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Climate Change Not an Urgent Concern

Photo Courtesy of Taryn Sustello

CORVALLIS, Ore. — A recent survey placed climate change near the bottom of public officials’ and community leaders’ concerns.

The survey, conducted by the Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University, surveyed city managers and planners, city council members and county commissioners and other leaders in non-governmental organizations. Many said they believed the local climate was changing, but it wasn’t an urgent concern.

The results of the survey placed climate change effects next to the bottom on a list of seven significant potential stressors on a community during the next 10 years. The top-ranked stressors were a weak economy and the impact of a tsunami or earthquake.

Most officials believed addressing climate change would benefit the community, but there’s a disconnect between beliefs and concerns.

“As of last May, many coastal professionals, about 44 percent of the survey respondents, were not currently involved in planning to adapt to its effects,” said Joseph Cone, the Sea Grant assistant director.

In communities where climate change planning has begun, it’s still in an early fact-finding stage. Information about flooding or saltwater intrusion, species and habitat vulnerability and predictions of ecosystem impacts is needed. In addition, officials want information about the cost of climate adaptation, social and economic vulnerabilities and how to communicate climate risks.

For more information about the survey and the result, click here.

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