ACT Release: November 5, 2008

For Immediate Release
November 5, 2008

Simon Fraser University’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) Holds International Conference on Climate Change and BC’s Future

International Climate Impacts and Responses conference draws speakers from four continents

Vancouver, BC – Simon Fraser University’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) and Imagine BC present International Climate Impacts and Responses and the Future for BC, a free, one-day conference on climate change challenges and responses around the world, and what we in BC can learn from them. The November 20th conference at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue brings together leading experts from around the world in an urgent dialogue about the impacts of climate change that are already underway, both in BC and globally.

The international panel includes Dr. Allan Lavell of Costa Rica, Dr. Anand Patwardhan of India, Dr. Hassan Virji of Africa and Bruce Campbell of Australia. Providing unprecedented access to experts who are experiencing significant climate impacts in their home countries, the group will discuss these challenges, responses, and what British Columbians can do to adapt to impacts they can expect to experience at home. The conference will also feature input from leading Canadian climate expert and ACT policy author Dr. Gordon McBean, and internationally-renowned economist and ACT co-founder, Dr. Richard Lipsey. The eminent group will also participate in an invitation-only ACT conference on November 21st at SFU Vancouver on Climate Impacts and Public Safety.

“Climate change has not yet affected Metro Vancouver to the same extent it has elsewhere,” says Deborah Harford, ACT Program Director. “Nonetheless, incidents such as record-breaking windstorms, power outages, sea level rise and the boil water advisory of 2006 are serious threats, and we must prepare for these and other impacts to our systems.”

“Informed policies are essential to making Canadian cities more resilient to climate change, by building the links between climate change adaptation and hazard mitigation,” says Dr. McBean. “Our panelists are coming to share their ideas on adaptation, and to create connections between the ways our countries experience climate change. This dialogue is a major win for policy development in Canada.”

“The time for dialogue is now,” adds Ms. Harford. “This is an opportunity for global leaders in research, policy makers – and members of the public – to meet, and to plan effectively for climate change. The diversity of the panelists and participants testifies to the urgency of the problem – and also, to great hope for our future.”

International Climate Impacts and Responses takes place November 20 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. The conference begins with presentations and a moderated dialogue with the four international experts. Following the Imagine BC-sponsored luncheon, with keynote speaker Guy Dauncey, president, BC Sustainable Energy Association, the conference continues with BC perspectives and a group dialogue on climate impacts and ways we can adapt BC speakers include Graham Whitmarsh, head of BC’s Climate Action Secretariat, Dave Porter of the Kaska Dena Tribal Council, Kindy Gosal, director of Water and Environment Initiatives at the Columbia Basin Trust, and Associate Chair of SFU’s Department of Biological Sciences, Dr. Elizabeth Elle.

International Climate Impacts and Responses is part of ACT’s six month-long Extreme Events session – the second of ten six-month sessions addressing the impacts of climate change – presented with the support of the Government of British Columbia and Zurich Canada.

To register for this event go to – registration is free and includes lunch, but space is limited. Registration closes on November 18th. For more information about ACT please visit

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Notes to editors: please see attached for biographies of international panelists.

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.

About Imagine BC

Imagine BC is a five-year futures project convened by Simon Fraser University’s Dialogue Programs. This dialogue series aims to involve leaders from diverse sectors in the province in thinking forward about BC’s possible futures, 30 years out. Imagine BC’s programs are presented with the support of key sponsor, the North Growth Foundation and the Province of British Columbia.

For more information or media interviews with Dr. Gordon McBean or ACT Program Director Deborah Harford:

Almira Bardai
AVID Communications Inc
Tel: 604-568-7214