Lunch 'n Learn | Climate Ready Austin

Wednesday Oct. 2, 2019 , noon to 12:45 p.m.
climate ready Austin

On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the Materials Lab hosted Marc Coudert, Environmental Conservation Program Manager at the Office of Sustainability for a Lunch ‘n Learn session on local municipal initiatives in the face of climate change impacts. 

According to Coudert, climate change is a game changer that will challenge the resilience of our community. Climate projections for Austin suggest that there will be an increase in average temperatures, with temperature extremes becoming more common. Precipitation patterns are expected to become more variable, which will lead to longer periods of drought and heavy rainfall events. An uncertain future of extreme heat, drought, flooding, and wildfires, has already increased citizens’ anxiety. Regarding this urgency, the City of Austin has proposed two main initiatives to increase climate resilience, including the Climate Resilience Action Plan and Community Climate Plan.

The Climate Resilience Action Plan provides a vulnerability assessment of potential extreme weather impacts to city-owned assets and operations, and strategies to mitigate those impacts. Vulnerability to climate change is a product of three main factors: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Vulnerabilities can be reduced by minimizing exposure, decreasing sensitivity, and increasing adaptive capacity, so as to build a more resilient and thriving Austin. Materials also play an important role in the resilience of community. One example Coudert pointed out was the use of heat-resistant materials for buildings in high-risk fire zones.

The Austin Community Climate Plan sets a goal of net-zero, community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Plan identifies actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy, transportation, and materials. For example, renewable power sources like solar and wind will provide an increasing percentage of the total energy generation. As for transportation, more electric vehicle infrastructure will be built to support more zero emission vehicles. Additionally, simple actions in day-to-day life could have a big impact on overall emissions. Coudert urged us to rethink our daily choices in order to reduce Austin’s carbon footprint and help ensure a green, vibrant city.

Please find the following links for further information regarding Austin’s Climate Resilience Action Plan and Community Climate Plan.