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Keynote Speakers

Monday, December 5
8:30am – 10:00am

Systemic Risks in a Global Context

Pandemics, climate change, the water-food-energy nexus: Understanding and managing systemic risk is more important than ever due to our immense global connectivity, whether between sectors, countries and continents, or even between individuals. Systemic risk is associated with cascading impacts that spread within and across systems and sectors (e.g. ecosystems, health, infrastructure, the food and energy sectors) via the movements of people, goods, capital and information within and across boundaries (e.g. regions, countries and continents). Addressing contemporary challenges in terms of systemic risk requires integrating different systems perspectives and fostering system thinking, while implementing key intergovernmental agendas, such as the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals.

This interactive panel examines perspectives of climate, environmental and disaster risk science and practice regarding systemic risk. The panellists address issues such as information and data requirements that are essential for a better and more actionable understanding of the systemic nature of risk, the opportunities to connect research and policy for addressing systemic risk as well as recommendations for future work in science, policy and practice on systemic risk. A point of departure for the discussion is the briefing note on systemic risk by the International Science Council, UNDRR, and Risk-KAN Working Groups.


Pia-Johanna Schweizer, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies


Jessica Boakye, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sirkku Juhola, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, University of Helsinki

Kai Kornhuber, The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Nidhi Nagabhatla, United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies

Tuesday, December 6
12:00pm – 1:30pm

Linkages Across Cumulative Risk, Environmental Justice and Climate Change

There is a lot of discussion around cumulative risk assessment frameworks, environmental justice issues in overburdened communities, and the implications of climate change across communities. Cumulative risk is a function of the combined effects of exposure to multiple contaminants from multiple sources and the interaction of those exposures with social and other factors in the community. In already overburdened communities, cumulative risk can be much higher as social determinants of health interact with other kinds of exposures, and the impacts of climate change in many cases felt more acutely. This interactive panel discussion will talk through these issues with reference to recently proposed EPA cumulative risk guidance, environmental justice efforts, and a recent National Academies panel on the same topic. In addition, panelists will provide perspectives from other agencies, risk practitioners looking to implement regulatory guidelines, and researchers who are trying to better understand these kinds of interrelationships.


Katherine von Stackelberg, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and NEK Associates LTD


Christopher Frey, Assistant Administrator, Office of Research and Development

Felicia Wu, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University

Dr. E. Christian Wells, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Brownfields Research & Redevelopment, University of South Florida

Wednesday, December 7
12:00pm – 1:30pm

Regulatory Risk and the Law: Implications of Recent SCOTUS Rulings

Recent decisions by the Supreme Court are influencing, or some would say dictating, climate policy and environmental regulation in the United States through both the major questions and nondelegation doctrines. But does limiting regulation on carbon pollution improve social welfare and public health outcomes? And how do these decisions influence or limit the use of the social cost of carbon and other greenhouse gases? Join us for an interactive discussion with several legal experts around these issues.

Moderator: Jonathan B. Wiener, Perkins Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy and Environmental Policy, Co-director, Duke Center on Risk, Duke University


Elissa Philip Gentry, Assistant Professor, Florida State University College of Law