Newsletters

Capital Region Climate News & Resources: September 3, 2020

Collaborative Update

We’d like to give a warm welcome to our newest member, Sacramento Regional Transit! Founded in April 1973, Sacramento Regional Transit operates over 80 bus routes, 43 miles of light rail serving 52 light rail stations, and ADA paratransit services within Sacramento County. In 2019, SacRT’s annual ridership was 21 million passengers and it has been continually recognized for its regional collaboration and innovation. Henry Li, SacRT’s General Manager/CEO, served on the Mayor’s Commission on Climate Change, and during CRC’s last webinar/quarterly meeting, SacRT shared their response to COVID-19 and recent developments.
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News

Rising temperatures will cause more deaths than all infectious diseases – study
The growing but largely unrecognized death toll from rising global temperatures will come close to eclipsing the current number of deaths from all the infectious diseases combined if planet-heating emissions are not constrained, a major new study has found. Rising temperatures are set to cause particular devastation in poorer, hotter parts of the world that will struggle to adapt to unbearable conditions that will kill increasing numbers of people. The economic loss from the climate crisis, as well as the cost of adaptation, will be felt around the world, including in wealthy countries. (Guardian)

How decades of racist housing policy left neighborhoods sweltering
In cities like Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Portland and New York, neighborhoods that are poorer and have more residents of color can be 5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter in summer than wealthier, whiter parts of the same city. And there’s growing evidence that this is no coincidence. Redlined neighborhoods, which remain lower-income and more likely to have Black or Hispanic residents, consistently have far fewer trees and parks that help cool the air. They also have more paved surfaces, such as asphalt lots or nearby highways, that absorb and radiate heat. (NYT)

Rising temperatures put more US workers at risk of dying from heat
In 2018, 60 workers died due to temperature extremes. Though the climate crisis is creating conditions where workers are facing hotter temperatures on a more frequent basis, there are no federal safety protections for workers in extreme temperatures, and only three states, California, Washington and Minnesota, have heat stress workplace protection standards. “We’ve had issues where workers are not classified as dying because of their job when we know that is the case,…With heat you’re running into a lot of vulnerable workers, immigrant workers, where employers will pass it off, say something else happened, and no one is following up and that person’s family don’t know their rights to get it classified as a workplace fatality.” (Guardian)

Parks in nonwhite areas are half the size of ones in majority-white areas, study says
In the midst of another hot summer and an ongoing pandemic, public parks are vital refuge. But a new study has found that access to parks in the U.S. differs sharply according to income and race. A study published by The Trust for Public Land found that parks serving primarily nonwhite populations are, on average, half the size of parks that serve majority-white populations, and are potentially five times more crowded. The data showed that parks serving mostly low-income households are, on average, four times smaller — and potentially four times more crowded — than parks that serve mostly high-income households. As temperatures rise due to climate change, spaces to escape from the heat can be a matter of life and death. (NPR) Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Economists warn that a hotter world will be poorer and more unequal
Hotter temperatures by 2100 could slash global GDP by more than 20%, according to new research, and the way the economic impact will be distributed threatens to turn climate change into an enormous driver of worldwide inequality. A new analysis of the relationship between heat and economic performance by global forecasting firm Oxford Economics identified a divide between nations on either side of 15°C (59°F), the “global sweet spot” for economic activity. A country whose average annual temperatures today are cooler than 15° C, including those in North America and Europe, stand to benefit slightly in the short term from rising temperatures. Tropical and subtropical countries whose average temperatures are already warmer than 15°C today, including the entire global South, face catastrophic economic degradation. (Bloomberg)
Living in the dark: Native reservations struggle with power shortages in pandemic
The pandemic has exacerbated already severe energy and economic inequalities in Indian country. For decades, many tribes have suffered from inefficient energy infrastructure, high costs and a lack of funding for new projects. Low electricity rates are compounded by limited cell and broadband service on many reservations. These needs have only gotten worse during the pandemic. In the face of these challenges, Native people are turning to renewable energy to help their tribes achieve energy and economic independence. If successful, it could also provide growing job opportunities for communities that sorely need them. (Guardian)
California takes a big first step toward climate change adaptation
California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) just became the nation’s first regulator to require utilities to better account for the impact of climate change on energy infrastructure and services, ordering them to prioritize it in their planning and operations. Utilities will now have to develop internal climate change teams and conduct regular climate vulnerability assessments of their infrastructure and of their ability to reliably serve all customers, especially disadvantaged communities. The CPUC decision requires the utilities to identify under-resourced and climate-vulnerable communities in their service territories, conduct outreach to understand these communities’ energy related needs in the face of climate change, and then determine how to best meet these needs. (Clean Technica)

