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SFU climate-change conference to discuss policy gaps

March 26, 2008

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Community, first nations, government, industry and NGO representatives will meet March 31-April 1 at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue for the first in a series of conferences to assess ways of adapting to climate change.

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

"In some areas, forest cover will change and the snow pack will diminish, impacting animals' migration patterns and exacerbating the threat of extinction,” explains Nancy Olewiler, director of SFU’s Master of Public Policy Program and a member of ACT’s steering committee. “In cases such as the climate-driven pine beetle epidemic, the repercussions will increase over time.

"This first ACT conference reinforces why it's so important to develop targeted policies to cope with the impacts - positive and negative - of climate change."

Communities in Jeopardy is the first 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.

"ACT grew out of concerns about a lack of policy planning for adaptation to climate change," says Jon O'Riordan, policy author for ACT's first session and a former B.C. deputy minister of sustainable resource management.

"These sessions represent the first time stakeholders will be invited to collaborate on developing viable policy responses for key issues that will affect all Canadians."
In addition to the invitation-only conference, ACT is hosting a public dialogue on climate change impacts on local ecosystems and ways to respond, at 7:00 p.m., March 31 at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings St.
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