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Jennifer Ronk Served on Houston Roundtable to Explore Climate Justice December 13

Jennifer Ronk, HARC's Program Director of Environmental Science and Energy Efficiency, participated in Houston Climate Justice Roundtable on December 13, 2013, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. With support from the United States Climate Action Network, the Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University hosted the event in the School of Public Affairs Building.

The theme of the roundtable focused on the efforts Houston is making to become a more resilient, sustainable and environmentally just city in the face of extreme weather and other climate change impacts. A recent World Bank study predicts by 2050, Houston will have the seventh-largest percentage increase in average annual economic losses from sea-level rise in the world. A 2013 Center for American Progress report, Storm-Ready Cities, lists Houston as one of five cities in the U.S that is "taking climate preparation seriously," including factoring climate change risks into infrastructure, building designs, public health planning for adapting to more extreme heat, floods, and droughts, and taking the lead to build resilience that supports economic growth and other pressing challenges.

The roundtable highlighted the climate gap, inequity, social vulnerability, and environmental challenges that burden low-income and people of color communities and place them at special risk. Using a social equity lens, the Climate Justice Roundtable shed light on a number of questions: What steps are being taken in Houston to deal with the impacts of climate change? What actions have been taken to identify and address climate change and environmental justice challenges in the city's most vulnerable communities? What policy strategies are needed to eliminate the climate gap and vulnerability? What is the state of environmental justice and climate change programs, policies, and nongovernmental organization (NGO) infrastructure in the Houston area? What are some of the major challenges and opportunities to climate change progress and building a racially and ethnically diverse Houston Environmental Justice Climate Action Network?

In addition to the expert panel, the roundtable assembled a half-dozen or so community leaders who served as "respondents" and who helped lead the discussion.

For more information about Houston Roundtable to Explore Climate Justice, please visit:
www.invisiblehouston.com.