most recent event – Climate Change and the Economy in the Context of COVID-19

April 2020

On April 16th, we hosted our first ever virtual workshop (“virtualshop”), joined by Yoon Kim of Four Twenty Seven, Michael McCormick of Harris & Associates, and Kate Gordon of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. During this two hour workshop, Yoon Kim and Michael McCormick discussed how COVID-19 is impacting our world, particularly the potential interplay between the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the need for public and private sector climate action, broadband access, resilience building, and adaptation funding. Kate Gordon also discussed the state’s priorities for climate moving forward.

Past Events

webinar series – Cooling the Capital Region: From Models to Implementation

The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD) and the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative (CRC) conducted a regional urban heat island study, funded by a Caltrans SB1 Adaptation Planning Grant, to research strategies and provide recommendations to reduce the Capital Region’s urban heat island (UHI) effect.

Summers are becoming hotter in the Capital Region – and some places are warming faster than others. In fact, California’s latest Climate Assessment warns that the Capital Region will be as hot as Phoenix, Arizona, in 40 years. Urban and suburban areas can often be substantially hotter than the surrounding countryside, as a result of roofs, pavements, and buildings that all trap and produce heat – a phenomenon known as the UHI effect. In the Capital Region, the heat and pollutants that make up the UHI effect originates from urban Sacramento, but their impacts extend beyond Sacramento County up to Roseville, Auburn, and El Dorado.

Because the urban heat island effect is not a natural phenomenon and is the result of human development, we also have the ability to reverse this effect and cool our communities. Solutions such as urban forestry, cool roofs, cool and permeable pavements, and electric vehicles can help cool temperatures while delivering many public health and environmental co-benefits.

Find the presentation slides and videos from all 3 webinars below!
webinar #1: Understanding Our Regional Heat Island Challenge – February 13

Everyone knows how hot it is stepping outside onto a black asphalt parking lot in the middle of the summer – but have you thought about how that heat can have cascading, regional impacts for air quality, public health, transportation, and more? The Capital Region’s urban heat island effect spreads far and wide, out from urban Sacramento to El Dorado, Folsom, Roseville, and beyond, thanks to our unique geography and weather patterns.

This webinar will introduce the unique characteristics of the Capital Region’s urban heat island effect and discuss the heat island’s implications for climate resilience, our transportation system, air quality, energy savings, and more. Cooling the Capital Region: Understanding our regional heat island challenge is the first in the webinar series presenting findings from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and the Local Government Commission’s Capital Region Urban Heat Heat Pollution Reduction Study.

Desired outcome for participants: Participants will have a better understanding of the Sacramento Region’s unique urban heat island effect and where it is the most severe. Participants will also gain learn about how urban heat affects climate resilience, transportation infrastructure, air quality, and public health, and the benefits of mitigating urban heat.

webinar #2: Strategies for Safeguarding the Transportation System – February 18

The network of roads, highways, and pavements that support our transportation system is a key contributor to the heat island effect. The transportation sector is, in turn, affected by extreme heat, which will deteriorate pavements, increase maintenance costs, and damage rails. Extreme heat will also threaten the health of people who rely on walking, biking, and public transit – disproportionately burdening low-income communities and communities of color – as well as construction and utilities workers. However, there are solutions to improve the resilience of the transportation sector and reduce its contributions to the urban heat island effect. Cool pavements can help to cool the environment and protect public health, while EVs can also help to reduce urban heat, as they emit 80% less waste heat than conventional, internal-combustion engine vehicles.

Following our first webinar of the ‘Cooling the Capital Region’ series, this webinar will focus on how cool pavements can reduce the urban heat island effect. Dr. Haider Taha will present his modeled research on how cool pavements and vehicle electrification can provide effective cooling for the Capital Region, with a special look at Sacramento’s low-income and under-served communities. Speakers will share examples of transportation-sector solutions, such as cool pavements, bus shelter shading, and more. Jonathan Parfrey, the Executive Director of Climate Resolve, will discuss Los Angeles’s ambitious heat island reduction efforts, including a pilot project testing cool pavements on residential streets. Carrie Whitlock, Strategic Planning & Innovation Program Manager of Elk Grove, will also share examples.

Desired outcome for participants: Understand opportunities and strategies to reduce the urban heat island effect and build climate resilience in the transportation sector. Understand modeling results and takeaways for the Capital Region by learning about case studies and examples from other regions.

webinar #3: Strategies for Safeguarding the Built Environment – February 26

Did you know your roof is adding extra heat to your house in the summer? Our buildings are key contributors to the urban heat island effect, as roofs absorb heat and slowly radiate it out back into the environment – as well as warming up the indoors. Cool roofs and shade trees can help to cool our environment, while also delivering benefits such as up to a 20% savings on A/C costs, improved air quality, carbon sequestration, and a more beautiful community. 

This webinar, the third in the ‘Cooling the Capital Region’ series, will introduce how improvements in our built environment across the Capital Region can help to substantially cool the Capital Region. Dr. Haider Taha will discuss his modeling results demonstrating the substantial cooling benefits of high-albedo roofs and tree canopy increases, and how they can support and enhance each other as complimentary cooling measures. Dr. Taha will also discuss how smart growth, solar PV, and other built environment improvements can help to cool the urban environment. Torin Dunnavant will address how urban heat reduction and climate action are core priorities of the Tree Foundation’s work, and how you can make a difference. 

Desired outcome for participants: Understand opportunities and strategies for the built environment to help to reduce the urban heat island effect and build resilience, with co-benefits such as improved air quality, public health, and a more beautiful community. Understand how strategies such as urban forestry, cool roofs and solar can cool down the Capital Region.