CONTACT: Tom Maycock, North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies

Town Hall: Climate Change and Resilience in Western North Carolina: Lessons from the Fifth National Climate Assessment

ASHEVILLE, NC (January 29, 2024) – The North Carolina Arboretum and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in partnership with the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS) will host a Town Hall on Thursday, February 8, to discuss the challenges posed by climate change, climate resilience in Western North Carolina, and how the Fifth National Climate Assessment can inform decisions and actions.

The Town Hall will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the University of North Carolina Asheville’s Reuter Center. A live stream will also be available. Attendance is free, but advance registration is required. See for details.

The event will feature a keynote presentation from Allison Crimmins, director of the Fifth National Climate Assessment. Crimmins is a climate scientist noted for her expertise in assessing domestic and international climate impacts, particularly on health and economic damages, as well as the benefits of minimizing future climate change. She is detailed to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation. 

A panel discussion featuring Crimmins and other scientists and experts will be led by Deke Arndt, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The panel will field questions from the audience and discuss the latest findings from global and national studies on climate change and options for taking action.   

Allyza Lustig of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) will also present some of the artworks included in the Fifth National Climate Assessment as part of the Art x Climate project. These pieces offer a powerful depiction of climate change in the United States—its causes and impacts, as well as the strength of our collective response. Allyza is the senior staff manager for the National Climate Assessment at USGCRP.

The Town Hall is the culmination of The North Carolina Arboretum’s annual Climate Change Science course, run by Adult and Continuing Education Programs. Each year, the Arboretum hosts a unique learning opportunity with a dynamic team of scientists from NCEI and NCICS. 

Participants in the 2023 course series interacted weekly with leading researchers and scientists in online and in-person discussions, and several students joined scientists from NOAA and NCICS to conduct a review of the weather station hosted on the Arboretum’s grounds. 

Instructors used data-backed presentations to lead discussions on our local weather and climate trends within a global perspective, examining what drives Earth’s rising temperatures and increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, and fires, while also considering how these trends will shape seasonal fluctuations and biodiversity in Western North Carolina.

A similar course is offered through the OLLI Program at UNC Asheville.

About the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies

NC State University’s North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS) is a unique center of excellence, showcasing a partnership between universities, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and the Federal Government. As an inter-institutional research institute of the University of North Carolina system, NCICS facilitates climate-related research across the UNC system and its partner organizations. 

NCICS is co-located with our primary sponsor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, in the Veach-Baley Federal Complex in Asheville, North Carolina.

Our main objectives are to promote discovery of new knowledge about global, regional, and local climate variability and its impacts and to provide information that is critical for determining trends and validating climate forecasts at all of these spatial scales. Underpinning all of our activities is the fundamental goal of enhancing our collective interdisciplinary understanding of the state and evolution of the full Earth system.

Media Contact
Tom Maycock
Science Public Information Officer
NC State University’s North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies