2017 Agenda and Topics

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Tuesday, September 12

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm – Welcome and Introductions (followed by dinner)
Sustainability as a Megatrend
Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Director of Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
Sustainability has emerged as an overarching framework for life in the 21st century. In this opening module of the Leadership Forum, I will explore how sustainability brings together energy, environment, and economic issues — and for some, social elements as well — in an integrated and systematic approach to ecological challenges at various scales from global to local. I will further discuss how sustainability has helped to shift policy practices toward long-term outcomes, incentives for changed behavior, engagement of the private sector as a source of innovation, and market-based regulatory strategies rather than “command and control” mandates. Other mega-trends that are shaping our environmental trajectory including the IT revolution, transparency, Big Data and metrics, and changing attitudes toward government will also be discussed.

Wednesday, September 13

9:00 am - 10:30 am – Global Climate Change Negotiations: An Insider's 25-year View
Susan Biniaz, Lecturer, Yale Law School; Senior Fellow, UN Foundation; formerly with the U.S. State Department, Legal Adviser's Office
Sue Biniaz will trace the evolution of the international climate change regime through the adoption of the Paris Agreement, stressing notable developments and interesting ways in which differences among countries were resolved. She will also discuss the U.S. Administration's decision to withdraw from Paris, including its implications and possible ways forward.

10:30 am - 11:00 am – Break

11:00 am - 12:30 pm – The Evolution of Environmental Law and Policy
E. Donald Elliott, Professor (Adjunct) of Law, Yale Law School
In his lecture “The Evolution of U.S. Environmental Law,” Yale Law School professor E. Donald Elliott will trace developments in U.S. environmental law from the 1960’s to the present.  He begins with the emergence of “environmental law” out of common law nuisance in the 1970’s, and traces its development through the stages of comprehensive analysis and legalistic bureaucracy in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  He ends with the present and the increasing focus on sustainability and pollution prevention as opposed to regulation.  Professor Elliott draws ten lessons from the U.S. experience, based on his 2010 lecture in Taiwan, U.S. Environmental Law in Global Perspective: Five Do's and Five Don'ts from Our Experience, 2010 National Taiwan University Law Review 144

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm – Lunch

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm – Recent Learning in Energy and Environmental Economics
Kenneth Gillingham, Assistant Professor of Environmental & Energy Economics, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Carbon pricing is an active area of both research and policy activity around the world. What is carbon pricing? What policies implement it? What is the latest research on how to set a carbon price? This talk delves into each of these questions, incorporating the latest evidence and perspective on policy.

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm – Break

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm – Climate Change Communications
Anthony Leiserowitz, Senior Research Scientist; Director, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC)
Climate change is one of the most daunting challenges of our time. Americans and other people around the world have diverse and sometime opposing views about global warming, fundamentally shaping political and economic responses to climate change. In this module, will will review recent global and national trends in public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy support, and behavior and discuss strategies to build public and political will for climate action.

Optional Campus Tour
Free Evening

Thursday, September 14

9:00 am - 10:30 am – Science and Innovation
Gary Brudvig, Benjamin Silliman Professor and Chair of Chemistry, Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Director of the Yale Energy Sciences Institute, Yale University
Currently, most of the energy we use comes from ‘fossil’ fuels, but there are significant environmental impacts. Renewable and carbon-neutral sources of energy are needed. Sunlight and wind are abundant and renewable energy sources; the sunlight striking the surface of the Earth and estimates of global wind capacity both greatly exceed current global power demand.  However, new technology is needed to convert light and wind energy into a storable form in order to use these intermittent energy sources on a large scale.  Research and innovation are critical to develop the technology needed to transition from a fossil fuel-based energy economy to carbon-neutral and sustainable sources of energy.  Solar energy conversion and storage are goals of the recently established Yale Energy Sciences Institute (YESI) on Yale’s West Campus.  Interdisciplinary work is essential to spur innovation and technological breakthroughs in the energy sciences.  At the YESI, faculty from Chemistry, Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering & Material Science and Chemical & Environmental Engineering are working side by side.  New facilities have been created with an open environment to maximize interactions among researchers in different disciplines, and a new Materials Characterization Core has been established with state-of-the-art instrumentation to enable cutting-edge research.  Progress made to date at the YESI will be discussed.  The new start-up company “Catalytic Innovations”, which was founded by members of the YESI, will be highlighted as an example of the transition from laboratory research to new technology.

