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Week of February 11, 2013

U-M will host National 
Climate Assessment town hall

U-M will host a Midwest regional town hall Tuesday where findings of the recently released draft National Climate Assessment will be presented.

The 1,100-page-plus report was written for the federal government by a team of more than 240 scientists, including several from U-M. It assesses the key impacts of climate change on every region of the country and analyzes its likely effects on human health, water, energy, transportation, agriculture, forest, ecosystems and biodiversity.

The draft report, released Jan. 11, states that climate change will lead to more frequent and more intense Midwest heat waves while degrading air and water quality and threatening public health. Intense rainstorms and floods will become more common in the region, and current problems in the Great Lakes — such as invasive species and “dead zones” — will be exacerbated.

Tuesday’s meeting at U-M’s Palmer Commons is sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is one of a series of town halls being held across the country. The U-M meeting will include presentations about the expected impacts of climate change on the Midwest and on U.S. agriculture and transportation; ongoing efforts to adapt to climate change; and the relationship between land use and climate change.

About 100 climate change experts and users of climate change information will attend, including participants from academia; local, state, tribal and federal governments; nonprofit organizations; and business and industry.

“This is a great opportunity to learn more about the National Climate Assessment, how to comment on the draft report, and ongoing research on climate change in this region. The assessment of impacts is a critical step in preparing for potential futures,” said David Bidwell, program director for the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center, a research fellow at U-M’s Graham Sustainability Institute, and one of the event organizers.

The 2013 report is the third federal climate assessment since 2000 and the first to include a chapter on adapting to climate change. Rosina Bierbaum, a professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the School of Public Health, was a lead convening author of the adaptation chapter. Missy Stults, a research fellow with Bierbaum and a doctoral student at the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, was a contributing author on the chapter.

U-M co-sponsors of the event are the Graham Sustainability Institute, the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, and the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences. U-M President Emeritus James Duderstadt will deliver welcoming remarks at the town hall.

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