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Climate change panel to discuss West Virginia-China connection

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA—A panel discussion at the West Virginia University College of Law will explore China’s climate change policy and how the world’s most populous country is connected to West Virginia by carbon emissions and global warming.

“Climate Change, China, and the West Virginia Connection” will be held in the College of Law event hall on Thursday, February 12, from 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

The panelists will be Sarah Forbes, senior associate and energy and China specialist with the World Resources Institute, and Jerry Fletcher, environmental and natural resources economics professor and director of WVU’s US-China Energy Center.

The discussion moderator will be Ben Gilmer, project manager with Downstream Strategies, an environmental consulting firm based in Morgantown. Attorney Sam Petsonk, former energy policy staff member for the late Senator Robert C. Byrd, will also make remarks. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions.

The panel discussion is sponsored by Friends of Blackwater’s Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impacts Initiative and the WVU College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development.

In November 2014, the United States and China announced an important climate change agreement to reduce the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Part of that agreement was support for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology in China.

James Van Nostrand

James Van Nostrand, associate professor of law and director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, emphasized the importance of developing CCS technology.

“West Virginia has a lot at stake in promoting the development of clean coal technology,” he said. “This conference will feature a discussion of leading experts on this issue, and the resources being devoted to CCS technology in the U.S. and China.”

Tom Rodd, director of the Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impacts Initiative, states that it is vital for residents of West Virginia to understand and support climate-smart strategies like the U.S.-China agreement.

“Rising temperatures and changing precipitation from human-caused climate change are damaging core elements of the state’s distinctive Allegheny Highlands ecology and economy,” he said. “Thousands of acres of magnificent red spruce and hardwood forests, species like the West Virginia flying squirrel and iconic native brook trout, as well as robust outdoor recreation, winter sports, and hospitality industries, are all endangered by carbon emissions.”



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