Seeing the Dangers Ahead Virtual Event Series

Learn more about this three-part virtual event series offered in part by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

Seeing the dangers ahead graphic

Last Winter, the Attorney General's OfficeState Energy & Environmental Impact Center, and the Woodwell Climate Research Center, hosted a three-part virtual event series to provide essential information and tools to help regulators and advocates understand the latest available public and private data about physical, financial, and transition climate risks. The series also highlighted how how regulators might address key data gaps and explained how to harness climate risk data for government decision-making. More information on the series can be found below or by reading the conference report here

Table of Contents

Part I — Beyond the IPCC

Understanding and Harnessing the Latest Climate Physical Risk Data and Tools

In order to chart an equitable transition to a resilient, zero-carbon future, we must first understand who is producing climate risk data and how to get it, what the data is telling us about our communities, and how to incorporate that knowledge into effective policy and advocacy to advance climate change mitigation, adaptation, and justice.

Leading expert panelists will explore topics critical to understanding and harnessing climate physical risk data, including:

  • cutting-edge data on climate physical risks and the sensitivity of those risks to policy changes;
  • who is generating physical risk information that might be useful to governments and advocates, and how to access it;
  • new tools that allow for visualization and analysis of physical risks at the state, local, or even neighborhood level; and
  • how a deeper understanding of physical risk data can better equip us to prepare for and mitigate climate risks.

Bethany Davis Noll, Executive Director, State Energy and Environmental Impact Center

Keynote Speaker
Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts

Panel Discussion Members

  • Matthew Eby, Founder & Executive Director, First Street Foundation
  • Juliette Finzi Hart, Program Manager, Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program, California Office of Planning and Research
  • Mekala Krishnan, Partner, McKinsey Global Institute
  • Christopher R. Schwalm, Risk Program Director, Woodwell Climate Research Center
  • Eric Roston (moderator), Sustainability Editor, Bloomberg

This session was held on February 1st, video of the session is below. 

Resources Shared by the Panel

Woodwell Climate Research Center

First Street Foundation

  • Flood Factor (comprehensive and peer-reviewed flood model)

McKinsey Global Institute

Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program at the CA Governor's Office of Planning and Research

Part II — Risky Business

An Essential Introduction to Climate Financial Risks and the Role of Regulators

Climate change affects all areas of our economy. Regulators and advocates need to understand the financial risks of climate change—economic impacts that may arise from the physical impacts of climate change and climate change mitigation efforts—and how those risks will affect our communities and the economy. As the world’s central banks have increasingly identified, these risks present systemic threats to the world’s financial markets. Regulators have a role to play in ensuring that the market has an adequate understanding of these risks. The private sector also has an essential role to play in producing and disclosing data on climate financial risks and companies’ approaches to addressing those risks.

Experts in this panel will explore topics critical to understanding and harnessing climate financial risk data, including:

  • a primer on climate financial risk and its relationship to physical risk;
  • the role of investors and other corporate actors in producing climate risk data and addressing risks;
  • the relationship between climate financial risks and environmental and climate justice; and
  • key data gaps and opportunities for regulators to advance disclosure standards and industry safeguards.

Keynote Speaker
Robert Jackson, Professor of Law, New York University

Panel Discussion Members

  • Yue (Nina) Chen, Executive Deputy Superintendent, Climate Division, New York State Department of Financial Services
  • Wendy Cromwell, Vice Chair, Wellington Management
  • Dave McGlinchey, Chief of External Affairs, Woodwell Climate Research Center
  • Marilyn Waite, Managing Director, Climate Finance Fund
  • Madison Condon (moderator), Associate Professor, Boston University School of Law

This session was held on February 15, video of the session is below. 

Resources Shared by the Panel

New York State Department of Financial Services

Boston University School of Law

Climate Finance Fund

Part III — Toward Equity and Resilience

Harnessing Climate Risk Information for Better Decision making

With intensifying climate harms, billions of dollars of new federal funding on the way for climate adaptation, and an array of new state and federal policies seeking corporate disclosure of climate risk information, it has never been more critical for regulators, communities, and advocates to understand risk data and how to incorporate that knowledge into effective policy and advocacy.

Assessing risk and vulnerability is an important step in the climate adaptation planning process for state and local governments. At what stages of that process should physical and financial risk information be incorporated? What should communication between decisionmakers, advocates, and communities look like? And how can we wield risk-informed adaptation planning to foster resilience, equity, and justice in our communities? At this final event in our three-part virtual series on climate risks, leading expert panelists will explore topics critical to helping policymakers harness climate physical and financial risk information for better decision-making, including:

  • key types of physical and social climate vulnerabilities facing governments;
  • what a vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning process looks like, and the role of physical and financial risk information in that process;
  • best practices in climate adaptation planning to promote resilience and environmental justice;
  • new opportunities for state and local governments to utilize physical and financial climate risk data in policy and decision-making; and
  • potential strategies to address outstanding data and tools gaps.

Keynote Speakers

  • Former Congressman Joseph Kennedy, III, Board Member, Woodwell Climate Research Center
  • Heather McTeer Toney, Former Mayor of Greenville, former Regional Administrator of EPA Southeast Region, Climate Justice Liaison for Environmental Defense Fund, Senior Advisor at Moms Clean Air Force

Panel Discussion Members

  • Robin Bronen, Executive Director, Alaska Institute for Justice
  • Joyce Coffee, Founder and President, Climate Resilience Consulting
  • Effie Turnbull-Sanders, Environmental Justice Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
  • Jennifer Jurado, Chief Resilience Officer, Broward County, FL
  • Heather Goldstone (moderator), Chief Communications Officer, Woodwell Climate Research Center

The session was held on March 1, video of the session is below. 

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