Bay Area Climate News from CRI – FEB 2018


February 2018 


Climate Liability News (!) reports on lawsuits by Marin, San Mateo, Oakland and San Francisco against Chevon, Exxon, etc. See Marin County’s 111-page filing alleging public nuisance, liability, and negligence. Exxon is beginning the fight back, claiming if the climate threat is real, local governments should have warned their bond investors of the risks. NOTE: The Oregon “kids lawsuit” — Julianna v. U.S. was postponed from its Feb. 5 start date. Finally, see an excellent climate legal summary and analysis here.

Vox graphically maps the billion dollar disasters from last year and the rise in such mega-events over the last 50 years. The Chronicle’s Kermit Alexander reports the “why” here  including Stanford’s Noah Diffenbaugh: “The more emissions of greenhouse gases that occur, the more extreme events will intensify.”

If no rain soon, Cape Town will turn off the pipes to 4 million residents plus businesses. The worst drought in a century means these millions will line up to fill jugs at 200 watering stations. Read a great first-person account here by woman who lives in Cape Town and San Francisco. Meanwhile, Scientific American is reporting that Iran’s mega-drought has contributed to recent protests in rural areas and provincial capitals.

“How many times do we need to hear adjectives in their superlative form before we spot a pattern: largest, rainiest, driest, deadliest? But when I read the news after each fresh disaster, I rarely see a mention of climate change. Whether it’s coverage of a fire in my backyard or a powerful hurricane in the Caribbean, this bigger story is usually missing.” — Leah Stokes, political scientist at UCSB, in a familiar but powerful piece in the NY Times.


Resilient by Design: Bay Area Challenge has selected 10 Bay Area places for advanced sea level rise design work and has matched each site with a cool design team. The teams are working with community groups and local governments now to develop their proposals by May. See it all here.

MCE, the Bay Area’s first community choice agency, has opened Solar One, a 10.5 megawatt system (power for 3,400 homes) on Chevron land in Richmond. MCE partnered with RichmondBUILD to train and hire skilled graduates as green-collar employees for the project.

Drawdown Marin Kicks Off — Towards a Carbon Free Community

Inspired by Paul Hawken’s Project Drawdown, residents, businesses and government in Marin have begun a big new 5-part local project to complement state/regional actions on GHGs. Watch the kickoff video here on strategies for 100% renewable energy, transportation, energy efficiency, local food, carbon sequestration, and building climate resilient communities.

How-to finance Bay Area climate adaptation is a huge question. We exist today mostly on grants for vulnerability assessments, but moving to actual plans, regulations and on-the-ground projects will require billions. Fortunately, the RBD Finance Advisory Team has produced a fabulous 54-page guide to adaptation financing. The guide includes challenges, financing strategies, currently available funding, and new innovative proposals. You can get it for free here.


Last year, the Climate Justice Working Group (supported by Resources Legacy Fund) produced a 54-page report of “guiding principles and recommendations for policy and funding,” to ensure that Safeguarding California, the state’s adaptation strategy, is responsive to environmental justice and climate equity concerns. You can see the results of the excellent CJWG work in the brand new Safeguarding California 2018 Update, published last week by the Resources Agency.

More $$$ for Climate Research

At the same time, the Strategic Growth Council’s upcoming $11M call for climate research projects and partnerships includes a major emphasis on projects that benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities. See the just-approved research investment plan for this new cap-and-trade $$ program and sign up for news on the upcoming SGC solicitation and workshops (very soon). Finally, Governor Brown has proposed an additional $35M in climate research funding in the January budget—see page 6 of this Climate Change budget summary


CAF has been expanded to 3 days — August 27, 28, and 29! The first day will feature a set of brand new adaptation reports—9 Regional Reports, 3 Topical Reports (Equity, Tribal Lands, Oceans) and a big Statewide Summary. Right now the CAF web site is featuring six video stories “Towards Equitable Adaptation.”


CRI is supporting the Bay Area Regional Report (due in mid-2018) that will present the latest science findings for our region, spotlight key impacts and adaptation strategies, and identify top research gaps. A UC Berkeley team is preparing the report, led by David Ackerly, Mark Stacey and Andy Jones with key support from a stakeholder advisory group.

CRI is finishing a statewide project for the Ocean Protection Council that has produced a database of nearly 200 sea level rise reports and plans as part of the State’s new Climate Adaptation Clearinghouse (coming soon!). We have also developed six regional “snapshots” showing progress on coast/delta sea level rise planning from San Diego to the North Coast.

More on these and other CRI projects in March. Questions?