The Cape Cod and Islands Climate Change and Energy Conference was held Tuesday Sept. 24, 2013 in Hyannis, Massachusetts, with the support of the Horizon Foundation, the Island Foundation, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod and two anonymous benefactors.
The purpose was to examine regional responses to increased storminess and sea level rise that our region will experience due to climate change. The goal of the conference was to find common ground among stakeholders concerning regional risks and to help prepare for expected impacts and to discuss the need to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
With the lessons of Hurricane Sandy still in mind, the conference examined threats the region will face from rising sea levels, storm surges, flooding and coastal erosion. There were presentations from coastal geologists and engineers, regional planners from Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, insurance experts, coastal zone managers and clean energy experts. The economic costs of climate change, possible adaptation options and mitigation through the use of renewable energy were also examined. One clear message is that given the size of our region and the size of other regions (e.g. greater New York), we cannot be dependent or even expecting significant assistance from federal entities but instead need to be largely self-reliant.
The Conference was attended by over 190 people who came from largely from Cape Cod, The Islands and Southeastern Massachusetts but also included many from greater Boston. Returned questionnaires indicate a very high degree of satisfaction (4.5/5). When asked if an event like this should be repeated, 85% said yes. Similarly, almost all felt much better informed about the challenges the region faces as climate change proceeds. Many commented on what a future conference might emphasize and how frequently it might be held.
Presentations made at the conference are available below by selecting the presentation title.
Morning: Introduction / Overview / Logistics
- Dr. Scott Goetz, Deputy Director, Woods Hole Research Center
- Mr. Thomas Stone, Scientist Emeritus, Woods Hole Research Center
What does the future hold for the region?
- Mr. S. Jeffress Williams, Woods Hole, USGS & Univ. Hawaii, moderator
- Dr. Jeff Donnelly, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst, WH, MA, “Hurricanes in a warming world“
- Dr. Rob Thieler, USGS Woods Hole, MA, “Sea-level rise & coastal change: likely impacts and possible responses“
- Mr. James Rassman, MA DCR/ Waquoit Bay Nat’l Estuarine Research Reserve, “Sea Level Rise & Salt Marshes“
What are the current related regional plans and challenges?
- Mr. Ed DeWitt, Director, Assoc. to Preserve Cape Cod, moderator
- Mr. Andrew Vorce, Dir. of Planning, Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission, “Erosion on Nantucket, and the relocation of roads”
- Mr. Mark London, Director Martha’s Vineyard Commission, “The Vineyard’s experience in evaluating threats & responses to climate change“
- Ms. Ryan Bennett, Cape Cod Commission, “Climate Adaptation & Multi Hazard Planning for Barnstable County“
Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation
- Dr. Michael Coe, Senior Scientist, WHRC, moderator
A. Economic Impacts and Adaptation
- Mr. Martin Suuberg, Deputy Commissioner for Policy & Planning, Mass. Dept. Enviro. Protection, “MassDEP- Regulatory Programs Addressing Climate Change“
- Ms. Nancy Israel, CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies), “The Insurance Industry and Climate Change“
- Mr. Bruce Carlisle, Director, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, “MASS CZM and adaptation planning“
- Dr. Thomas Herrington, Stevens Institute of New Jersey, “Coastal Resilience“
B. Energy – What can we do to mitigate climate change?
- Ms. Alicia Barton, CEO Mass Clean Energy Center, “Development and deployment of energy technologies to reduce Greenhouse Gas and provide sustainable economic growth“
The conference was sponsored by The Woods Hole Research Center.
The conference was supported with contributions from: The Horizon Foundation, The Island Foundation, and the Association to Preserve Cape Cod.