This study on using water and fans to cool down sounds silly. Here’s why it’s important.
As obvious as cooling off with fans and water sounds, it’s not obvious to all public health departments. There’s a widespread misconception that fans make heat worse when it’s above 95 degrees, according to Ollie Jay, one of the scientists behind the paper, who studies heat stress at the University of Sydney. That’s just wrong, he said. (Grist)

How air conditioning could keep everyone cool without cooking the planet
Last month, as a record heat wave roasted California, statewide energy consumption skyrocketed, forcing grid operators to issue rolling blackouts for the first time in nearly 20 years. The reason the grid was under so much strain? Millions upon millions of air conditioners were running full tilt. It was a stark illustration of the challenge humanity will face trying to keep everybody cool as the planet overheats. (Grist)
Sacramento City Council embraces ‘slow streets,’ electrified buildings to fight climate change
Members of the Sacramento City Council Tuesday embraced the recommendations of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change and voted to move forward immediately on 10 first-year action items, including creating ‘slow streets’ for pedestrians and people-pedaled vehicles only and crafting an ordinance to require future buildings to run entirely on electricity. (City of Sacramento)
People are planting tiny urban forests to boost biodiversity and fight climate change
Miniature forests are springing up on patches of land in urban areas around the world, often planted by local community groups using a method inspired by Japanese temples. The idea is simple — take brownfield sites, plant them densely with a wide variety of native seedlings and let them grow with minimal intervention. The result is complex ecosystems perfectly suited to local conditions that improve biodiversity, grow quickly and absorb more carbon dioxide. The method is based on the work of Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki. Miyawaki forests can grow into mature ecosystems in just 20 years — astonishingly fast when compared to the 200 years it can take a forest to regenerate on its own. They act as oases for biodiversity, supporting up to 20 times as many species as non-native, managed forests. (WEF)
Climate Ready Truckee: Town reveals first climate vulnerability plan
Truckee’s first climate vulnerability and assessment plan outlines dozens of strategies and goals regarding how the town may deal with future climate change. The Climate Ready Truckee plan, outlined four main objectives. The first is to include diverse and disadvantaged segments of the community in the climate adaption planning process. The second is to conduct a vulnerability assessment of the facilities, infrastructure, transportation systems, structures, and populations that will be impacted by climate change. The third objective is to develop adaptation goals, policies, and actions addressing the impacts identified in the vulnerability assessment to enhance the community’s resilience to climate change. (Sierra Sun)
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Tools and Resources

California Adaptation Planning Guide 2.0
The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services released the final version of the California Adaptation Planning Guide (APG 2.0). The APG 2.0 is designed to support local government, regional organizations, and climate collaborative groups to integrate best practices and current science into their adaptation planning efforts. The APG provides helpful resources to local governments as they comply with state requirements for local adaptation planning, and provides recommendations and advice on community-level climate change adaptation planning. (APG 2.0)

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. The tool can also extrapolate results from these specific investments to calculate the benefits of scaling-up across the whole of the city. (C40 Knowledge Hub)
Guidance and Resources for COVID-19, Climate Change, and Health Equity
In response to inquiries about managing the colliding health crises of Coronavirus, wildfire, smoke, and extreme heat, the CDPH Office of Health Equity’s Climate Change & Health Equity Program compiled a new webpage: Guidance & Resources for COVID-19, Climate Change, and Health Equity. The page provide national and state guidance for protecting from climate change and health-related hazards in the context of COVID-19 and heath equity. Topics include Wildfires and Wildfire Smoke, Extreme Heat, Natural Disasters and Severe Weather, Disaster Shelters, Indoor Air, Local Emergency Preparedness, Guidance for Environmental Health Practitioners, and Community Health Indicators and Tools. (CDPH)
Building to Coexist with Fire: Risk Reduction Measures for New Development
Guidance on how planners, fire districts, and communities can develop community-scale risk reduction measures (RRM) when building or rebuilding in fire-prone areas. The 31-page publication presents risk reduction measures that focus on landscape management, density management, protective infrastructure, and separation from wildfire source. (UCANR)
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Upcoming Opportunities

