To further dialogue about Arizona climate change impacts, Arizona Forward initiated roundtable meetings with members of Congress and leaders from its membership ranging from large corporations and public sector organizations to small businesses. The primary objective of the roundtables was to gather Arizona stakeholders together to exchange information about their viewpoints and local-level plans to address climate change for the state. A series of four meetings took place in Phoenix and Tucson from August through early October.
Arizona Forward moderated the dialogue and proposed to be an on-going facilitator and resource to address topics that align with the organization’s initiatives such as climate change adaptation plans, water, alternative energy, clean transportation choices and forest restoration. Climate change has become a growing focus for Arizona Forward over the past couple of years.
Arizona businesses engaged in conversations included SRP, APS, Intel Corporation, Nikola Motor Company, HDR, Inc., Global Water Resources, Central Arizona Project, City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, Tucson Chamber of Commerce, PSOMAS, Pima County, City of Tucson, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Vitalyst Health Foundation, Tucson Electric Power and Tucson Airport.
The first meeting was held in Phoenix with U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s office. Policy advisor, Gary Gold, attended the meeting on behalf of Sinema.
U.S. Representative Greg Stanton attended the next meeting in Phoenix. As the previous mayor of Phoenix, Stanton shared some distinct ideas about how local involvement from cities and businesses can produce large-scale returns to Arizona as it relates to climate change.
“Cities continue to lead the way when it comes to sustainability, and there’s more that we can do in Congress to support local leaders and mayors in this fight,” said Rep. Greg Stanton. “We need to come together to find solutions to make our communities more sustainable and resilient. And that leadership can come not only from government, but also from the business and education community and grassroots leaders.”
The final two roundtables were held in Phoenix and Tucson with U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran where he expressed a sense of urgency to both groups. “Climate change is a real and an immediate threat affecting Arizona families; we must not wait to take action,” said Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01). “Organizations like Arizona Forward are combatting this issue by bringing public entities and private businesses together to discover real world solutions that will ensure economic prosperity and a healthy living environment for all of us. I was pleased to be able to participate in their discussions and hear directly from Arizonans on this important issue.”
The roundtables helped participants understand each other’s perspectives on Arizona’s climate change issues, and establish an agreement to further the discussions.