A panel of experts will explore the impacts of climate change Jan. 25 at USFSM.

USF Sarasota-Manatee to host climate-change summit

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: December 17, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 17, 2018) – Learn how climate change impacts hurricanes, red tide and sea-level rise, and what it all means for Sarasota and Manatee counties as scientists, engineers, government officials and CEOs gather Jan. 25 at USF Sarasota-Manatee to present, “Adapting to a Changing Climate: Challenges & Opportunities.”

The conference, set from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, will focus on climate change’s unique effects on Florida and how cities and counties are adapting. The event is open to the public with advance registration. Tickets are $50 and available at usfsm.edu/climate. The event is free for USFSM students and faculty.

In addition to exploring impacts on weather, sea-level rise and red tide, experts will discuss how climate change will affect infrastructure and coastal areas, and what challenges might confront the local economy as governments and businesses adapt to the changing environment.

USF Sarasota-Manatee to host climate-change summit

Bob Bunting

Event speaker Bob Bunting, an atmospheric scientist and former meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says climate change is real and already taking place, so the focus should be on finding ways to adapt.

“Florida has a 1,350-mile-long coastline that is the second longest coastline in the United States, and there is more than $7 trillion worth of real estate on the Florida shoreline, so we have high risk, but we also have high motivation to adapt to climate change and prevent the worst impacts from it,” he said.

The day-long conference, which includes lunch with paid admission, will explore adaptive strategies surrounding climate change, including resulting potential economic opportunities.

“I think it’s very important that we bring this down to the local level and that we stop arguing about who’s responsible for climate change because, the fact is, we’re having it, and we still have to adapt and live with it,” he said.

“We’ll talk first about what the big problems of climate change are, and what’s likely to happen, but then we’re going to bring it down to the Florida level and then down to the regional level,” said Bunting.

The conference will include a Q&A with conference speakers. It’s being organized by USF Sarasota-Manatee in partnership with Cumberland Advisors and the Global Interdependence Center.

In addition to Bunting, speakers include:

  • David Kotok, chief investment officer and founder, Cumberland Advisors
  • Dr. Robert Corell, principal, the Global Environment Technology Foundation
  • Lenny Landau, data analyst and engineer
  • Tom Harmer, manager, Town of Longboat Key
  • Patricia Healy, senior vice president, Cumberland Advisors
  • Ed Chiles, chairman, The Chiles Group
  • Stevie Freeman-Montes, sustainability manager, City of Sarasota
  • David McMahon, commercial lines executive, Atlas Insurance
  • Jennifer and David Shafer, Shafer Consulting Inc.

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