California Climate Investments Climate Risk Assessment
To create a methodology for evaluating project-level climate change-induced risks experienced throughout the State of California and use this framework to assess the effectiveness of California Climate Investments (CCI) projects in addressing the various climate risks experienced in different locations. This methodology may also allow for assessment of adaptation projects beyond CCI.
Since 2014, the State of California has invested billions of dollars of Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds in CCI programs. These programs are tasked with reducing GHG emissions while providing socioeconomic, health, and ecosystem benefits (co-benefits) to disadvantaged and low-income communities (priority populations). California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the administrator of funding, and presently oversees and provides guidance and support to over 70 programs administered by more than 20 California state agencies (administering agencies). Senate Bill 862 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 36, Statutes of 2014) requires CARB to develop guidance on reporting and quantification methods for agencies receiving an appropriation from the GGRF.
To date, CARB has developed methodologies for quantifying a number of these co-benefits across these 70 programs such as, for example, water savings, utility cost savings to consumers, and area of habitat conserved. CCI program benefits and co-benefits are reported to CARB on a semi-annual basis by the administering agencies using the California Climate Investments Reporting and Tracking System (CCIRTS). CARB administers CCIRTS and consolidates data for public consumption. The database currently includes 130,000 projects, incentives, rebates, plans, and grants with funding information, project details, and estimated GHG benefits and co-benefits, and displays the information online in a publicly accessible, interactive map.
CARB recognizes the importance of proactive investments for adapting to natural, economic, and social hazards and difficulties arising from climate change and its associated effects on economics, society, and community safety. However, to date CARB’s ability to track the benefits associated with climate adaptation has been limited to an optional qualitative assessment filled out by the administering agency. CARB seeks to improve the utility of the assessment by developing a quantitative index of climate risk and adaptation and applying it to the existing CCIRTS project database. CARB’s assessment efforts can build on the work of other state agencies such as the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR)’s Integrated Climate Adaptation Resiliency Program.
To evaluate the overall impact of CCI projects on climate adaptation and risk mitigation, an inventory of the major climate risks to California communities and most at-risk locations is first needed. The initial phase of this project will be to identify climate-related risks, hazards, and social vulnerability traits and aggregate these into a composite index of climate risk throughout California. Because CCI projects employ a variety of methods and interventions to reduce GHGs, including affordable housing, renewable energy, public transit, climate-smart agriculture, and forest and watershed restoration, among others, a relevant index should measure climate risk along four key risk domains: governance, built environment, society and economy, and natural systems. The index and underlying data will be constructed in a way that would allow it to be shared online and interacted with by members of the public in the future.
The second phase of this project will be to evaluate whether and how CCI projects have provided climate adaptation benefits. In this phase, CARB and the contractor will categorize adaptation actions facilitated by CCI projects based on the specific risks that each project addresses. The contractor will combine the spatial data from CCI projects with the climate risk methodology created in phase one, resulting in a measurement of climate adaptation across the four major domains (listed above). This will allow CARB to better understand where existing CCI projects have contributed to climate adaptation benefits and could provide agencies with a tool to prioritize climate adaptation as a critical objective when designing programs, planning projects, and selecting grant awards.
Along the way, the contractor and CARB will regularly solicit feedback with partners in state government, local government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and community advocacy groups that CARB will identify prior to the start of the contract. Feedback can be incorporated to ensure that the methodology effectively captures an appropriate range of interpretations of some subjective components of the index creation process, such as how to assign weighting factors to different aspects of socio-economic resilience.
Climate resilience and adaptation are emerging fields of study and terminologies are not yet consistent. For purposes of clarity in this project, the following key terms are defined as listed below:
Definitions of Key Terms
Adaptation Actions: Specific actions or groupings of types of actions aiming to address one of the climate impacts and climate hazards.
Climate Impact/Climate Hazard: For purposes of this study, any negative event that can be linked to climate change, addressed by the Adaptation Actions.
Domains: The highest hierarchical level of organization for conceptualizing the scope of both risks and adaptation actions addressing those same risks. For this project the four domains are Governance, Built Environment, Society & Economy, and Natural Systems.
Exposure: Probability of a hazard occurring in a given place.
Indicator: Summary grouping of metrics on a specific topic which, in sum, describe an area of interest of the index. Per capita income is a metric in the vulnerability indicator, for example, and other metrics contributing to this indicator might be a measure of trust in government for disaster response.
Metrics: “Measurable and observable data.” Example: The per capita income rate in a given ZIP code, as recorded by the US Census Bureau.
Risk: “The likelihood that interaction with a hazard will result in a negative outcome. Assessed as the product of exposure probability multiplied by vulnerabilities and consequences of exposure.”
Vulnerability: The magnitude of damage inflicted should a hazard occur.
