Capital Region Climate News & Resources: March 23, 2020

Collaborative Update

As much of our public life is replaced by social distancing, we are deeply grateful to the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis in California. Thank you for tirelessly working to protect our health and the community. During these challenging times, the importance of community for resilience becomes ever more apparent, and neighborhood support groups and mutual aid groups are forming to support the elderly and vulnerable. The State of California is also compiling resources from a variety of agencies at a central clearinghouse, and California Department of Health is providing information about how to protect yourself and more.
On more positive news, our new member’s spotlight is showcasing GRID Alternatives North Valley (GRID), which champions energy equity by delivering no-cost clean energy technology solutions and pathways to clean energy careers in communities adversely impacted by social and environmental injustice. GRID Alternatives has been on the leading edge of creating access to clean energy technology and job training for low-income families and disadvantaged communities for more than a decade. Read more about the exciting work they do on our website.
Finally, we hope that all of you stay safe and take care of your health, both physical and mental, during these challenging times. The sea otter live cam from the Monterey Bay Aquarium may bring a smile to your face.


Climate change has lessons for fighting the coronavirus
“Alarming levels of inaction.” That is what the World Health Organization said Wednesday about the global response to coronavirus. It is a familiar refrain to anyone who works on climate change, and it is why global efforts to slow down warming offer a cautionary tale for the effort to slow down the pandemic. “Both demand early aggressive action to minimize loss,” said Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Only in hindsight will we really understand what we gambled on and what we lost by not acting early enough.” (NYT)

Social distancing? You might be fighting climate change too
As the nation shifts abruptly into the fight against coronavirus, a question arises: could social isolation help reduce an individual’s production of GHGs and end up having unexpected consequences for climate change? (NYT)

What would happen if the world reacted to climate change like it’s reacting to the coronavirus?
In countries around the world, governments and citizens have been quick to change daily habits. The same hasn’t happened for the climate crisis. If the world was responding to climate change like it’s responding to the coronavirus—the level of urgency that the science says is necessary—things would look dramatically different. Governments would come up with the funds to build the infrastructure needed to fully roll out renewable energy. (Fast Company)
Why the coronavirus outbreak is terrible news for climate change
It would be a mistake to assume that the rapidly spreading virus, which has already killed thousands and forced millions into quarantine, will meaningfully reduce the dangers of climate change. The fear is that the highly contagious virus could complicate the challenges of climate change – which presents serious, if longer-term, threats of its own – at a point when it was crucial to make rapid strides. There are several ways this could happen. (MIT)

How Kaiser Permanente prepares for disasters
In 2017, as the Tubbs Fire made its dramatic and rapid assault on Santa Rosa, California, our doctors, nurses, and support staff faced the unimaginable task of evacuating the hospital. It was a job that many, if not most, of them never imagined doing in their careers. And yet, again this fall, wildfire threatened the facility. Both times we safely evacuated more than 120 patients and ensured care continuity under extreme duress. While it’s practice we wish we never had, these two emergencies have helped us build and prepare a resilient emergency response operation and this year’s evacuation demonstrated significant improvements; we were able to evacuate more efficiently and calmly. Here’s how we’ve refined these practices in two emergencies. (HBR)
Even fake snow failed in a record-warm winter linked to polar vortex and climate change
In New York’s Central Park, cherry trees put out their pale pink blooms in January — months ahead of schedule. Temperatures in Sweden were so high ski resorts couldn’t make artificial snow for their slopes. Snowplow operators in New Jersey had to go looking for landscaping work instead. And after one of the hottest, driest Februarys in state history, parched California is already ablaze. Across much of the Northern Hemisphere this year, winter was a shadow of its former self — and climate change is partly to blame. The season was the second-warmest on record for the globe as a whole — putting 2020 on track to be one of Earth’s top-10 hottest years. (Washington Post)

Heat Stress May Affect More Than 1.2 Billion People Annually by 2100
Heat stress from extreme heat and humidity will annually affect areas now home to 1.2 billion people by 2100, assuming current GHG emissions, according to a Rutgers study. That’s more than four times the number of people affected today, and more than 12 times the number who would have been affected without industrial-era global warming. Most climate studies on projected heat stress have focused on heat extremes but not considered the role of humidity, another key driver. “Every bit of global warming makes hot, humid days more frequent and intense. In New York City, for example, the hottest, most humid day in a typical year already occurs about 11 times more frequently than it would have in the 19th century,” said lead author Dawei Li. (Rutgers)
 Want to stop climate change? Educate more girls
A growing body of evidence suggests that educating girls could have profound effects on containing climate change. When girls get an education, they make more money, which helps them guard against disaster, and have fewer children, which helps curb consumption, and therefore, pollution. Education also opens doors to science and government, institutions where women are desperately needed to help solve climate change. (Clean Technica)

