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The Shell Center for Sustainability's mission is to foster an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach, and education to address actions that can be taken to ensure the sustainable development of communities' living standards, interpreted broadly, to encompass all factors affecting the overall quality of life.

Conference Summary Report

Climate Change, Extreme Events & Coastal Cities

February 9, 2005

Shell Oil Foundation Auditorium
Jones Graduate School of Management


This joint Houston-London conference sponsored by Rice University’s Environmental & Energy Systems Institute and Shell Center for Sustainability with University College London will assemble academic, business, governmental and non-governmental organizations to:

  • Discuss the causes of climate change and its impact on coastal cities, specifically Houston and London
  • Identify the critical research and practical issues needed to mitigate climate change
  • Identify possible collaborative projects between the UK and the US Registration details to come

More than one-third of the world’s population now lives within 62 kilometres (100 miles) of a shoreline. Thirteen of the world’s twenty largest cities are located on a coast. For coastal city citizens, global climate change is a threat to survival:

  • Catastrophic storms and flooding put lives at risk and property in peril
  • Health issues resulting from climate change, such as respiratory problems
  • Long-term economic impacts of climate change on agriculture are yet to be seen

Energy systems, planning, floods in urban and coastal areas, climate change in urban areas, prediction techniques for environment and climate, health issues in urban areas: all will be addressed by research scientists prominent in their fields and policy-makers.

Speakers include:

  • Bill White, Mayor, City of Houston
  • Lord Julian Hunt, University College London
  • David Leebron, President Rice University
  • Judith Slater, Her Majesty’s Consul General, Houston Dr.
  • Dr. Mark Wiesner, Rice University
  • Dr. David Fisk, Imperial College U.K.
  • Dr. Daewon Byun, University of Houston
  • Dr. Paul Wilkinson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Dr. Phil Bedient, Rice University
  • Dr. Geoff Jenkins, Chief Co-ordinator, Hadley Centre, UK Meteorological Office
  • David Crighton, Benfield, Hazards Research Unit, University College London
  • Dr. Lars Lerup, Rice University
  • Dr. Tim Killeen, Director, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Conference Contacts:

Gary Marfin, Program Director, Shell Center for Sustainability, Rice University 713-348-4133, gcmarfin@rice.edu
May Akrawi, Science & Technology Vice Consul, British Consulate-General, Houston 713-659-6270 x2134, may.akrawi@fco.gov.uk

Organised by: Environmental & Energy Systems Institute’s Shell Center for Sustainability (Rice University) Universities in London (led by University College London) UK Science & Technology Network and The British Consulate-General, Houston Funding provided by: UK Science & Technology, British Consulate-General, Houston Rice University (E.E.S.I and Shell Center for Sustainability) University College London (Environment Institute) Convenors: Mark Wiesner & Chris Holmes (Rice University) Julian Hunt (University College London)