Capital Region Climate News & Resources: October 26, 2020

Collaborative Update



How climate migration will reshape America
Census data show us how Americans move: toward heat, toward coastlines, toward drought, regardless of evidence of increasing storms and flooding and other disasters. The sense that money and technology can overcome nature has emboldened Americans. Where money and technology fail, though, it inevitably falls to government policies — and government subsidies — to pick up the slack. Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly one in two — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water. For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life. (NYT)
New climate maps show a transformed United States
See how the North American places where humans have lived for thousands of years will shift and what changes are in store for your county. According to new data from the Rhodium Group analyzed by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, warming temperatures and changing rainfall will drive agriculture and temperate climates northward, while sea level rise will consume coastlines and dangerous levels of humidity will swamp the Mississippi River valley. Taken with other recent research showing that a northward shift of most habitable climate in North America and an increase in the incidence of large fires, this suggests that the climate crisis will profoundly interrupt the way we live and farm in the United States. (ProPublica)
Every place has its own climate risk: Interactive Map
For most of us, climate change can feel like an amorphous threat — with the greatest dangers lingering ominously in the future and the solutions frustratingly out of reach. So perhaps focusing on today’s real harms could help us figure out how to start dealing with climate change. Here’s one way to do that: by looking at the most significant climate threat unfolding in your own backyard. This resources of climate threats uses data from Four Twenty Seven, a company that assesses climate risk for financial markets. NYT selected the highest risk for each county to build this map and combined it with separate data from Four Twenty Seven on wildfire risks. (NYT)

‘They’re suffering now’: Americans scramble to adapt to daily reality of climate crisis
When most people think of adaptation to the climate crisis, they think of governments building up infrastructure to protect property against rising seas or the agriculture industry finding new ways of growing crops with different rain patterns. But individuals are already adapting – whether they are buying air purifiers, installing air conditioning to fight the heat or spending big to evacuate ahead of intensifying hurricanes. Americans around the country – if they have the resources – are dedicating more of their income to living with extreme weather fueled by climate change. The most vulnerable are being left behind, in the absence of government aid. (Guardian)

