator will help implement the campaigns using community based social marketing principles and community engagement strategies, train and direct volunteers, conduct events, and more. (Cool Davis)


Launch your social purpose career with CivicSpark!
CivicSpark, a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program, is recruiting 90 Fellows who are interested in serving with local governments in California to address a broad range of resiliency issues. Fellows implement local projects on topics including sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, climate action planning, water conservation, drought response, affordable housing, and rural-broadband. Fellows gain exceptional career experience and training to become future leaders in California’s response to emerging environmental and social equity challenges. CivicSpark is looking for upcoming/recent college graduates who want to gain real-world experience, launch a social purpose career, and make a lasting impact! (Link)


American Geophysical Union (AGU): Thriving Earth Exchange
The AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange is seeking several US communities interested in advancing their priorities through collaborative science. AGU is an Earth and space science membership society of over 60,000 members who study everything from the center of the Earth to the surface of the Sun and everything in between. For example, communities who have worked with our scientists have vetted a 350ppm GHG emissions target; developed a drought vulnerability assessment; assessed flood vulnerability of a food distribution center, and saved millions in unnecessary remediation costs when creating a recreational park. Join over 98 communities that are advancing their priorities in climate resilience, pollution, natural resource management, or natural hazards! Learn more about our program here. Applications for the September cohort will be considered on a rolling basis until 16 August 2019. We are also considering applications on a rolling basis for a December cohort until 15 November 2019. (Thriving Earth Exchange)


Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator Grant
Through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Nature Conservancy is announcing a request for proposals for two additional rounds of grant funding for projects with potential to substantially increase the use of natural climate solutions. This grant-funding program is focused on helping kick-start innovative and scalable approaches to capturing GHG emissions by using natural and working lands in the US. Deadline: August 16th, 2019. (TNC)


Multifamily Housing Program (MHP) – Notice of Funding Availability
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has $178 million in funds for the Multifamily Housing Program (MHP) to assist the new construction, rehabilitation and preservation of permanent and transitional rental housing for lower income households. Deadline: August 20. (HCD)


Sacramento County offers $1 million in grants to local non-profits
The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will provide $1 million through the 2019 Transient Occupancy Tax Grant Program to support nonprofit organizations located in Sacramento County that carry out community-based programs and/or services in the areas of economic and workforce development, arts and culture, community development, or health and human services. There will be two grant workshops held on July 24, 5.30-7pm, and July 26, 11.30am-1pm. Applications will be accepted online from July 26 to August 26, 2019. (Sacramento County)


Solar Energy Innovation Network: Solar in Rural Communities and Commercial-Scale Solar
The Solar Energy Innovation Network program is seeking applications for collaborative research projects to address challenges related to solar adoption in rural communities, multifamily housing, community solar projects, and commercial buildings. Teams are encouraged to include state and local governments, utilities, industry, regulators, nonprofits, and academics. Innovation Network teams will receive technical assistance and facilitation support from NREL and other expert partners for 15 to 18 months, as well as funding. Round 1 focused on grid integration, resilience, and reliability. Deadline: September 4. (DOE)


Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program Easement and Planning Grants
The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program makes strategic investments to protect agricultural lands from conversion to more GHG-intensive uses. Easement grants have no maximum limit and aim to protect important agricultural lands under threat of conversion through the acquisition of voluntary, permanent agricultural conservation easements. Planning grants provide up to $250,000 to local and regional governments to work closely with local stakeholders to develop local and regional land use policies and implementation activities that integrate agricultural land conservation in a way that reduces or avoids GHG emissions, supports job creation, and benefits AB 1550 populations. Final deadline: Friday, September 13. (SGC)


USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Sustainable Agricultural Systems Grant
Applications must focus on approaches that promote transformational changes in the U.S. food and agriculture system within the next 25 years. The program seeks creative and visionary applications that take a systems approach, and that will significantly improve the supply of abundant, affordable, safe, nutritious, and accessible food, while providing sustainable opportunities for expansion of the bioeconomy. These approaches must demonstrate current and future social, behavioral, economic, health, and environmental impacts. Deadline: Sept. 26. (USDA)


California Air Resources Board: Community Air Grant
This grant program will support community-based organizations to work actively with local governments to identify, evaluate, and reduce air pollution and exposure to harmful emissions in their communities. The program will help support AB 617, which established a community-based framework to improve air quality and reduce exposure to toxic air pollutants in California communities most impacted by air pollution. Deadline: Sept. 30. (CARB)


SB 2: $123 million available for Housing Planning Grants
The Department of Housing and Community Development has $123 million available under the SB2 Planning Grants Program (PGP). The PGP will help local governments prepare, adopt, and implement plans that accelerate housing production; streamline the approval of housing development affordable to owner and renter households at all income levels; facilitate housing affordability, particularly for lower- and moderate-income households; and promote development consistent with the State Planning Priorities. This a is a non-competitive, over-the-counter grant program that can fund a range of projects including targeted general plan updates, community plans and specific plans, zoning updates and by-right zoning for housing, streamlined environmental analyses, and process updates to streamline zoning. Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2019. (HCD)


Ford Foundation: Challenge Inequality Grant Program
The Ford Foundation is currently accepting brief pitches for ideas and projects that challenge inequality in their seven program areas – one of which is Natural Resources and Climate Change. Past projects have included communications assistance to promote community land and forestry rights as effective climate change solutions, and promoting learning exchanges on forestry and climate change. Project ideas can be submitted on a rolling basis. (Ford Foundation)


Funding: Acorn Foundation’s general support grants for environmental justice groups
The Acorn Foundation is dedicated to supporting community-based organizations working to advance environmental conservation, sustainability and environmental justice. The Foundation is particularly interested in small, innovative community-based projects that engage in community organizing to advocate for environmental health and justice; preserve and restore habitats supporting biological diversity; and prevent or remedy toxic pollution. The Foundation has an open Letter of Inquiry process for general support grants to grassroots organizations. (Link)
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