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Communicating Climate Change Solutions to a Diverse Public Audience: The Value of Interdisciplinary Teams

Tuesday, August 25
11:15–12:00 PM PT | 2:15–3:00 PM ET

About the Session

Climate change is a global problem requiring global solutions, including cooperation across scientific disciplines and geographic boundaries. The science and general impacts of climate change have been known for decades, and the most recent research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) demonstrates the need for urgent action[1]. The complexity of climate change and its solutions require creative approaches to communicate complex information in public settings to support implementation commensurate with the urgency of the problem.The primary action to address climate change is to reduce or remove greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the atmosphere. These actions to reduce GHG emissions include renewable energy generation, shifts in transportation technologies, land-use management, among others. There are various methods to implement these GHG emissions reduction actions including carbon pricing, building codes, private investments, and GHG offset credits.An often publicized, but misunderstood method to implement GHG emissions reduction actions is GHG offset credits. A recent project required AECOM to explain GHG offsets to decision-makers, stakeholders, and the public in support of a feasibility study regarding the same. To facilitate this, our multi-disciplinary team created a handheld tool called the GHG Offset Gate Key (Gate Key). The Gate Key includes 4 “gates” which walk the user through the decision criteria to evaluate the feasibility of converting any GHG reduction action into an offset credit. The Gate Key has been used effectively to explain these concepts and also provides users with the tool to make future evaluations on their own. Our presentation will provide background into the development of the Gate Key, how the use of an interdisciplinary team contributed to the successful outcome, as well as a live demonstration of its use.
[1] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Global Warming of 1.5∘C,” 17-Jul-2019. [Online]. Available:


  • Climate Change
  • Public Involvement 

About the Speaker

Erin Dunable

Erin Dunable
Senior Environmental Planner/Project Manager

Ms. Dunable is a Senior Environmental Planner and Project Manager that specializes in leading environmental compliance efforts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Hawaii’s Environmental Policy Act (HEPA). Erin's technical area of expertise is marine mammal biology, but she enjoys the unique challenges each project brings and is energized by looking for new and innovative ways to translate complex scientific information to decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public

Michael Conrardy Photo

Michael Conrardy
North American Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Technical Practice Group Leader

Mr. Conrardy is the North American Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Technical Practice Group Leader at AECOM, which is comprised of over 300 technical professionals across the company. Mr. Conrardy’s expertise is in GHG emissions inventories, climate change mitigation strategies, and integrated sustainable solutions. Mr. Conrardy has advised on the topic of climate change solutions since as early as 2010 and has experience in economic prioritization and optimized selection of greenhouse emissions reduction strategies (e.g., conservation, energy efficiency, transportation technologies, waste reduction, water conservation, and carbon sequestration). 

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