June 20, 2011

Climate Change Research and Services: What information do stakeholders need?

2011_06_20_A Dialogue with StakeholdersOn May 30th, CCRAI and OCAD University hosted a one day workshop – “Climate Change: A Dialogue with Stakeholders” – in support of the Ontario Regional Climate Change Consortium (ORCCC). The event was attended by over forty participants from the all levels of government, conservation authorities, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations.

Today, municipalities, provincial ministries, public utilities, and private corporations lack access to consistent, high-quality information to guide necessary investments in climate change adaptation. To directly meet this gap, the Ontario Regional Climate Change Consortium (ORCCC) was formed in 2011 to facilitate a new breed type of inter-disciplinary, cross-sector coordination that will empower key decision-makers to more efficiently and effectively assess and manage regional climate risk with more focused, reliable climate information.
2011_06_20_Climate CafeThe goal of the workshop was to facilitate a dialogue and build a sense of community among climate modelers, data analysts and practitioners; help private and public sector stakeholders identify their initial climate information and service needs from modelers; establish a basis for similar, future events to further define scientific needs by sector or problem area; and identify other stakeholders that need to be included in subsequent discussions.

Following presentations by climate modellers including Jack McConnell (York University),Claude Duguay (University of Waterloo) and Dick Peltier (University of Toronto) on the state of regional modeling science and its application, participants launched into an interactive dialogue focused on their identifying their concerns related to climate change and the development of effective adaptation strategies.
2011_06_20_Jack McConnell_Jack McConnell, Prof. of Atmospheric Science, York UniversityOver the course of morning and afternoon sessions, climate modellers and research scientists were able to discuss climate change issues with architects and designers, city planners, representatives from municipalities, as well as the provincial and federal government. The platform for the discussion resulted in extremely engaging conversation, so much so that participants kept working through breaks in the program (despite the fact fresh coffee was on offer). Working with professional facilitators Peter Jones (Design with Dialogue) and Nabil Harfoush (Manara), with support from Ciara de Jong at the City of Toronto’s Environment Office, Carl Knipfel and Doreen Balabanoff from OCAD University. CC-RAI would also like to thank TRCA, York University and OCAD University for their support in organizing this event.

The discussion produced a volume of material focused on assessing end-user needs for climate change information and services. This multi-sectoral event highlighted the need for improved collaboration and dialogue between the various stakeholders tasked with addressing climate change in their respective organizations and sectors. We look forward to posting the synthesis of the discussion in the coming weeks.

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