ACT Release: March 25, 2008

For Immediate Release
March 25, 2008

Communities in Jeopardy: SFU Climate Change Team Fills Policy Gaps

Vancouver, BC – Canadian community leaders, first nations, governments, industry, academic and NGO representatives are meeting at Simon Fraser University Vancouver March 31-April 1, in a pioneering effort to find ways to adapt to the impact of climate change.

Organized by SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), the Communities in Jeopardy: Plant, Animal and Human conference will explore key challenges posed by climate change on ecosystems west of the Rockies, and help develop policy recommendations for sustainable community responses.

“ACT grew out of concerns about a lack of policy planning for adaptation to climate change impacts for issues such as increased frequencies of power outages, storm damage, health risks, and sea level rise,” says Jon O’Riordan, ACT policy author and former deputy minister in the BC government. “This is the first time stakeholders will be invited to collaborate on developing viable policy responses for issues that will affect all Canadians.”

The Communities in Jeopardy conference kicks off a series of nine six-month-long ACT sessions examining the impact of climate change on biodiversity, extreme weather events, health, population displacement, energy production and distribution, fresh water supply, crop adaptation, sea level rise, and new technology innovations.

“In some areas, forest cover will change and the snow pack will diminish, impacting wildlife migration patterns and exacerbating the threat of extinction. And the cumulative area of BC affected to some degree by the Mountain Pine Beetle is estimated at 13.5 million hectares – four times the size of Vancouver Island,” explains Dr. Nancy Olewiler, Director of SFU’s Master of Public Policy Program and a member of ACT’s steering committee. “This first ACT conference reinforces why it is so important to develop targeted policies to cope with the tangible impacts – positive and negative – of climate change.”

In addition to the invitation-only conference, ACT is hosting a public dialogue at 7:00 pm on Monday, March 31 at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings St., on climate change impacts on BC’s ecosystems and ways communities can respond.

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About ACT

SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) is an initiative that aims to help government, industry and communities develop sustainable responses to climate change. The five-year program hosts a series of ten sessions in which a cross-section of thought leaders from industry, academia, government, communities, NGOs and First Nations from across Canada and around the world come together to examine climate change, its impacts on communities and industry, and viable policy options. Session topics include extreme events, ecosystem shifts, health risks, fresh water supply, crop and food adaptation, energy production and distribution, new technologies, sea level rise, displaced populations, and linkages between these issues.

For more information:

Almira Bardai
AVID Communications
Tel: 604-568-7214