Opportunities & Other Information

California Climate Action Planning Conference

Cal Poly and the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research will hold the third California Climate Action Planning Conference (CCAPC) August 24 & 25, 2017 at the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo campus.  The conference will continue to address issues related to the climate crisis with an eye toward action, including—the new CA Scoping Plan, pathways to deep de-carbonization, successful financing and implementation, community vulnerability assessment, state planning guidance, and climate justice. The conference will focus on in-depth issues in
GHG emissions reduction and climate adaptation at the local and regional level. Panels will featured leaders in the field to bring the most up-to-date and advanced thinking.

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Conference Schedule

The conference program is now available. Check back as we continue to confirm invited speakers.

Day 1—Thursday




Registration Opens

Coffee Social


Opening Plenary Panel

California Local and State Leadership in Addressing Climate Change


California is committed to addressing the climate crisis and leads at the state, regional, and local level. This leadership is increasingly recognized nationally and globally, especially as U.S. federal leadership has faltered. In this session, we will hear about the role of leadership for California to continue its progress towards a low-carbon, resilient future.







Plenary Panel

The California Context for Local Climate Action Planning


The State of California has numerous laws and policies that create a framework for action and regulate, incentivize, fund, and inform city, county, and regional governments. Local governments must be a part of meeting the state’s mitigation and adaptation goals. In this session, we will gain insights on the state’s view of the local role in climate action.



Michael McCormick, Senior Planner, OPR

Jeannie Lee, Senior Counsel, OPR

Michael Boswell, Professor, Cal Poly


Lunch (Networking)


Emerging Issues in Climate Action


Our plans and processes are affected by dynamic research, policy, and technological frameworks though we do our best to rely on established methods and successful best practices. We are guided by state and regional regulations, goals, and policies. We seek out industry experts and innovative approaches to accelerate climate action. We accept that our planning and decision-making processes must be nimble and open to changes in our assumptions and opportunities. We know important changes are occurring that have serious implications for our work to accelerate action. While we are responsive to many, there are changes that we’re not addressing for various reasons. We know they have a role in building low carbon cities but they pose many questions, possibly more questions than answers. During this session, we’ll present key emerging issues in policy, methods, and technologies. We’ll explore alternative approaches to inventorying GHG emissions, disruptive trends in the transportation sector (from AV to TNC and more), and emerging issues in the energy and waste sectors.



Rich Walter, Senior Fellow, ICF International

Ronald T. Milam, Director of Evolving the Status Quo, Fehr & Peers

Tammy Seale, Associate Principal, PlaceWorks


We’re All in This Together! How Local Governments Can Support Community Groups in Achieving Climate Action Goals


CAPs focus on local government policies, programs, and projects to achieve most GHG reductions. In California, there is a strong community of non-governmental actors working on climate change issues. This session examines how local governments can support these organizations to achieve overlapping climate goals and objectives. Each panelist will talk about their program, how they interact with local governments, and how they can be better supported moving forward. Session attendees will be encouraged to share their own examples and recommendations as part of an open discussion.



Dan Berry, Director, Path to Positive Communities

Torri Estrada, Managing Director, Carbon Cycle Institute

Chris Granger, Executive Director, Cool Davis Foundation

Victoria Carranza, Education Director, One Cool Earth








We Did It! Transferable Lessons from Successfully Implemented GHG Reduction Programs, Policies, and Projects


This session provides an overview of a project (energy efficiency investments at a government facility), a program (California Green Business), and a policy (EV and solar ordinances) that have been implemented and are currently achieving real GHG reductions. Each panelist will explain in detail how they moved a CAP measure into a GHG reducing machine, including a discussion about political support, staff and capital costs, ongoing costs, and transferable lessons learned. Learn what they did, how they did it, and what you need to know to get started in your community.



Kim Springer, Resource Conservation Program Manager, County of San Mateo

Jon Griesser, Supervisor of Energy and Climate Programs, County of San Luis Obispo


Mainstreaming Adaptation: LHMP, Safety Element Integration, LCPs & General Plans


What are the state goals regarding long term implementation of climate adaptation and how are they being implemented locally? This session summarizes recent state legislation and examines the development and integration of climate change adaptation strategies on the local level. This includes vulnerability assessment, including social vulnerability, and integration into local plans such as Local Hazards Mitigation Plans, Local Coastal Plans, and General Plans.



Leeanne Singleton, Environmental Analyst, City of Hermosa Beach

Aaron Pfannenstiel, Senior Associate, PlaceWorks

Michael McCormick, Senior Planner, OPR


Conference Reception


Special Student Session on Careers in Climate Action


Farmer’s Market in Downtown SLO (on your own)

Day 2—Friday




Coffee Social


Climate Action by Design


At every climate conference, someone speaks of a future where climate action plans have become obsolete. In this future, we discuss how the cumbersome CAP went extinct and was replace by climate-oriented long-range planning documents, policies, and regulations. But what if this future is now? What if climate action plans really are unnecessary? This session will feature practitioners working at the building, district, city, and region scale to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through better design.



