This simple truism sums up the overwhelming complexities that public and private decision makers find themselves grappling with when confronting the reality of climate change: How do you make long-term plans in the face of an uncertain future?
The potential impacts of climate change, in the decades ahead, are as far-reaching as they are unpredictable, touching upon everything from ecosystems to urban infrastructure to insurance costs. Businesses, municipalities, provincial and federal agencies — anyone in the business of planning for the future needs to factor climate change into their considerations.
And that’s where the Ontario Climate Consortium comes in.
Established in 2011, the OCC works collaboratively with university researchers and partners from the public, private and NGO sectors on projects aimed at answering specific questions related to climate change and creating the intelligence necessary to address climate risk. Its formal mission: To arm decision makers with “regionally-specific climate data, intelligence and adaptation services that enable effective policy and investment responses to climate uncertainty in Ontario.”
So what does this really mean?
It all starts with identifying areas where research is needed – understanding how climate and extreme weather may affect Ontario’s electricity grid, for example, or determining the most state-of-the-art methods for assessing flood risks – and then coming up with plans to answer those needs.
The OCC’s advantage lies in its ability to access leading-edge science. With a network of top climate researchers from across the province, and relationships with some of Ontario’s foremost universities, OCC is uniquely positioned to leverage the newest and most innovative work currently happening in the fields of climate science and adaptation.
Drawing on the expertise of its collaborators and partners, as well as its own in-house team, OCC develops projects that connect public and private sector end-users with researchers capable of delivering results on time and on budget. OCC’s team also has the know-how to access sources of funding when additional resources are needed to help push a project across the finish line.
Once a research initiative is underway, OCC helps to coordinate all the moving parts, working one-on-one with both end-users and researchers to make sure that these complex projects meet their goals and deliver answers to the relevant research questions.
Crucially, OCC team members understand not just the science itself, but the importance of real-world applicability. Consortium personnel work closely with end-users to interpret results, extract the most relevant information, and help determine how these findings can be applied to the planning process.
Building resilience to the future impacts of climate change means making the right decisions today. OCC is committed to making sure that public and private enterprises alike are equipped to do just that.
The Ontario Climate Consortium: Decision-Ready Science.
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