ACT is proud to announce that Jon O’Riordan, the policy author for ACT’s first session – Climate Change Adaptation and Biodiversity – presented our findings on natural capital at a workshop of the Pew Centre for Global Climate Change held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Jon was the only Canadian to present at the workshop.

Pew Centre for Global Climate ChangeThe Pew Center on Global Climate Change brings together business leaders, policy makers, scientists, and other experts to bring new approaches to climate change issues, working to protect the climate while sustaining important economic growth. Over the past ten years, Pew has issued over 100 reports from top-tier researchers on key climate topics including economic and environmental impacts, and domestic and international policy solutions. The Center, which distributes its reports to more than 4,000 opinion leaders throughout the world with thousands more downloaded monthly from the Center’s website, is regularly featured in major news stories from the Associated Press, Nature Magazine, The New York Times, and other media.

ACT Policy Author Jon O\'RiordanThe U.S. government is considering a range of near-term actions to address the risks of climate change, and the Obama administration and Congress vow to make climate legislation a top priority this year. The quickest action, however, may come from federal agencies being pressured by the courts, the states, and President Obama, to issue rules limiting CO2 emissions under existing legislative authority. The two-day workshop, which consisted of a symposium assessing the benefits of avoided climate change, followed by a moderated roundtable discussion, covered key elements of federal rulemaking in assessing the costs and benefits of proposed policies.

Drawing from the climate change economics, impacts, and risk assessment communities, the workshop considered what useful insights can be gleaned now about quantifying the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of developing practical recommendations that decision makers can employ now, and a research plan for improving related decision-making tools over time.

In addition to Jon, workshop speakers included:

Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center
Dina Kruger, Director, EPA Climate Change Division
Janet Peace, Vice President for Market and Business Strategies, Pew Center

Panel 1 – Government Perspectives on Decision Making for Climate Change
Martha Roberts:  Incorporating the benefits of climate protection into federal rulemaking
Christopher Pyke:  A proposal to consider global warming under NEPA
Paul Watkiss:  Social cost of carbon estimates and their use in UK policy
James Lester/Joel Smith:  Previous decisions to mitigate—California, Australia, the UK

Panel 2 – Challenges for Quantifying Damages and Risks from Climate Change
Joel Smith: Dangerous climate change: an update of the IPCC reasons for concern
Mike MacCracken & Tony Janetos: Challenges to providing quantitative estimates of  the environmental and societal impacts of global warming
Kris Ebi: Societal Vulnerability and Risk
Brian O’Neill: Uncertainty and learning in climate policy

Panel 3 – Economic Analysis of the Benefits of Climate Policy
Kristen Sheeran: Limitations of IAMs for analyzing the costs and benefits of climate policy
Steve Rose: Federal policy needs for evaluating climate change impacts: Working with what you have
Gary Yohe:  An analytical framework based on the IPPC’s “iterative risk assessment” paradigm

ACT’s second set of findings – on Extreme Weather Events, by Dr. Gordon McBean and Dan Henstra – will be released on April 20th, 2009.