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Cities & Climate Change Science Conference

This week, the City of Edmonton hosted the inaugural Cities and Climate Change Science Conference. The conference welcomed more than 800 municipal representatives, scientists and academics from around the world to share the latest scientific research on climate change and inspire global and regional action within cities to address the issue of climate change.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Cities IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Chris Vilcsak, President and CEO of Solution 105 sits on the Energy Transition Advisory Committee that reports to Edmonton City Council. This group has been quite active in helping to shape Edmonton’s programs and initiatives regarding climate change. Vilcsak attended the conference and shares his thoughts on some of the information presented there.

At the conference, Katharine Hayhoe, a Canadian-born atmospheric scientist who is now based in Texas, presented a paper to show how a warming planet will affect Alberta. She reports that for every degree of global mean temperature increase, Alberta will see:

  • A 2 C increase in average winter temperatures and a 1.5 C increase in average summer temperatures
  • A two-week lengthening of the frost-free season, and between a two- to four-week lengthening of the growing season, with greater changes in southern locations
  • A 10 per cent increase in precipitation from September to April, with more rain falling than snow, and a decrease in dry days.

Read more in this article from CBC Edmonton News.

“The presentation by Katharine Hayhoe was fantastic,” said Vilcsak. “Her information regarding the specific impacts of climate change for Edmonton was great. Yes, it might be warming up even faster in Edmonton, as for every degree the temperature rises globally, we go up by 2 degrees, but it also means the warmer winters may not kill off as many pests like the pine beetle, for example. Some of the changes might seem okay, but many others will have a very negative impact.”

Vilcsak also commented that the biggest issues we must deal with as a result to climate change will be changes to water cycle and the many, much more severe storms and natural disasters happening around the world.


The Star: Edmonton mayor tells UN conference cities can fight climate change alone Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says even if federal or regional governments are indifferent or hostile, municipal policies can influence at least 70 per cent of world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Read article.

Edmonton Metro: Cities must lead the way in addressing global climate change: Mayor Edmonton is hosting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Cities event until Wednesday, which brings together municipal leaders, scientists, representatives from the United Nations and other experts from around the globe to discuss the role cities will play in addressing climate change. Read article.

CBC News: Edmonton climate conference hears predictions for a warming province While climate change is a global problem, people at the conference believe meaningful change can happen in cities — be it Edmonton or Quito, Ecuador. Hayhoe, a Canadian-born atmospheric scientist, presented a paper to show how a warming planet will affect Alberta. Read article