Dubuque, Iowa, has a clever solution for its flooding problem
Dubuque is turning to permeable pavers to address increasingly heavy flooding affecting homes and businesses. Dubuque has now reconstructed about 80 alleys and plans to finish more than 200 within the next 20 years. That’s expected to reduce stormwater runoff from the alleys by 80% – helping prepare the city for the future while maintaining its historic charm. (Yale)
CalFire awards $43.5 million in local fire prevention grants
CalFire awarded $43.5 million dollars to local organizations to reduce the risk of wildfires through hazardous fuel reductions, wildfire preparedness planning and fire prevention education. One project is a public education grant of nearly $100,000 to Forestry Educators Incorporated for its “2020 Forestry Challenge” in El Dorado County. The Challenge is an academic competition for high school students, with participants spending four days in the forest learning about the ecology and management of the forested landscapes that provide communities with water, recreational opportunities and wood products. (Yuba Net)

For fire-traumatized Californians, the future looks battery powered
A new, little-noticed report suggests a better option for backup power during power shutdowns: solar panels and batteries. It turns out that buying solar panels and batteries can be cheaper than buying a generator — given some patience, or financing. Though it’s more expensive in the short run, solar plus storage will eventually pay for itself by nearly eliminating electric power bills. Many Californians pay $1,500 a year for electricity. Consider all the subsidies, and the renewable system is clearly cheaper. (Grist)
How the Xbox stands between Microsoft and its climate goals
We don’t tend to think of video gaming systems like refrigerators, air conditioners, or water heaters. But collectively, the gaming done on consoles, PCs, and mobile devices has a big impact. In the US, annual emissions from gaming equal that of 85 million refrigerators, or 5 million cars. As video games become more technically complex and visually realistic, devices also require more processing power. Cloud-based gaming puts a greater burden on servers and data centers. Some systems draw as much energy when idling as when players are actively gaming. (Grist)

A better use for sprawling, big-box store parking lots? Urban farms

With a new design called Car Parks 2.0, the French design firm Studio NAB shows how shopping center parking lots could be reimagined as an urban farm, with a little room left at the side for charging electric cars from onsite solar panels. (Fast Company)

Tools and Resources

New videos highlight CDFA Climate Smart Ag Programs
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has released a series of videos that offer an “armchair tour” of their various Climate Smart Agriculture Programs. These programs, which include the Healthy Soils Program, the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, and the Alternative Manure Management Program, are all helping farmers and ranchers implement sustainability and climate resilience into their practices. Watch these virtual tours now to see how CDFA is engaging with California farmers and ranchers. (CDFA)

Upcoming Opportunities

Civic Spark Partner Recruitment – Priority Partner Applications Now Open
CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local public agencies to address emerging environmental and social equity resilience challenges. Sign up for a webinar to learn about CivicSpark’s 5-year track record of helping communities tackle their biggest challenges while fostering the next generation of leaders and also about what it takes to become a partner. The second priority deadline is April 3. (CivicSpark)


Planning Grants for Communities Affected by 2017-2019 California Wildfires
The Strategic Growth Council, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the Department of Conservation are pleased to open the application for Proposition 84 Wildfire Resiliency and Recovery Planning Grants. A total of $720,000 is available for 3-5 grants between $150,000 and $250,000. Eligible applicants include local and regional governments (cities, counties, tribes, and metropolitan planning organizations) representing areas affected by wildfires between 2017-2019. Deadline: 5pm, March 18. (SGC)


Department of the Interior: Tribal adaptation & ocean & coastal management & planning
This opportunity will provide funding for projects that support tribal resilience and ocean and coastal management planning as tribes incorporate science (including Traditional Knowledge) and technical information to prepare for the impacts of extreme events and harmful environmental trends. Award categories include adaptation planning, capacity building, ocean & coastal management planning, and relocation, managed retreat, or protect-in-place planning. Deadline: March 20, 2020. (


NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants
NOAA’s Office of Education has announced a competitive funding opportunity for projects aimed at strengthening environmental literacy of K-12 students and the public more broadly. NOAA will award approximately $3 million in grants to projects that seek to increase community knowledge about how to build resiliency in the face of extreme weather caused by climate change and teach the community how to achieve that resilience. Deadline: March 26. (


California Department of Food and Agriculture: Dairy Methane Reduction Programs
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting grant applications for Dairy Methane Reduction Programs, which fund the implementation of dairy digesters and non-digester-based manure management practices that lower methane emissions and maximize environmental co-benefits for California livestock operations. Applications are open for the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program and the Alternative Manure Management Practices Demonstration Projects and Incentives Program. Deadline: March 27.


