Take control of climate change

Lectures, lab tours and lessons learned in climate change symposium

Connie Hartline
Publications Manager
American Public Works Association
Kansas City, Missouri

APWA will host a landmark event for local governments and their public works departments on April 9-10 in Tempe, Arizona. While much is being said about climate change and its future impact, the reality is that many cities and counties are taking action now to mitigate these impacts in their current planning budget cycles. The APWA Symposium on Climate Change will be both an educational experience and a national town meeting for discussion of the public works role and action to address this topic.

Public works professionals are responsible for some of the most rapidly changing environments on earth—urban regions. Over the next two generations, more people will reside in urban areas than in rural, creating massive urban heat islands and other conditions that impact climate change. The projected growth equals 80 million new urban dwellers each year, bringing to these urban regions changes that influence health and comfort, energy costs, air quality and visibility levels, water availability and quality, ecological services, recreation, and overall quality of life.

According to APWA President Larry Frevert, "Changing weather patterns, changing regulations and laws, aging infrastructure, rising costs and rate increases affect us all. How we, as public works professionals manage through this maze of complexities, maintain our perspective and focus on our goals is critical to completing our mission to serve the public good."

Arizona State University's Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building II, which houses the National Center of Excellence labs along with other labs from the Departments of Mechanical and Civil Engineering (photo by Joby D. Carlson)

In this high-caliber event, a maximum of 100 participants will get the latest information on ways public works departments can mitigate and adapt concepts to favorably impact the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This day-and-a-half symposium combines the insights of some of the nation's top environmental researchers along with the lessons learned by public works experts with proven track records in managing the environment. An added bonus will be six lab tours of Arizona State University's National Center of Excellence.

Speakers include Dr. Jay Golden, director of the National Center of Excellence and assistant professor in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State; Dr. Kristie L. Ebi, senior managing scientist for Exponent in Alexandria, Virginia; Dr. Peter Schultz, director of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Office in Washington, D.C.; APWA Environment Director-at-Large George Crombie, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources; and Dwayne Kalynchuk, general manager, Capital Regional District, Victoria, British Columbia.

Topics to be covered include a systems approach to mitigating climate change; the background and implications of climate change; federal support for climate change; initiatives in transportation, water/wastewater, solid waste and utility programs; and an update and overview of federal legislative issues. The City of Denver, Colorado's development of a green fleet and the greenscaping efforts of Seattle, Washington, will be discussed in case studies, as well.

To learn more about this symposium, see the ad on page 19 in this issue or go online to: /SuperPush/index.asp?ID=99.

Connie Hartline can be reached at (816) 595-5258 or chartline@apwa.net.

Inside of one of the labs at the National Center of Excellence (photo by Joby D. Carlson)