Share your ideas on how to improve walking, biking, and rolling in Sacramento County!
Sacramento County is creating its very first Active Transportation Plan! The Active Transportation Plan will focus on solving infrastructure problems for people who walk, bike, and roll; creating new routes for people to walk, bike, and roll; and making walking and biking more accessible, safer, and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities. Take this survey and share your thoughts on how to improve biking and walking for all in Sacramento County. (Link)
Clean Cars 4 All (CC4A) now accepting applications!
The CC4A program delivers electric vehicle incentives to eligible residents and is funded by /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)
WALKSacramento Job Opportunities
We have several exciting opportunities to work at WALK! We are currently seeking a full-time Project Coordinator in addition to a part-time Project Assistant. These positions offer significant exposure to community decision-making processes and learning opportunities in transportation, environmental justice, and public health. Learn more and help spread the word! (WALKSacramento)
CalTrans Active Transportation Program
The goals of the Active Transportation Program include, but are not limited to, increasing the proportion of trips accomplished by walking and biking, increasing the safety and mobility of non-motorized users, advancing efforts of regional agencies to achieve GHG reduction goals, enhancing public health, and providing a broad spectrum of projects to benefit many types of users including disadvantaged communities. Applications for Quick-Build projects due July 15, and for all other project types September 15. (CATC)

Department of Housing and Urban Development: Rural Capacity Building Program
The Rural Capacity Building (RCB) program enhances the capacity and ability of rural housing development organizations, Community Development Corporations, Community Housing Development Organizations, local governments, and Indian tribes (eligible beneficiaries) to carry out affordable housing and community development activities in rural areas for the benefit of low- and moderate-income families and persons. RCB program funds are limited to capacity building activities that strengthen the organizational infrastructure, management, and governance capabilities of eligible beneficiaries. Deadline: September 28. (HUD)

Housing opportunity grant: Homekey
Building on the success of Project Roomkey, Homekey is the next phase in the state’s response to protecting Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for serious illness and are impacted by COVID-19. $600 million will be made available to cities, counties, or other local public entities; the $550 million in federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Fund must be expended by December 30, 2020; the Department will provide ongoing support to assist Grantees in meeting the deadline. The priority deadline is August 13, and the final deadline is September 29. (HCD)
Applications open to join the SAFER Advisory Group
The SAFER Advisory Group provides the State Water Board with constructive advice and feedback on the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Expenditure Plan and other related policies and analyses. Applications to join the SAFER Advisory Group are open. Deadline: September 30, 2020. (SWRCB)
Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Grants: Water and Energy Efficiency for FY21
Applications could include projects that seek to conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the production of hydropower, mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict, enable farmers to make additional on-farm improvements in the future, and accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability. Awards are available for up to $1.5 million. Eligible applicants include states, Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, or other organizations with water or power delivery authority. Deadline September 30. (Grants.gov)
CARB: F-gas Reduction Incentive Program (FRIP)
The Fluorinated Gases Emission Reduction Incentive Program, or F-gas Reduction Incentive Program (FRIP), established by Senate Bill 1013 (Lara, 2018) provides incentive funds to increase the adoption of low-GWP climate-friendly refrigerant technologies that reduce GHG emissions in advance of any regulatory requirements. The FRIP program has $1 million dollars to accelerate the adoption of low-GWP refrigerant technologies for new and existing retail food facilities. Deadline: October 7. (CARB)
Open for Public Comment: California Transportation Plan 2050
The California Transportation Plan 2050 is now live for a 60-day public comment period. Federal and State law require the development of a State transportation plan that provides a common framework for guiding transportation decisions and investments by all levels of government. Public comments and perspective on issues impacting California’s transportation system are greatly appreciated and can be used to make a difference for how California moves goods and people through all modes of travel for the next 30 years, and ensure the plan benefits all communities equitably. Please send all comments to CTP@dot.ca.gov by October 22. (Caltrans)
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 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 Programs
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 separate 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 funds are available for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 funding cycles. More information is available on the Conservancy website. (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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