Design for the future when the future is bleak
Amid pandemics and environmental disasters, designers and architects have been forced to imagine a world in which the only way to move forward is to look back. (NYT)
How California became ground zero for climate disasters
California is one of America’s marvels. By moving vast quantities of water and suppressing wildfires for decades, the state has transformed its arid and mountainous landscape into the richest, most populous and bounteous place in the nation. But now, those same feats have given California a new and unwelcome category of superlatives. The same manufactured landscapes that have enabled California’s tremendous growth, building the state into a $3 trillion economy that is home to one in 10 Americans, have also left it more exposed to climate shocks, experts say. And those shocks will only get worse. (NYT)
1 in 7 Americans have experienced dangerous air quality due to wildfires this year
An NPR analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air quality data found that nearly 50 million people in California, Oregon and Washington live in counties that experienced at least one day of “unhealthy” or worse air quality during wildfire season so far this year. That’s 1 in 7 Americans, an increase of more than 9 million people compared with 2018, the worst previous year. More than 17 million people — the most ever recorded during fire season — live in counties where air quality reached levels deemed “very unhealthy” or “hazardous.” (NPR)
5 ways to future-proof a building
Buildings last a long time, so their owners try to plan for the future. They can see that the number of extreme weather events is on the rise and that the cost of powering a building with fossil fuels could rise as governments get around to tackling climate change. “It’s a form of future-proofing, a way building owners can make sure they are on the right side of these various trends,” said Alexi Miller, an associate director of the New Buildings Institute. (Grist)
America after climate change, mapped
In 100 years, what will a United States transformed by climate change look like? At this point, you don’t have to use much imagination to predict what’s coming: Temperatures will continue to climb; sea levels will continue to rise. And, by the 2060s, global migration patterns will bring 100 million new people into the country, who will settle from coast to coast. Researchers designed a series of maps for an online collection dubbed The 2100 Project: An Atlas for A Green New Deal. The website uses a variety of projected and current data sources to sketch out the country’s possible fate, displaying its geography in economic, ecological, agricultural, and ideological terms. Collectively, the images provide visual evidence that it’s not too late for grand interventions to make a fundamental difference. (City Lab)
The worst-case climate-change scenario could look like this. We need to avert it
Sometimes you need to confront the worst possible outcome in order to avert it. The raging wildfires and Atomic tangerine skies that have recently plagued the western US are yet another example of the impact of climate change. And, they may be a mere prelude to more disturbing developments on the horizon. Experts at the World Economic Forum have developed climate scenarios for the year 2100 ranging from best- to worst-case. They created a visualization of global temperature change and impacts resulting from the worst-case scenario, depicting extreme heat, rising sea levels and dramatically altered local climates. (WEF)
Climate disruption is now locked in. The next moves will be crucial.
Decades of growing crisis are already locked into the global ecosystem and cannot be reversed. This means the kinds of cascading disasters occurring today — drought in the West fueling historic wildfires that send smoke all the way to the East Coast, or parades of tropical storms lining up across the Atlantic to march destructively toward North America — are no longer features of some dystopian future. They are the here and now, worsening for the next generation and perhaps longer, depending on humanity’s willingness to take action. “Don’t think of it as the warmest month of August in California in the last century. Think of it as one of the coolest months of August in California in the next century.” Again and again, climate scientists have shown that our choices now range from merely awful to incomprehensibly horrible. (NYT)
Vacant City of Sacramento property to become thriving urban agricultural site
Sacramento is one step closer to turning a vacant City-owned property into a site for urban agriculture. The City recently signed a lease agreement with the non-profit Planting Justice for the former City Tree Nursery, a five-acre site in the Mangan Park neighborhood, with the goal of project construction and opening in 2021. “This effort will increase community food access and advance equity and environmental justice,” said City Sustainability Manager Jennifer Venema. Planting Justice is a non-profit based out of Oakland that has also partnered with local enterprises Yisrael Family Urban Farm and Three Sisters Gardens. According to Venema, the three non-profits propose to transform the property into a nationally significant center for urban agriculture, social entrepreneurship, biodiversity, youth mentorship and farmer training. (Link)
Sacramento region plans to store water underground as a climate adaptation strategy
The Sacramento region is preparing for the long-term impacts of the climate crisis when it comes to water supply. Central to the plan is a groundwater storage program with two to three times the dspace of Folsom Lake. “We’re expecting in the future to have more severe droughts and potential for Folsom Reservoir to not fill up with the frequency that it does,” said James Peifer, executive director of the Regional Water Authority. He says the answer is to store water underground, a concept he calls a water bank. But making this idea a reality will take at least $288 million dollars, over a decade of work, and the cooperation of the more than 20 water agencies in the Sacramento region. (Capital Public Radio)

Tools and Resources

The COVID-19 Resilience Poll #2 (October 2020)
The COVID-19 Resilience Poll series tracks the experiences, perceptions, concerns, and hopes of people in the Capital region, via three polls conducted through the first twelve months of the COVID-19 pandemic – including health impacts and fears, the experiences of the varying public orders and guidance, and the economic consequences of the pandemic. Notably, the poll finds that 63% of respondents reported feeling depressed at least once in the last seven days, and 82% of respondents reported feeling anxious at least once in the last seven days. This is the second in a series of polls fielded by Valley Vision and CapRadio, in partnership with the Institute for Social Research at Sac State. These surveys are helping us understand and navigate the challenges ahead as we aim to not just understand the impacts and recover from the setbacks of COVID-19, but also reimagine a more equitable, sustainable, and just future. (Valley Vision)

Heat Resilient Cities: Measuring benefits of urban heat adaptation
The impact of extreme temperatures on health and wellbeing is rising up policy agendas in many cities. The Excel-based Heat Resilient Cities benefits tool has been designed to help city planners and decision-makers to quantify the health, economic and environmental benefits of common urban heat adaptation actions. Cities can use this information to make the case for urban heat adaptation investments, and to prioritise the actions that are likely to have the most positive impact locally. Users can calculate the benefits brought by specific parks and green infrastructure, water bodies such as rivers and lakes, and cool and vegetative surfaces. (C40 Knowledge Hub)
Tribal Climate Health Project Online Self-Paced Training
The Tribal Climate Health Project hosted a live, national webinar series on Tribal Climate and Health Adaptation from August – December 2019. These webinars were recorded in full and provided below so others may benefit from the training at their own self-paced schedule. (Link)
Making racial equity real in research
The Greenlining Institute released a report on racial equity researchv. The report provides historical context on racism and exclusion in the research field, which still continues today, as well as challenges faced in advancing equitable research approaches for both community partners and researchers. The report offers suggestions for researchers, funders, and partners, and a stepwise process aimed at researchers who are committed to integrating racial equity and partnerships in their research projects. The report builds on the Strategic Growth Council’s 2019 Climate Change Research Symposium report and can be used to inform racially equitable research approaches in climate resilience research efforts. (Greenlining)

