Central Texas To Launch First Regional Effort To Prepare Communities For Climate Impacts

October 4, 2013

Georgetown Climate Center Executive Director Vicki Arroyo will share a national perspective of adaptation solutions to climate change in a keynote address on Friday, October 4 at the University of Texas at Austin. Arroyo’s remarks will inform the first regional planning effort in central Texas to help communities prepare for extreme heat, drought, wildfires, and other climate change impacts affecting the region.

The event, entitled "Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategies," is co-sponsored by the Georgetown Climate Center and will assess the shared climate challenges central Texas communities face and provide an opportunity to identify collaborative solutions to make the region more resilient. Arroyo will describe innovative efforts different states and cities are taking to prepare for dangerous climate impacts and provide lessons learned from effective regional collaborations.

This new focus on climate preparedness in central Texas comes as the state endures the second-worst drought in its history, according to State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon. Seventy percent of Texans believe climate change happening and more than half have experienced and are worried about the impacts. More than half of Texans also support government action on climate change.

By mid-century, central Texas is projected to experience a 50 percent increase in 100-degree days, a 15 percent decrease of summer precipitation, and a 10 to 20 percent decrease in surface water as a result, according to UT-Austin climate scientist Kerry Cook. Hotter, drier conditions are the new normal for Texas, underscoring the importance of acting now to adapt.

The conference, hosted by the Center for Politics and Governance at UT-Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, will bring together key stakeholders throughout central Texas to learn about the region’s climate vulnerability and discuss how to strengthen local policies and planning efforts to become more resilient. These efforts can build on existing plans by the city of Austin to reduce carbon emissions through 2020 that include using more renewable energy, more cleaner-powered vehicles, and greater energy efficiency. Event organizers include Adaptation International, the Texas Drought Project, the Institute for Sustainable Communities, and graduate students at UT-Austin.

To learn more about the event, please visit http://www.georgetownclimate.org/central-texas-adaptation-event.

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The Georgetown Climate Center is a leading resource on policies that seek to both mitigate and prepare for climate changes.  Its widely used Adaptation Clearinghouse contains more than 1,000 adaptation resources for policymakers.