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Experts, Officials Discuss Climate Change Adaptation

Aug 4, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Leaders in the Metropolitan Washington region are committed to preventing the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change. However, there is growing scientific consensus that no matter how extensive such efforts are, some effects of climate change may be unavoidable.

On July 23, 2009, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), in collaboration with Northrop Grumman Corporation, hosted a climate adaptation workshop to discuss ways in which to prepare for the possible effects of climate change. The workshop was attended by more than 50 environmental professionals and elected officials from local, state, and federal government, academia, private industry, and non-profit organizations.  The workshop provided attendees with an excellent opportunity to see presentations about climate adaptation, talk about current issues, network with colleagues, and go back to their programs with new ideas.

The workshop began with presentations by Stuart Freudberg, COG’s Director of Environmental Programs and Dr. Robert Brammer, Chief Information Officer at Northrop Grumman Information Systems. Freudberg provided the context for the workshop, which was derived from COG’s Climate Change Report, adopted by its Board of Directors in November 2008.  The report acknowledged that some regional impact of climate change was likely over the next 20-40 years and the region needed to develop adaptation plans in a wide range of fields. Dr. Brammer spoke about the broad potential challenges posed by climate change and Northrop Grumman’s ability to provide innovative technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide to address those challenges.

The opening remarks were followed by a presentation from Nikki Rovner, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources, which provided an introduction to the issue of climate adaptation, focusing primarily on the results of research by the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Climate Change.  Topics covered by Rovner included the need to plan for adaptation, expected impacts in Virginia and the Metropolitan Washington region, and examples of management actions that could be taken to mitigate those impacts.  Rovner’s presentation was followed by a presentation from Glenn Higgins, Manager of Atmospheric Sciences and Engineering Department at Northrop Grumman about Grumman’s climate strategy, climate modeling and decision aids, and examples of how decisions aids could be used to guide management actions.

The afternoon session of the workshop was highlighted by the following panel of presentations:

For each topic, the panelists identified adaptation issues, additional needed analyses, and potential strategies for addressing issues.  The workshop concluded with a discussion among attendees about potential approaches and issue areas for developing a regional adaptation plan as recommended in COG’s Climate Change Report.  Additional feedback to attendees is planned in the coming months.

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