Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Leadership in a Time of Rapid Change: Envisioning Solutions to Environmental Challenges

Date and Time
Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fuqua School of Business


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The Nicholas Institute will host a day-long forum—convened in honor of its tenth anniversary—to assess how we can harness big data, cutting-edge technologies, and adaptation research to create science-based, interdisciplinary approaches attuned to the accelerating and dynamic change in the world.


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8 – 8:45 a.m. - Coffee and Registration

8:45 – 9:30 a.m. - Opening Remarks

  • Tim Profeta, Director, Nicholas Institute
  • Richard Brodhead, President, Duke University
  • Sally Kornbluth, Provost, Duke University
  • William K. Reilly, Former Administrator, EPA

9:30 – 9:45 a.m. - Networking Break

9:45 – 11 a.m. - Shaping Environmental Policy in the Big Data Era

Big data—shorthand for the staggering volume, velocity, and variety of data creation—is reshaping how people live, work, and communicate. Harnessing data to improve environmental decision making will require tools and analytics to turn data into actionable information. This session will explore how we can better enable the sharing, parsing, and interpretation of data to lower risk, increase operational efficiency, and inform environmental policy.

  • Martin Doyle, Director, Water Policy Program, Nicholas Institute
  • Lucas Joppa, Head of Conservation, Microsoft Research
  • Matthew Harding, Assistant Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Budhendra Bhaduri, Corporate Research Fellow and Group Leader, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Robert Calderbank, Director, Information Initiative, Duke University

9:45 – 11 a.m. - Advancing Policies and Investments to Achieve Global Sustainable Development Goals

In September, the United Nations will review progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which has renewed the global conversation about ensuring environmental sustainability while eradicating extreme hunger and poverty. The session will examine policies and technologies for making the world more productive and sustainable in its efforts to provide food, water, and power in the face of population growth and development.

  • Brian Murray, Director, Environmental Economics Program, Nicholas Institute
  • Alfred S. Romualdez, Mayor, City of Tacloban, Philippines
  • Jim Rogers, Former CEO and Chairman of the Board, Duke Energy
  • Subhrendu Pattanayak, Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

11 – 11:15 a.m. - Networking Break

11:15 – 11:45 a.m. - Leadership in a Time of Rapid Change: Environmental Organizations in the U.S.

Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

11:45 – 12:45 p.m. - Buffet Lunch and Networking

12:45 – 2 p.m. - Using Innovative Finance to Sustain the World's Fisheries

Unlocking more capital to cover the cost of addressing the world’s environmental challenges will require innovative financing solutions. This session will examine what innovative financing mechanisms could and have been used to help sustain and rebuild fisheries.

  • John Virdin, Director, Ocean and Coastal Policy Program, Nicholas Institute
  • Pawan Patil, Senior Economist, Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank
  • Alex Markham, Associate, Encourage Capital
  • Larry Band, Consultant, The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit

12:45 – 2 p.m. - Designing a Regulatory System that Adapts to Emerging Risks, Technologies

Innovations in science and technology are reshaping the world in which we live. This session will examine strategies for designing a flexible environmental governance system that fosters development of beneficial technologies while also evaluating and responding to risks associated with those technologies.

  • Jonas Monast, Director, Climate and Energy Program, Nicholas Institute
  • Jennifer Kuzma, Goodnight-Glaxo Wellcome Distinguished Professor, NC State University
  • Jonathan Wiener, William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law, Duke University
  • Wendell Wallach - Consultant, Ethicist, and Scholar at Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics

2 – 2:15 p.m. - Networking Break

2:15 – 2:45 p.m. - Leadership in a Time of Rapid Change: The Role of Public and Private Sector Leaders

  • Bob Perciasepe, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (dialogue with Tim Profeta)

2:45 – 3 p.m. - Networking Break

3 – 4:15 p.m. - Exploring the Future of Environmental Markets

Traditionally, economic development has depended heavily on the services provided by natural ecosystems, jeopardizing their long-term sustainability and impacting future quality of life. Markets can be used to create incentives to maintain environmental capital and sustain environmental services and benefits. This session will examine public interest in extending and developing new environmental markets in light of their recent successes and failures, the extent to which such markets are transferrable to the developing world and the potential for such markets to become an avenue for impact investing.

  • Lydia Olander, Director, Ecosystem Services Program, Nicholas Institute
  • George Kelly, Chief Markets Officer, Resource Environmental Solutions
  • Jim Salzman, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of California-Los Angeles
  • Mike Young, Professor, University of Adelaide

3 – 4:15 p.m. - Creating the Electricity Sector of the Future

The U.S. electricity sector is in the early stages of a major transition driven by rapid changes in energy markets, technology, regulation, and emerging business models. Together, these factors will fundamentally alter the production and consumption of electricity by the middle of the century. This session will examine policy strategies to ensure that the transition results in an affordable, reliable, and clean energy system.

  • Jonas Monast, Director, Climate and Energy Program, Nicholas Institute
  • Mark Laabs, Chief Operating Officer of Soligent Holdings
  • Kristina Johnson, CEO, Enduring Hydro
  • David Fountain, North Carolina president, Duke Energy

4:15 – 4:30 p.m. - Networking Break

4:30 – 5 p.m. - Leadership in a Time of Rapid Change: Global Environmental Organizations

  • Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund (dialogue with William K. Reilly)