Three internationally recognized scientists will address ocean-related impacts of climate change at a two-day conference at St. Petersburg College in October.
- Harold Wanless, a University of Miami researcher who has studied the last 8,000 years of coastal environment evolution and has done extensive research into coastal geology
- Andrew Keeler, whose Coastal Studies Institute at the University of North Carolina has delved into the economic aspects of coastal adaptation to rising seas.
- John Englander, oceanographic consultant to government and industry who addresses large-scale financial and societal impacts of climate change.
The conference will focus on linking scientifically credible information to the formulation and implementation of sound, effective public and private-sector policies. It is being convened by the Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP), in coordination with the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College (ISPS), and a local committee of interested citizens. It will be held at the Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. The public is invited, but advance registration is required.
The local event is one of a series of similar ISGP-sponsored conferences held around the country during 2015 aimed at engaging local communities in useful debates and caucus discussions concerning various aspects of climate issues. The goal is to reach consensus on practical options for mitigating and adapting to anticipated changes in the climate, all of which seek to define a sustainable future.
Dr. Wanless, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at U-M, advises policy makers at the local, state and federal levels. He was among five of Florida’s top climate scientists to brief Gov. Rick Scott on climate change in early 2015. His work includes documenting the geologic and historical evolution of coastal and shallow marine environments, and influences of sea level rise and anthropogenic stresses.
Dr. Keeler served on White House climate change policy teams under both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. He was Senior Staff Economist for Environment at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in 2000-2001, where he was a member of the U.S. negotiating team for climate change. His research is on adaptation to environmental change, hazard insurance, ecosystem service assessment, integrated modeling of coastal real estate markets with environmental risk, ocean energy policy, climate change mitigation, and incentive-based policy design and implementation.
Englander, whose broad marine science background coupled with degrees in geology and economics allows him to see the big picture on climate, has served as CEO for such organizations as The Cousteau Society and The International Sea Keepers Society. His best-selling book, “High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis,” explains the science behind sea level rise.
The “Sea Level Rise: What’s Our Next Move?” conference emphasizes critical deliberation and extended caucus discussions among the scientists, policymakers, students, and the public. On the first day, the examination of concise policy position papers prepared by the three scientists seeks to clarify the scientific and technical understanding of climate issues for non-specialists.
The caucuses that will convene on the second day will provide all participants and subject-matter experts with opportunities to candidly identify both areas of consensus and the corresponding actionable next steps relevant to climate issues in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. Together, the deliberations and caucuses will provide a unique forum in which the climate issues observed worldwide can be viewed through the personal life choices and community-wide decisions facing the Tampa Bay region. The conference also confronts the often-challenging tasks required to formulate and implement effective policies related to scientific and technological understanding, especially when broad community support is required.
The debate/caucus format pioneered by the ISGP has been successfully used to examine a wide range of contemporaneously critical issues related to science and technology, including Emerging and Persistent Infectious Diseases and Food Safety, Security, and Defense.
The ISGP and St. Petersburg/Pinellas County Working Group are committed to ensuring that those participating are representative of the communities in Pinellas County, especially with respect to the diverse views and perspectives concerning climate issues.
Due to limited space availability and high interest in the topic, participants must attend both days of the conference.
The public may register for “Sea Level Rise: What’s Our Next Move?” at www.scienceforglobalpolicy.org or at solutions.spcollege.edu. For additional information, call the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at 727-394-6942.