10:30 am - 11:00 am – Break

11:00 am - 12:30 pm – Green Design
Julie Zimmerman, Professor of Green Engineering, Yale University; Assistant Director for Research, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale
A wicked problem is one that is intractable due to incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these variables. Wicked problems require systems thinking coupled with more conventional reductionist approaches to identify highly effective leverage points for interventions and to avoid unintended consequences. However, these synergistic interventions that can advance sustainability often contradict myths of the “status quo”.  This talk will explore these myths and the innovations that are disproving them towards realizing a sustainable future. 

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm – Lunch

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm – Sustainable Investing
David Lubin, Managing Director, S3
This seminar will provide participants with an overview of the sustainable investing evolution from its roots as a ‘values’ strategy to today’s multifaceted marketplace with a new emphasis on ‘value’. The presentation and discussion will focus on the following:

  • How the sustainable investing market is segmented
  • How demographics shifts are expected to impact capital flows toward ’sustainable strategies’
  • Emerging data linking sustainable strategies with financial results
  • Key data challenges limiting mainstream adoption of sustainable investing strategies
  • Potential new directions for market development

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm – Break

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm – Industrial Ecology: Closing the Loop
Marian Chertow, Associate Professor of Industrial Environmental Management, Director of the Program on Solid Waste Policy, and Director of the Industrial Environmental Management Program, Yale University
Industrial ecology has emerged since the 1990s as a multi-disciplinary field at the nexus of environmental science, engineering, business, and policy. With an intensive focus on the physical flow of materials and energy through systems at different scales, it also examines the influences of economic, political, regulatory, and social factors on the flow, use, and transformation of resources. This session highlights the great potential in cycling resources and closing loops at international and national levels, and also at the firm and industrial cluster levels, by exploring topics such as “lifecycle assessment,” “industrial symbiosis” and the “circular economy.”

5:30 pm – Group Photo

5:40 pm - 6:30 pm – Cocktail Hour

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm – Dinner and Keynote Address
Pricing Carbon: Key to a Sustainable Future
William Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics & Professor, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Friday, September 15

9:00 am - 10:30 am – The Big Pivot: Doing Business in a Hotter, Scarcer, More Open and Connected World
Andrew Winston, Founder, Winston Eco-Strategies
Andrew Winston lays out a new vision for profiting in fundamentally changed world. Critical mega-trends are disrupting “business as usual” and changing the role of business in society. But these challenges also offer unprecedented opportunities: multi-trillion-dollar markets are in play and the winners of this new game will profit mightily. Winston’s talk describes the simple but profound shift – the Big Pivot – that disruptive companies are making to navigate and solve the world’s toughest challenges, and provides crucial tactics and strategies for executives and managers to profit from this new, volatile reality. Andrew shows how to profit from building a healthier, more sustainable, more prosperous world. 

10:30 am - 11:00 am – Break

11:00 am - 12:30 pm – New Conservation Strategies
Bradford Gentry, Associate Dean for Professional Practice; Professor in the Practice; Co-Director of the Center for Business & the Environment at Yale; Director of the Research Program on Private Investment and the Environment, Yale University
Land conservation is often traditionally viewed as an effort to: (i) keep people out of natural areas; (ii) by preventing their development or other human use; (iii) to protect the interests of non-human species; (iv) using charitable and public money. While much important work has been done in this way, this approach is limited in the scale of the natural areas it can affect. As views about human interests in the goods and services that natural areas provide have broadened, so too have the types of organizations and sources of finance for both protecting and restoring natural areas. The purpose of this session is to explore some of these new directions in land conservation.

12:30 pm - 1:15 pm – Lunch

1:15 pm - 2:30 pm – Climate Change as a Case Study
Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Director of Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
Climate change is perhaps the most critical issue within the emerging 21st century sustainability framework. Since the Earth Summit of 1992, which produced the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the world has approached the climate change challenge with a top-down (nation state-led) emphasis on targets and timetables for emissions reductions. Little progress was made, however, as it turns out that Presidents and Prime Ministers have little day to day control over the carbon footprints of their societies. Last December in Paris, 195 countries came together and conclude a new climate change agreement that broadens engagement to include mayors, governors/premiers, corporate executives, and community leaders — recognizing that “bottom up” efforts at the city, state/provincial, and corporate scales often produce better results. Professor Dan Esty will describe how the new 2015 Paris Agreement exemplifies sustainability as an integrative management concept for the 21st century.

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm – Certificate Ceremony

Program Concludes