III. Scope of Work
Task 1 – Devise selection criteria for data sources and select data sources for use in climate risk analysis
Task 1 will involve selecting data tools that will be used to calculate a risk and adaptation composite index based on selection criteria defined by the contractor, in consultation with CARB. CARB has preliminarily selected 10 adaptation actions that address different aspects of climate risk covering natural disasters, economic instability, capacity-building, and hazard mitigation planning. Each of these adaptation actions are implemented by at least one existing CCI program. The contractor will work with CARB to finalize the list of adaptation actions that can be appropriately measured and iterate their definitions to ensure no overlap or ambiguities in the definitions of adaptation actions.
The 10 adaptation actions preliminarily identified are:
- Extreme Heat Effects Moderation
- Drought Effects Moderation & Water Security Enhancement
- Sea Level Rise Adaptation
- Inland Flooding Adaptation
- Agricultural Productivity Conservation
- Natural Habitat Conservation
- Wildfire Risk Reduction
- Aid for economic disruptions, shortages, and utility outages
- Education, Training, Awareness, and Capacity-building
- Local Hazard Mitigation Planning
Each of these adaptation actions are defined as specifically addressing a single climate hazard. The adaptation actions can be categorized as adapting four different domains of society to minimize climate risk. Each domain is composed of a series of indicators, and each indicator is composed of one or several metrics; this hierarchical organization is intended to allow comparisons of climate risks across diverse sectors of society. The contractor will need to choose data tools based on available metrics that can be associated with each indicator. The preliminary organization of domains and their associated indicators is as follows:
- Domain: Governance
- Personal preparedness
- Community preparedness
- Natural resources under conservation
- Domain: Built Environment
- Communications infrastructure
- Housing quality and quantity
- Transportation infrastructure
- Utilities infrastructure
- Vacant structures
- Domain: Society and Economy
- Demographics (e.g., race, gender, age)
- Socio-economic metrics (e.g., poverty, indebtedness, homeownership, transportation & medical care affordability)
- Public health statistics
- Emergency services (e.g., adequate police, fire, rescue coverage)
- Social services (e.g., volunteer and charity organizations)
- Social cohesion
- Domain: Natural Systems
- Ecosystem types present in the area
- Extent of each type of ecosystem
- Condition of the ecosystems (e.g., degraded, drought stressed, low-lying coastal areas
Each data source and/or tool should at minimum be publicly available for download, ideally at high geographic resolution (e.g., county, watershed, census tract), and should include relevant, easily quantifiable metrics. A final list of metrics will be agreed upon by CARB and the contractor during Task 1 based on the availability of appropriate datasets.
Task 2 – Create composite index of climate risk
Task 2 will involve using the adaptation actions identified prior to Task 1 and iterated using the spatial data sources compiled in Task 1 to create a composite index of climate risk. The first portion of this index task will be used to quantify the relative risk exposure and vulnerability across the State of California, ideally at census tract resolution. This composite index should cover all four domains identified and include all 10 adaptation action areas.
In creating the index, the contractor will assign weighting factors to each indicator and the resulting risk score will be computed as a mathematical formula to capture as many relevant benefits and disbenefits as possible using the metrics comprising each indicator. Because assigning weighting factors requires some subjective interpretations of the magnitudes of risk, the contractor should develop a range of three to five different scenarios using a sensitivity analysis approach.
The methodology for creating the index should be based on peer-reviewed literature or previous assessments at the national level, including but not limited to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Resilience Screening Index (EPA CRSI).
In consultation with CARB, the contractor may start the initial phases of Task 2 concurrently with Task 1. The methodology deliverable from this stage will be subject to revision in future tasks
Task 3 – Using data on CCI projects, determine adaptation actions and assess capacity for addressing climate risks and impacts
This task involves using the CCI project data to assess project and program-level adaptation actions using the data sources compiled in Task 1 and the composite index of climate risk developed in Task 2. The contractor, in consultation with CARB, will identify the climate adaptation benefits of individual CCI projects, project types, or programs. This will be accomplished by initially using the CCIRTS database of CCI project but should be undertaken in a manner that the method is repeatable with any project data with equivalent data content (e.g., funding amount, GHG emission reductions, co-benefits, location, timeline). This process should follow the following steps:
- Working with CARB, crosswalk the CCI project types represented to determine which CCI-funded actions reduce each type of risk.
- Determine the magnitude of each adaptation action’s benefits. Benefits will vary by location, but the methodology should be applied consistently across the state. This will take a different form depending on which domain and indicators are affected by each adaptation action. For example:
- Governance: number of residences affected by a hazard mitigation plan
- Built environment: access to low-cost public transportation; access to cooling if not available at home.
- Socio-economic domain: total project investment in dollars as a proportion of the total economic activity in that census tract.
- Natural systems: area experiencing land subsidence; projected water supplies.
- As a pilot, determine the methodology for each project type and apply to each CCI project within a single county. Assess and adjust methodology if needed.
