Climate Adaptation Conference: Transforming Awareness into Action

January 28, 2016

DoubleTree by Hilton
Minneapolis North
2200 Freeway Boulevard
Minneapolis, MN 55430

Welcome and opening remarks: Mark Seeley, Professor, Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota

Business Panel A panel of corporate leaders will discuss the need for sustainability as an underlying principle when it comes to considerations of climate change and how it will affect our natural resources, our societal infrastructure, and the future of products and services from the highly competitive corporate world. Specifically, we will hear perspectives on supply chain challenges, facilities management, product development, and marketing.

Moderator: Paul Douglas, President, Aeris Weather


Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Mills

Chris Nelson, 3M

Laura Bishop, Best Buy VP for Public Affairs and Sustainability

 A. Climate impacts and adaptation for water resources: An exploration of water quantity and access in Minnesota  Minnesota and the Great Lakes Region are experiencing significant impacts to our water resources as a result of climate change. These impacts include changing water temperatures, wind speeds, ice cover, water levels, and water quality issues, which can have negative effects on aquatic ecosystems and communities. In this session we will hear from two experts in the field of water resources to explore some of the research and adaptation strategies to address impacts from a changing climate on water quantity and access in the region.

Moderator: Dendy Lofton, LimnoTech


John D. Lenters, Hydroclimatologist, LimnoTech

Wes Saunders-Pearce, Water Resource Coordinator, City of Saint Paul

B. Energy The impacts of climate on energy systems will impact Minnesotans at multiple scales, from the Energy grid, to communities down to individual buildings. Speakers will discuss resiliency and sustainability in the energy sector at various scales, and how each level is critical to the energy sector adapting to climate impacts.

Moderator: Ellen Anderson, Director, University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab


Jodi Slick, CEO of Ecolibrium3

Peter Dahl, Associate Principal at HGA Architects and Engineers

Ken Smith, CEO of St. Paul District Energy and Evergreen Energy

C. Tribal Preparation Tribal communities have been assessing the impacts on their culture, lands and people to better adapt to a changing climate. This session will highlight some of the issues and plans in several Minnesota Tribal communities

Moderator: Faye Sleeper

Speaker: Tyler Kaspar, Environmental Specialist, 1854 Treaty Authority  

Mayors Panel

Mayor Chris Coleman, City of Saint Paul

Mayor Rita Albrecht, City of Bemidji

Mayor Peter Lindstrom, City of Falcon Heights

Mayor Jake Spano, City of St. Louis Park

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Awards

Presenters: Barbara Liukkonen and Mark Seeley

D. Local Foods Future for Climate Adaptation  The University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, an Extension program, has supported research in local food production that demonstrates the potential for climate adaptation. These include woody agriculture as an alternative to the current corn and soybean focus, deep winter greenhouses and small scale poultry production integrated with vegetable and fruit production.

Moderator: Robert Cline, Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships


Philip A. Rutter, Badgersett Research Farm, Canton, MN

Carol Ford, Garden Goddess Enterprises, Milan, MN

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Main Street Project, Northfield, MN

E. Communicating Climate Change. This session on communicating climate change will feature climatologists from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)-State Climatology Office, and reporters from Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). The DNR staff will share perspective on providing climate services to the public, including data and analysis relevant to various sectors of the economy and state infrastructure. The MPR reporters will highlight how they put together “Climate Change in Minnesota” a week-long series of reports which won the prestigious AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Prize this year for excellence in science reporting.

Moderator: Mark Seeley


Elizabeth Dunbar, MPR Environment Reporter

Mike Edgerly, MPR News Director and Senior Editor on the Environment

Peter Boulay, MN-DNR State Climatology Office

Kenny Blumenfeld, MN-DNR State Climatology Office

F. Building Connections between Emergency Management and Climate Adaptation. Climate trends are impacting the work of Minnesota’s emergency managers in all aspects of emergency management: hazard mitigation, preparedness, disaster response, and recovery. This session will explore how emergency managers are planning, preparing for, and responding to climate impacts, and will discuss the importance of collaboration between emergency management professionals and others working in the climate adaptation field. Examples and ideas of successful approaches to climate adaptation from the emergency management community will be offered.

Moderator: Paul Moss, Climate Adaptation Coordinator, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency


Rick Larkin, Director, Saint Paul Department of Emergency Management

Jennifer Nelson, State Hazard Mitigation Officer, Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Eric Waage, Director, Hennepin County Emergency Management