Del. Panel Issues Report Addressing Climate Change - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Panel Issues Report Addressing Climate Change

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DELAWARE CITY, Del. (AP) - Climate change is real, and Delawareans need to start thinking and preparing now for rising sea levels, increased temperatures extremes and more severe weather events, Gov. Jack Markell said Monday.

At a news conference marking the release of a report of a panel he charged with studying how the state should prepare for the effects of climate change, Markell described climate change as "a big deal," affecting everything from public health and safety to agriculture and economic development.

"It's happening now, and it's expected to continue and become more serious in the future" he said.

"The science is pretty clear," Markell added, while acknowledging that there are some skeptics.

"I understand that this is a tough issue ... but we have got to be having this conversation," he said.

In its newly released report, the Governor's Committee on Climate and Resiliency, which was charged by an executive order from Markell in 2013, focused on three main areas.

The panel's mitigation workgroup focused on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set a goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent by 2030, compared to a 2008 baseline.

The adaptation workgroup, which included representatives of 11 state agencies and departments, was charged with developing agency-specific recommendations for improving the state's preparedness and resilience to climate impacts.

The flood avoidance workgroup looked at incorporating measures to adapt to increased flood heights and sea level rise in site selection and design of construction projects.

"We're the lowest-lying state in the nation, so we have to adapt," said Richie Jones, Delaware state director for The Nature Conservancy.

The panel's report includes scores of recommendations. They range from stabilizing and improving dams, levees and other water-control structures to staggering rental days for beach properties to reduce emissions from idling cars stuck in traffic.

"I think it's the start of what will become a very long-term conversation around these issues," said state environmental secretary David Small.

Officials will be accepting public comment on the report through May 30 and will hold at least one public workshop next month to gather feedback.

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