Union to host conference on climate change

Publication Date

“Climate Change: Adaptation and Building Resiliency in our Communities” is the focus of a daylong conference hosted by Union Friday, Jan. 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at College Park Hall.

The keynote speaker is Judith Enck, regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven Tribal Nations.

“Given the devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy and the increased frequency of extreme weather events across the country, it is more evident than ever that we must reduce the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change,” Enck said. “In June, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan – a comprehensive approach that directs EPA to develop regulations to reduce carbon pollution from fossil fuel power plants. The plan and EPA's climate adaptation plans will move us toward more resilient communities and infrastructure.”

Union President Stephen C. Ainlay will give welcoming remarks. U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, is also scheduled to speak.

The conference will feature presentations and workshops on topics including the ecosystem and public health implications of climate change, smart growth, land use planning and floodplains and stormwater regulations.

The conference is open to registered participants. Selected sessions will meet the state Planning and Zoning Board Continuing Education requirements, with a certificate of attendance up to 4.5 CE hours provided to those attendees at the end of the conference.

Students are also encouraged to attend.

Co-hosts of the conference are ECOS: The Environmental Clearinghouse and the Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council (SCEAC).

Organizers include the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, DEC, NYSERDA, University at Albany, Schenectady County Planning Department, Schenectady County League of Women Voters and Golub Corporation.

Union is consistently ranked among the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review’s “Guide to Green Colleges.” The guide, produced in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, includes schools that have “demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.”

And in 2007, Union President Stephen Ainlay was among the first to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), pledging to formally work on reducing, and eventually eliminating, campus global warming emissions.