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Get Past the Past: Climate Change Adaptation In & Around NYC


for Members

Get Past the Past: Climate Change Adaptation In & Around NYC

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By


Climate change holds great uncertainties, but the fact of climate change is not in doubt. Cities, in which more than half the world’s population now live, are ever more at risk. The New York Metro Area — with its dense population, concentration of essential infrastructure systems and high-value building stock — is particularly vulnerable. Today, City government, The Port Authority and private insurers are developing risk management tools for identifying, assessing, and managing risks posed by climate change.

Join us to learn how experts think through complex climate adaptation issues — some of which are well beyond the realm of past experience — and how decisions about adaptation are being made.

This event is presented as a part of Climate Week NYC.

Presented by:




Megan Linkin, PhD

Swiss Re

Megan Linkin, PhD is the atmospheric perils specialist for Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation in Armonk, NY. Her primary responsibility is assessing the insurance risk posed by hurricanes, tornadoes, hail and winterstorms globally by the development of tools and techniques for underwriters and actuaries. She also provides real-time weather forecasts during impending catastrophic events and is one of Swiss Re's experts on climate change science. She is a regular presenter at the annual meetings of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union and has manuscripts published in the Journal of Climate and Weatherwise magazine. Dr. Linkin received her Masters of Science in 2006 and Ph.D. in 2008 in atmospheric and oceanic science from the University of Maryland with her dissertation entitled "North Pacific Climate Variability and Arctic Sea Ice." She graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in meteorology and a minor in mathematics. Dr. Linkin is an active member of the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, ReUnder40 and the New York City Panel on Climate Change. She currently resides in Manhattan.

Gary Yohe, PhD

Wesleyan University

Gary Yohe is the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics at Wesleyan University; he has been on the faculty at Wesleyan for more than 30 years. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, and received his PhD in Economics from Yale University in 1975. He is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles, several books, and many contributions to media coverage of climate issues. Most of his work has focused attention on the mitigation and adaptation/impacts sides of the climate issue. He is a senior member of the IPCC that was awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Involved with the Panel since the mid 1990's, he served as a Lead Author for four different chapters in the Third Assessment Report that was published in 2001 and as Convening Lead Author for the last chapter of the contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report. In that Assessment, he also worked with the Core Writing Team to prepare the overall Synthesis Report; and he continues to work for the IPCC as it begins preparations for the Fifth Assessment Report that will be published in 2013. Dr. Yohe was also a member of the New York City Panel on Climate Change and currently serves on the standing Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change of the National Academy of Sciences. He also served recently on the National Research Council Committee on America’s Climate Choices: Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change as well as National Research Council Committee on Stabilization Targets for Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas Concentrations.

Christopher Zeppie

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Christopher R. Zeppie Sr. is Director of the Office of Environmental and Energy Programs at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In that role, he is responsible for environmental compliance and sustainability as well as the energy agenda, including all matters related to the procurement of energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Since coming to the Port Authority in 1979, Mr. Zeppie has held positions of increasing responsibility as; Manager, Permits and Governmental Approvals; Attorney, Environmental Law Division; Assistant Director, Office of Environmental Management; and Chief Environmental Policy Officer. He is a member of the Dean’s Council, SUNY at Stony Brook, School of Marine and Atmospheric Studies, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Environmental Section of the New York Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Climate Change and U.S. Transportation. Mr. Zeppie has been appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to serve on the Jamaica Bay Watershed Advisory Committee, and has represented the Port of New York and New Jersey at the C40 Conference working group on Port Facilities in Rotterdam and the C40 Aviation meeting in Los Angeles. Mr. Zeppie holds a B.S. degree in biology and ecology from Manhattan College, an M.S. degree in marine environmental science from State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a J.D. degree from St. John's University School of Law.


Alyssa Katz

Pratt Center for Community Development

Alyssa Katz is the author of Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us (Bloomsbury, 2009), about the political history of the housing bubble and mortgage crisis. She teaches journalism at New York University and writes for The American Prospect, The Big Money, Salon, Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Housing Watch, Mother Jones, The Next American City and other publications. Katz also works with the Pratt Center for Community Development, an organization that helps community-based organizations in New York City's low- and moderate-income communities influence city planning and development, and teaches at New York University and Hunter College.

Alyssa was previously editor-in-chief of City Limits, an award-winning magazine investigating the institutions and policies at work in New York City's neighborhoods. Before covering urban policy, politics and housing, Alyssa was a cultural critic for The Village Voice, The Nation, and Spin. She received her BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and was a 2005-’06 Revson Fellow at Columbia University.

*Additional speaker biographies coming soon.


Approaching Adaptation to Climate Change from a Risk Management Perspective

Gary Yohe, PhD, Wesleyan University
When it turned its attention to protecting its enormous private and public infrastructure from increasing vulnerability to climate change and associated climate variability, New York City adopted a risk-based approach of the kind envisioned by the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and later endorsed by the Adaptation Panel of the America’s Climate Choices initiative conduced by the National Research Council at the request of the United States Congress. The city was motivated by abstract, sometimes academic constructions of risk which were turned into practical, transferable decision-support tools that could be applied in situations across the City and, in reality, across the nation and around the world even where information is scarce. This presentation will offer a brief introductory overview of this innovative New York approach.

Getting Past the Past: Climate Change Adaptation Planning in and around NYC

Christopher Zeppie, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) takes climate change seriously, from setting a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 to planning adaptation strategies to address both regional and global changes due to climate change. Adaptation strategies at the Port Authority includes internal and external collaboration, addressing climate change in comprehensive risk management planning efforts, and designing facilities and operations for resilience. The presentation will provide an overview on how one public agency is adapting to climate change and what issues will determine the Port Authority’s, and other agencies, success.

Travel & Lodging

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