- Apply the final version of the methodology to the full CCI dataset.
- Compute summary statistics on changes to statewide climate risk produced by CCI.
Task 4 – Maintain regular meeting schedule with CARB and regularly consult outside partners
The contractor must maintain contact with CARB throughout the execution of Task 1 – 3 to ensure the project remains within scope while satisfying the core objectives. The contractor will consult with CARB on the iterative processes of method development in tasks 2 and 3. Additionally, the contractor and CARB will also work together to engage external partners, including OPR, who are working to define metrics to measure climate resilience; the California Natural Resources Agency, tasked with developing the Safeguarding California Plan; and other administering agencies of CCI programs who are interested in quantifying adaptation actions resulting from their own programs. CARB will identify additional partners for consultation prior to the initiation of the contract. As such, Task 4 will be running concurrently with the other 3 tasks. A period of at least two weeks should be allowed for review of each previous task by the consulting partners, with one additional month for incorporating any suggested changes.
The project pre-proposal must include but is not limited to the following deliverables:
During Active Contract Period
- Work with CARB staff at the beginning of the project to create a 1-page plain-language outreach deliverable for the public describing the project’s goals, process, and planned deliverables (available in multiple languages, template will be provided).
- A progress report including the criteria used to select data tools, an annotated list of the data tools corresponding to the 10 climate risk and adaptation action areas, and including rationale for why each dataset/tool was chosen.*
- White paper summarizing the methodology used to create the index and selected, key results, including a sensitivity analysis that explores the effect of altering the weighting values assigned to various components of the index.*
- Report detailing methodology used in creating the adaptation action component of the risk index.*
- Report detailing CCI project types, programs, and results of their effectiveness for adaptation benefits.*
- Crosswalk of CCI project types and adaptation actions. The crosswalk will include a supplemental list of CCI projects where each project is matched to a project type and adaptation actions.*
- Geodatabase file of the composite index and estimated CCI projects impacts on climate risk in each domain.
- Regular communication with CARB, frequency to be determined based on need, at a minimum of quarterly frequency. Check-in meetings with collaborating partners following completion of each task and also upon request, frequency to be determined by need, at least quarterly.
- Relatively brief, plain-language summary of findings and potential next steps for use of the methodology in project-level adaptation planning.*
* CARB will provide up to 2 revisions on draft versions of this deliverable.
Additional deliverables to be determined in consultation with CARB staff.
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 24 months from the start date (sometime between December 2022 and June 2023). The estimated budget for this project is up to $300,000.
VI. Scoring Criteria
- Responsiveness to the goals and objectives outlined in the pre-proposal solicitation (25 points)
The pre-proposal should include a sufficiently detailed explanation of how the contractor intends to address the objectives of this project and how they plan to produce the required deliverables.
- Work experience and subject matter expertise (15 points)
Pre-proposal shows sufficient subject matter expertise relevant to the creation of composite indices for quantifying complex data from multiple sources. The applicant and/or their team should have academic research and/or work experience in relevant fields, including but not limited to: geographic information systems, economic modeling, macroeconomic forecasting, climate projections and modeling, demography using US Census Bureau data, and statistical analysis.
- Expanding expertise (10 points)
The pre-proposal should explain how the project team expands expertise such as by incorporating multidisciplinary expertise or perspectives, including members come from various public universities, non-academic institutions, or community-based organizations, or providing opportunities to build skills and expertise for individuals from underrepresented groups. Reviewers will consider if key personnel contributing significantly to the project (i.e., a principal investigator, co-principal investigator or co-investigator, contributing 25 percent or more of their time to the project) have not worked with CARB in the past five years.
- Explanation of technical or methodological approach (25 points)
The pre-proposal should clearly explain the logic and feasibility of the methodology and technical approach to the project, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the work. The pre-proposal should include a clear description and plan for how each task will be completed.
To score highly in this category, an applicant should show that they (1) understand how to synthesize index metrics from diverse datasets, and (2) can work with spatial data to account for the variability in climate risks and local conditions.
- Level and quality of effort and cost effectiveness (25 points)
The pre-proposal should describe how time and resources will be allocated and demonstrate how this allocation ensures the project’s success. Pre-proposal reviewers will evaluate, for example: if the objectives of the project can be met given this allocation, if there is adequate supervision and oversight to ensure that the project will remain on schedule, if time and cost are appropriately divided up across different project tasks and stages. Overall proposed costs for the must not exceed $300,000.
Summers, Kevin, L. Harwell, K. Buck, L. Smith, D. Vivian, J. Bousquin, J. Harvey, S. Hafner, AND M. McLaughlin. Development of a Climate Resilience Screening Index (CRSI): An Assessment of Resilience to Acute Meteorological Events and Selected Natural Hazards. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-17/238, 2017.