Last year Governor Terry McAuliffe established the 35-member Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission. According to Executive Order 19, the Commission’s chief purpose is to “evaluate the recommendations made by (former Governor Kaine’s) Climate Commission, determine what actions were taken on those recommendations, and issue a final report” by June 30 of this year. The final report by Governor Kaine’s Climate Commission was issued in December 2008.
Governor McAuliffe’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission is co-chaired by Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources. The other 33 Commission members represent business, environmental advocacy organizations, local governments and academia. Three Commission members are legislators: Senator Barbara Favola, Senator Richard Stuart and Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn.
Since its first meeting in September of last year, Governor McAuliffe’s Commission has conducted most of its work through four smaller workgroups. The full Commission’s most recent meeting of the full Commission was held on April 21 at the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond, where work group chairs provided briefings on their preliminary recommendations.
The “Energy” work group focused on the generation of electricity through such smaller-scale energy sources as solar and waste heat. The “Funding” work group emphasized the need for public-private partnerships. The “Funding” work group also suggested the creation of “resiliency bonds” to finance the upgrades in infrastructure that will be needed to withstand such anticipated effects from climate change as increased flooding and more intense storms. The “Information” workgroup reported on the need for developing a “Climate Change Clearinghouse” that will inform the public about “adaptation strategies” that will be needed to cultivate a more “climate change literate public.” Much of this information would be provided through a website.
The report by the Land Use and Transportation workgroup focused on reforms to local and state planning processes that will be necessary to improve the capability (especially of coastal localities) to adapt to sea level rise. There was also discussion relating to the need for higher resolution land cover data and Lidar (remote sensing technology) as effective tools for assisting local and regional planning.
VACo will continue to monitor activities by the Governor’s Climate Change Commission. The Commission’s next meeting has not been scheduled.
Scheduled meetings of interest: VACo’s Environment and Agriculture Committee will meet Friday, May 8, 10 a.m. – noon in the Manager’s Conference Room of the Henrico County Western Government Complex.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE