On April 30, the Toronto Urban Climate Change Network (TUCCN) hosted a full day event focusing on infrastructure and climate change adaptation held at the historic St. Lawrence Hall in downtown Toronto. TUCCN member YorkU was one of the sponsors for the event and ResearchImpact was there along with several other YorkU faculty members and students. The day was made up of keynote speeches, panel discussions and facilitated break-out sessions. Some of the speakers included representatives from Environment Canada, the Toronto Environment Office (TEO), the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Pollution Probe, as well as Adam Freed, Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Change Adaptation in New York City and Joyce Coffee, Director of Project Development with the Chicago Department of the Environment.
Toronto Mayor David Miller also spoke and outlined some of the climate change adaptation plans the City of Toronto is currently working on. One that I found particularly interesting is the plan to reclad the hundreds of concrete high-rises around the city in order to improve their insulation value. Recladding these buildings would cut our regions greenhouse gas emissions by 3-4%. Mayor Miller also spoke strongly about the need for the city to work collaboratively with planners, researchers, engineers and other climate change experts to tackle this problem. In the past, infrastructure planning has been done using historic climate data but with the climate changes we are presently experiencing, making plans based on 100 year old data is not going to be useful for planning for the future. We need to be working together with the latest future focused information. I think Mayor Miller is spot on with this thinking and it was great to see that this idea was reflected in the mix of attendees.
For more information about TUCCN and upcoming events, visit their web site at www.tuccn.org.