- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Eight governors were expected to join with local and tribal leaders Tuesday at a two-day event to discuss climate issues.

The Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience meeting will take place at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines. Mayor Frank Cownie will host the meeting, which is the third of four such events around the country organized by the White House as part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to address climate change.

“The idea is, what are the issues that we all deal with and how do we apply best practices?” Cownie said.

Task force members include the governors of California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont, Washington and Guam, All but the governor of Guam are Democrats. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, isn’t participating.

Other participants include 14 mayors, two county officials and two tribal leaders. Amelia Hamilton-Morris, a city of Des Moines spokeswoman, said all members are expected to be in attendance.

The event includes presentations from experts in climate, flooding and emergency management, along with workshops and private round-table discussions. Hamilton-Morris said presentations will also show how climate change has influenced agriculture and renewable energy projects.

Cownie, who was appointed to the task force by Obama in November, said the main focus is to explore climate change-related disasters, such as droughts, wildfires, floods and storms, in order to determine what steps can be taken to prevent them. He said the task force will also look at the effectiveness of disaster response strategies already in place.

Hamilton-Morris said many of the climate change issues experts will present as problematic for Iowa can be seen in areas across the country. She said information on Iowa’s flooding issues and the state’s implementation of flood protection, for example, could therefore benefit other regions.

Cownie said the fourth and final task force meeting will take place in June. At that point, the group will finalize recommendations for federal officials on the best ways to address climate change-related disasters.

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