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City Leaders Gather in Indy to Talk Climate Threats

Indiana's third annual Climate Leadership Summit starts Thursday in Indianapolis. (Earth Charter Indiana)
Indiana's third annual Climate Leadership Summit starts Thursday in Indianapolis. (Earth Charter Indiana)
September 13, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – The threat of climate change to Indiana cities is the focus of discussion at an annual gathering Thursday in Indianapolis.

Mayors, city planners and engineers are among those joining environmental advocates at the third annual Climate Leadership Summit.

As a coordinator for the event, Jim Poyser, executive director of Earth Charter Indiana, says the sooner people talk about the possible effects of a warming climate, the less costly those effects could be.

"Indiana tends to be behind the rest of the country in terms of this conversation,” he states. “We hope our summit actually propels this conversation out into the light, so that every mayor in Indiana, every city official, can begin to grapple with this important challenge."

Thirteen Indiana cities are participating, as well as Youth Advisory Council members and researchers from local universities.

According to the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment released this year, the state has already warmed 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, and projections show a rise of nearly 6 degrees more by mid-century.

Beyond heatwaves, Poyser says climate change is causing droughts and record flooding.

"Look no further than the 25 100-year floods in South Bend and Goshen earlier this year,” he stresses. “Warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, so not only is it raining more, it's also raining at different times of the year than it used to."

Poyser adds the summit provides an opportunity for city leaders to brainstorm adaptation and mitigation strategies, which include ways to protect city infrastructure, public health, clean water, agriculture and food systems.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN