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Dallas takes on climate change with eye-opening enviro-summit

Dallas takes on climate change with eye-opening enviro-summit

Downtown Dallas behind flooded Trinity River
Good air quality contributes to good health. Photo by Scot Miller

Climate change is real and Dallas is taking a step to fight back. The city's Office of Environmental Quality and Dallas Bar Association's Environmental Law Section are partnering to host the first North Texas Climate Change Symposium on March 9, at the historic Belo Mansion in downtown Dallas, where city leaders and climatologists will convene to address the impact on the city and local economy.

The four-hour event will run from 12-4 pm and feature councilmember Sandy Greyson, who will deliver opening remarks, and State Climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon of Texas A&M University, who will give the keynote address.

According to a release, the impacts of climate change to Dallas are already significant. In 2017, Dr. Brian Stone (Georgia Tech University) conducted a study for Texas Trees Foundation called the Dallas Urban Heat Island Study, which found that Dallas' urban heat island effect is amplified by climate change, and the city is warming at a rate that is the third highest in the nation.

In 2015, Dr. Arne Winguth (University of Texas-Arlington) presented a report to the North Central Texas Council of Governments concluding that extreme weather such as heat and floods was likely to have a significant impact on the region's infrastructure.

Both UT-Arlington and Texas Trees Foundation are participating in the symposium. Three expert panels will cover topics such as climate resilience and infrastructure, and climate environmental justice.

OEQ director James McGuire says that the goal of the event is to help educate and bring awareness to the impacts of climate change.

"We all have concerns that relate to how climate change is playing out on the local level," McGuire says. "In the last few months, the department saw a window open for an opportunity to host something like this, to raise awareness about what the specific impacts are going to be to North Texas. All of the surveys and research make it clear that CO2 emissions are an issue, but there's been a gap in understanding the risk to North Texas. The city of Dallas cannot stop climate change on its own, but we need to be involved."

The event is open to the public, but seating is limited; you can RSVP online by clicking

The agenda is as follows:

  • Introduction: Cities' Role in Combating Climate Change, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
  • Keynote Speaker Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon (State Climatologist)
  • Panel- Climate Resilience/Urban Planning/Infrastructure
  • Panel- Climate Justice/Environmental Justice
  • Panel- Climate Change and Local Economy
  • Reception/ Happy Hour hosted by the Environmental Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association