Upcoming Opportunities

Clean Cars 4 All (CC4A) now accepting applications!
The CC4A program delivers electric vehicle incentives to eligible residents and is funded by Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund/California Climate Investment dollars administered by the California Air Resource Board. Up to $9,500 is available for income-qualified residents to retire their older vehicles and replace them with new or used, zero or partial-zero emissions vehicles, and the incentives can be combined with Clean Vehicle Rebate Project funds. (CC4A)
The Sac Metro Air District wants to hear from you about Air Quality in your neighborhood
Please take this 5-minute survey to tell us about air pollution and possible solutions in your neighborhood – and enter into a contest for a Chromebook. (Link)
California Community Reinvestment Grants
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced that the California Community Reinvestment Grants (CalCRG) program Grant Solicitation for Fiscal Year 2020-21 is now available! For funding amounts, eligibility, and the application process, please review the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Grant Solicitation. The first phase of the application process must be completed no later than Monday, November 2, 2020, at 11:59 pm. (GO-Biz)
Take a Pre-Planning Survey to help inform a potential virtual California Adaptation Forum in 2021!
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we made the decision to cancel the in-person 2020 California Adaptation Forum. We are now seeking input to inform a potential virtual 2021 CAF and hope that you can spend a few minutes to share your thoughts by November 12. (Link)
Park Development and Community Revitalization Program (Prop 68)
This program is designed to create new parks, expand, or improve existing parks, to increase park access in under-served communities. Projects in economically disadvantaged communities with a lack of parks are prioritized. Parks designed with community residents’ ideas through community-based planning and partnerships with health organizations are encouraged. Eligible applications include nonprofits and local government agencies, including cities, counties, local park districts, and joint powers authorities. Deadline: December 14 at 11:59 pm PST. (Link)
Call for Statements of Interest for Tribal Climate Adaptation Research Projects
The Northwest and Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Centers (NW CASC, SW CASC) invite statements of interest for tribal climate adaptation research projects to be initiated in Federal Fiscal Year 2021. The SW CASC is requesting statements of interest that specifically draw upon the application of traditional methods of ecosystem restoration and natural resource management, with special emphasis on fire in the context of climate change and adaptation. These projects can be used as seed funding in preparation for subsequent calls for proposals or focus on developing a process for implementing traditional practices and/or building bridges between western (conventional) and indigenous practices. Deadline: December 17. (SW CASC)
FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reward states and communities that seek to address the effects of climate change under a new grant program that provides an unprecedented amount of money for resilience projects and planning. FEMA will allocate $500 million through its Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program for mitigation efforts such as moving buildings out of floodplains and strengthening building codes. BRIC places an emphasis on addressing the effects of climate change; strengthening building codes; and using natural barriers such as wetlands, floodplains and reefs to build resilience to riverine flooding and sea-level rise. Local governments must apply as sub-applicants. Deadline: January 29, 2021. (FEMA)
FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Program
The Flood Mitigation Assistance Program is a competitive grant program that provides funding to states, local communities, federally-recognized tribes and territories. Funds can be used for projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. $160 million is available through this program for the following: Project Scoping, Community Flood Mitigation Projects, Technical Assistance, Flood Hazard Mitigation Planning, and Individual Flood Mitigation Projects. Deadline: January 29, 2021. (FEMA)
Prop 68 Sierra Nevada Grant Program
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy issues grants to public agencies, nonprofits, and eligible tribes for projects that restore, protect, and enhance Sierra Nevada watersheds and communities. These grants are awarded under three programs: Forest & Watershed Health, Resilient Sierra Nevada Communities, and Vibrant Recreation & Tourism. Beginning July 2020, prospective applicants are invited to submit concept proposals, which are reviewed on a quarterly basis. Up to $5 million from Proposition 68 are available for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 funding cycles. (SNC)
Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot: Applications Open
The Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot provides funding for the design and implementation of clean mobility projects in California’s historically underserved communities. $20 million is available in 2020 for two types of projects: 1) the Community Transportation Needs Assessment Vouchers help communities to engage residents to identify their biggest transportation needs; and 2) Mobility Project Vouchers fund the implementation of projects that increase access to transportation, designed with community priorities at the forefront. (Link)
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