University of South Carolina to Host Columbia Climate Summit
On April 1 and 2 the University of South Carolina will host Climate Ready Columbia, a conference on the Columbia metropolitan area’s preparations for climate change. While the conversation on climate change often focuses on national and state efforts, the conference spotlights local and municipal policy options. The conference, which is free and open to the public, will provide fourteen expert panels, each devoted to an aspect of local climate response. Panel topics include renewable energy, transitioning to electrical vehicles, flooding infrastructure, and promoting local green business.
In 2017 Columbia became the first city in South Carolina to commit to the Ready for 100 Pledge to Transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2036, but there remains no clear roadmap for meeting this commitment. “This conference is an important opportunity to take stock of our progress, and to rededicate ourselves to responding to climate change,” said Bob Petrulis, the Chair of the City’s Climate Protection Action Committee. It is also an opportunity to consider what cities can be doing to prepare and adapt for increasing temperatures, and extreme weather. “Cities and counties are on the front lines of climate change, which we saw with the historic flooding of 2015,” said Matt Kisner, the conference Director and a Professor at the University of South Carolina. “But this matters to business too,” he added. “Cities and counties are potential winners and losers as we transition to a green economy.”
The conference will kick off with remarks from Columbia’s new Mayor, Daniel Rickenmann, who founded a green business (Waste2Energy). The keynote speaker is Dr. Denise Fairchild, the founder of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a national nonprofit network of organizations that advocates for green cities and environmental justice. In addition to the conference, Climate Ready Columbia includes a Sustainable Yard Tour on April 3rd, where participants can tour local gardens featuring sustainable practices. It also includes Climate Conversations, a webinar series on Facebook that discusses climate responses with experts. In conjunction with the conference, the McKissick Museum at UofSC will be exhibiting photography on wild bees by Paula Sharp and Ross Eatman, and on sustainable farms in the south by Brett Schenning. Climate Ready Columbia is funded by the Ann Johnson Institute for Science, Technology and Society at the University of South Carolina in partnership with local organizations including the City of Columbia’s Climate Protection Action Committee, Richland County, the Gills Creek Watershed Association, Let’s Meat Less!, Conservation Voters South Carolina, the South Carolina State Energy Office, Sustainable Midlands, Columbia Green, the Climate Realities Project, Net Impact at UofSC, the University of South Carolina Office of Sustainability, the Sierra Club, and more.
Details about the Conference, the Sustainable Yard Tour, and Climate Conversations can be found at climatereadycola.org and https://www.facebook.com/ClimateReadyColumbia. Direct general inquiries to [email protected]. Direct questions about the Sustainable Yard Tour to [email protected], and about the photography exhibits to [email protected].