Professor, Climate Dynamics; Director, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, George Mason University
James Kinter and his team were instrumental in launching the Virginia Climate Center at George Mason University. Sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly, the center collaborates with municipal officials, businesses and community leaders in Virginia. Their goal is to develop information and tools that inform decision-making, enhance resilience, save costs and improve the productivity and profitability of businesses, especially in vulnerable neighborhoods.
“The Virginia Climate Center, which conducts research on Virginia’s vulnerability and exposure to the impacts of climate change … not only is making a difference today but will continue to make a difference tomorrow,” said Mark Ginsberg, provost and executive vice president of George Mason University. “As my colleagues Jim Kinter and Ed Maibach wrote recently in the Richmond Times Dispatch: ‘The VCC is help[ing]cities and towns in Virginia increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change by providing municipal governments and businesses with science-based tools, services and advice on risk prevention and mitigation strategies’ ⏤ and that’s really what this is about.”
In 2023, VCC will collaborate with various local entities to enhance resilience in Virginia. Projects with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Fairfax City, Fairfax County and other towns will focus on addressing increased flooding, extreme heat and vector-borne diseases resulting from climate change.
Furthermore, VCC will establish a network of communities across the state to assess climate change vulnerability and develop action plans. This initiative aims to connect experts at GMU with practitioners statewide, ensuring effective response and adaptation to the impacts of global climate change on local communities.
“There are people alive today who belong to the first generation to recognize the perils of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide,” Kinter said. “There are also people alive today who belong to the last generation who can do something meaningful to reduce the bad impacts that climate change will cause. The warming may be global, but the action must be local.”