ACT Release: May 15, 2008

For Immediate Release
May 15, 2008

Adapting to Climate Change: Simon Fraser University Presents Conference on Extreme Weather Events

Vancouver, BC – Simon Fraser University’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) presents Extreme Events: Municipalities Adapting to Climate Change. Chaired by IPCC author Dr. Gordon McBean, Policy Chair for the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the two-day conference is being held at SFU’s downtown campus on June 2nd and 3rd, with an evening of public dialogue on June 2nd featuring Dr. McBean as one of four panellists.

The conference, which will be attended by community leaders, First Nations, governments, industry, researchers and NGOs, will uncover municipal adaptation strategies for extreme weather events and natural hazards caused by climate change, and explore the constraints and jurisdictional overlaps decision-makers face.

“The session is designed to develop resources for decision-makers and the public that address impacts such as severe rain storms, mudslides, forest fires and gale-force winds,” says Deborah Harford, ACT Program Director.

“The devastation recently experienced in Myanmar is an extreme example of the climate-related damage already being felt in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, with fallen trees in Stanley Park, mudslides in North Vancouver and rising sea levels in Richmond. It is important that as decision makers, we begin examining adaptation measures in concert with mitigation strategies in dealing with climate change and weather systems,” says Dr. McBean.

The extreme weather events/natural hazards session will feature two further conferences on the physical threats posed by climate change, to be held in Fall 2008: one on Public Safety and one on Infrastructure.

A six-month policy development process will develop the findings from these conferences, exploring current research and regulations, identifying knowledge gaps, and developing policy options for sustainable adaptation. ACT will publish its findings on Extreme Events in early 2009.

Extreme Events: Municipalities Adapting to Climate Change is the second in a series of ten six-month 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, new technology innovations, and the linkages between these issues. This session is presented in partnership with the Government of British Columbia and Zurich Canada

The public dialogue takes place from 7:00-9:00 pm on Monday, June 2 in SFU’s Fletcher Challenge Theatre, 515 West Hastings Street. Registration is free, and seating is limited.

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About ACT

SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) is a new initiative that aims to help government, industry and communities develop sustainable responses to climate change. The four-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 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 or to interview Dr. Gordon McBean or ACT Program Director Deborah Harford:

Almira Bardai
AVID Communications Inc
Tel: 604-561-7516