Adaptation Planning Guide 2.0: Public Comment and Review
The California Adaptation Planning Guide Update (2nd Public Review Draft) is now available for review and comment. The purpose of the guide is to assist local jurisdictions with planning for climate impacts. Submit your feedback through March 31, 2020. (CalOES)


Strategic Growth Council: RFP for Technical Assistance for Transformative Climate Communities
The Strategic Growth Council is releasing two Requests for Proposals (RFP) for Transformative Climate Communities Program Implementation Grant recipients. The RFP will support the transformation of Sacramento’s River District through the Sacramento Integrated Multimodal Place-based Living project. Technical assistance needs include workforce development strategy, planning, and project monitoring. Access the full RFP for details and to submit proposals. SGC strongly encourages applications by technical assistance providers local to the grant recipients. Please contact Sophie Young at with questions. Deadline: April 6.


Federal government releases $7 billion to build climate resilience
The money — $7.65 billion in total — aims to make disaster-damaged communities more resilient by paying for reconstruction projects that will withstand increasingly severe storms, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. The funding differs from most federal disaster aid because instead of simply repairing or rebuilding damaged buildings and facilities, communities must spend the recovery money on mitigation projects that “increase resilience to disasters.” California will receive $88 million and has until April 6, 2020, to submit projects. (Federal Register)

2020 Wildlife Conservation Society Climate Adaptation Fund

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has recently announced a new round of grantmaking through its Climate Adaptation Fund, a program that supports projects that implement effective interventions for wildlife and ecosystem adaptation to climate change. The WCS Climate Adaptation Fund provides a total of $2.5 million in grant awards between $50,000 and $250,000 to conservation non-profit organizations each year. Deadline: April 8. (WCS)

Partners Advancing Climate Equity Request for Proposals

Partners Advancing Climate Equity (PACE) is a pilot climate equity learning collaborative and technical assistance program aimed at building capacity for climate action and grant readiness in under-resourced communities. This Request for Proposals is for a consultant team to develop and implement the pilot collaborative to help expand community-driven leadership to advance sustainability, health, and equity priorities. The PACE program also involves providing technical assistance to emerging and established leaders across California to catalyze local climate action and help link state resources with local capacity needs. Deadline: April 17. (CalProcure)

CalEPA Environmental Justice Small Grants

This program offers funding to assist non-profit community organizations and federally recognized Tribal governments address environmental justice issues in areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and hazards. CalEPA will prioritize projects that increase participation in environmental decision-making, promote community resilience, and support local capacity to respond to environmental and health challenges. Deadline: April 17. (CalEPA)

Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council Grants

The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council is requesting concept applications for enhancement projects on PG&E Watershed Lands. There is $3 million available for projects that would enhance beneficial public values of natural habitat, outdoor recreation, sustainable forestry, agriculture, open space, or cultural or historic resources. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, federal- and state-recognized tribes, or public agencies. Deadline: April 27. (PFWL)

Strategic Growth Council: Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Grant

The Strategic Growth Council is accepting grant applications for Round 6 of the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC). SALC fights climate change by protecting our productive farmlands and encouraging infill development. SALC provides two types of grants: Planning grants, which support the development of policies and economic development strategies to protect agricultural land, and Land Acquisition Grants (for either conservation easements or fee acquisitions), which permanently protect lands that are at risk of conversion to sprawl development. Applicants for acquisition grants must submit pre-proposals by April 30, and applicants for planning grants are do so as well). Deadline: August 28, 2020. (DOC)

Tribal Government Challenge Planning Grant Program

Funded by the California Energy Commission and administered by the California Strategic Growth Council, the Tribal Government Challenge Planning Grant Program will provide funds for California Tribes to conduct planning to identify solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve clean energy access, and advance climate adaptation and resiliency on Tribal lands and in Tribal communities. The program goals are to support planning activities that promote clean energy access and energy efficiency, with a focus on promoting public health, reducing emissions, and supporting climate adaptation and resiliency in Tribal communities. Deadline: May 22. (SGC)

California Natural Resources Agency: Urban Greening Grant Program

$28 million will be available for projects for urban greening. The solicitation is currently open but the related workshops and due date have been postponed. (CNRA)
Past Newsletters