Alexa Washburn, National Community Renaissance

Ryan Stendell, Community Development Director, City of Palm Desert











Funding Local Action


Local governments in California are eager to take action to build low-carbon, resilient communities. However, as previous studies and day-to-day interactions with local leaders make clear, determining how to fund climate action planning and implementation is frequently a significant barrier to progress. Local governments often take the lead in identifying needs and options, and are then required to find external funds or devise locally acceptable financing mechanisms to implement them. This session aims to address (1) assessing the financial needs, (2) identifying economically and politically feasible financing options to fill this need, and (3) discussing the challenges and how can they be overcome.



Nuin-Tara Key, Resilience Program Manager, OPR

Robert Kay, Principal Consultant, ICF International



10:45 -12:15

The Path to 2050 and Deep Decarbonization


As we make further progress on the path to the 2050 goal, the type and effectiveness of local actions will need to evolve. What will communities need to do differently to achieve much more substantial emissions reductions than have occurred to date? What actions are within local control, and what important local actions are needed to complement future actions taken by the State or others? This session will examine potential strategies on the path to “deep decarbonization”, including net-zero carbon development, fuel-switching, sequestration in natural and working lands and blue carbon (including new accounting methods for net gain/loss of sequestration and storage), and the role of carbon offsets. We will explore existing barriers and opportunities to achieving deep decarbonization, including local and State laws and regulations, emerging technologies, and recent trends that may provide some insights on the Path to 2050.



Matt Carpenter, Vice President, FivePoint Communities

 Erik de Kok, Senior Project Manager, Ascent

Dave Vintze, Air Quality Planning Manager, BAAQMD


















Whose Climate Plan is This? Planning for an Equitable Climate Future through Authentic Community Partnerships


It is commonly accepted that climate change will have greater impacts on traditionally underserved communities. At the same time, those charged with developing the long-term plans for addressing climate change, often struggle to engage and coordinate with equity and social justice groups. The recently passed SB1000 - which requires integration of environmental justice in general planning - seeks to address this disconnect, and will certainly pose challenges to some climate practitioners who are unprepared to engage with environmental justice stakeholders. Although some of this disconnect stems from differences in practices and collaborative norms, some also stem from long-standing political, racial, socio-economic, and cultural barriers. This session will offer a direct and honest conversation among practitioners in climate planning and social justice/equity practitioners about what meaningful engagement is, how to craft an authentic vision for community-based climate planning and most importantly what we can do to go beyond addressing injustice to building a just future for everyone.



Eric Yurkovich, Senior Planner, Raimi + Associates

Nahal Ghoghaie, Bay Area Program Coordinator, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

James Rojas, Principal,

Place It


Lunch (Networking)


Measuring Success - Is the Needle Moving?


For many environmental issues, measuring success can be determined in a quantifiable way in terms of items such as improved air quality, reduction in water pollution, or acquisition of sensitive habitat.  However; GHG can only be measured indirectly.  Therefore, a key challenge with climate action plans is how to measure success.  Besides the technical issues, there are also significant policy issues.  One example is the geographic scale whether success should be evaluated at a local or regional level.  A second challenge is whether agencies should track changes in policies or tangible outcomes.  Another challenge is how to communicate these successes to key decision makers who are critical to any continued success. The session will present different perspectives on how to measure success at a variety of scales and discuss challenges and solutions.



Andrea Howard, Staff Analyst, Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG)

Chris Gray, Transportation Director, Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG)













Harnessing the Climate Mitigation Potentials of Natural & Working Lands


California is a land rich in natural resources and amenities. Its rural landscapes are not only diverse and beautiful but they also provide the foundation of one of the strongest economies in the world. Rural California comprises 95% of the state’s total land area; these areas provide for the livelihoods of millions and are essential for supplying critical ecosystem services to all Californians. Rural California’s natural and working lands provide critical opportunities for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions through carbon sequestration - the state’s only asset that actually removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere - and avoided emissions, while supporting millions of jobs. This panel will explore current and potential climate mitigation opportunities within California’s forests, watersheds, agricultural land, rangeland and oceans and their co-benefits of climate adaptation and job creation.



Dorian Fougères, California Program Manager, National Forest Foundation

Betony Jones, UC Berkeley Labor Center

Jenn Phillips, Ocean Protection Council

Pelayo Alvarez, Carbon Cycle Institute




Closing Plenary

What do We Need to Succeed in Local Climate Action

The program and presentations from prior conferences are archived and available on the Cal Poly Digital Commons.


Ascent Environmental

Please consider sponsoring this important conference! Please contact: Mike Boswell mboswell@calpoly.edu.

Accommodations & Logistics

Since the conference is held on campus we do not have conference hotel. We suggest staying close to campus—the hotel area on upper (northern) Monterey Street allows for a variety of convenient transportation choices. We also have an option for low-cost, no frills accommodations in campus dorms. You can get more information on this option when you register.


Conference Directors

Mike Boswell, Professor, Cal Poly, mboswell@calpoly.edu
Adrienne GreveAssociate Professor, Cal Poly, agreve@calpoly.edu

Steering Committee

Matt Burris, Raimi & Associates
Chris Gray, Western Riverside COG
Diana Madson, Sierra CAMP and Sierra Business Council
Michael McCormick, OPR
Chris Read, San Luis Obispo County
Kif Scheuer, Local Government Commission
Tammy Seale, PlaceWorks
Honey Walters, Ascent Environmental

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