Laurentian Helps Lead Climate Change Research

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In recent decades, climate change has been a major issue—with increasing numbers of severe storms, heatwaves, and forest fires like the one that hit Fort McMurray in 2016. But as important as the issue is, people in many places are just starting to coordinate responses to the risks posed by the changing climate.

That’s why Environment and Climate Change Canada recently announced the creation of the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Results. Efforts to manage such risks are becoming an important part of how society responds to climate change, and the panel is trying to assess how much of a difference those efforts are making. This panel will assist in measuring improved resilience of Canadian communities, sectors of the economy, and society as a whole, against the effects of climate change which includes efforts to update building codes, research to support climate-smart infrastructure, and improve national communication with regards to climate change.

One of the members of this new panel will be Laurentian University’s Al Douglas, director of the Ontario Center for Climate Impact and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) at the Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO). Douglas has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master in Business Administration, both from Laurentian University; he’s been at the OCCIAR since 2002. The OCCIAR fits in perfectly with the mandate of the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results, as the OCCIAR’s primary areas of expertise are the communication of climate change, and encouraging the development of climate change adaptation strategies.

“It’s important for our governments to know if the actions they’re taking to build resiliency and adapt to climate change are effective,” explained Al Douglas in a news release. “We need to know if the things we’re are doing are the right things, if they’re working, and if they’re cost-effective.”

“First Nations, communities and many critical economic sectors in Ontario face significant climate change related challenges, and opportunities,” he continued. “I believe the work of this panel can play an important role in shaping how we, collectively, adapt to climate change.”

The new expert panel will be reporting to Dr. Stephen Lucas, Deputy Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, come spring of 2018.