Friday February 24


Registration for Workshop Attendees


Pre-Conference Workshops
(pre-registration required - sold out)


Building Resilience in Hampton Roads, Virginia: Coordinating Climate Action at the Local, State, and National Levels

Location: Kroon 319

In this session, you will hear from a group of activists and organizers living and working in one of the most climate vulnerable communities in America, and will learn how to utilize open-source climate action toolkits to make a climate adaptation plan for your community.

How do you build community resilience despite setbacks, and what strategies do we have for building momentum for coordinated climate action between local, state, and national actors? In this session you will first hear a group of activists and organizers who live and work in the Hampton Roads region, home to the world’s largest naval base and considered the second most vulnerable area in the United States, discuss what’s already happening to our coastlines, how entrenched local and state-level political power in Virginia can affect the future of our nation, and ways to engage with Virginia and other climate change “hot-spots” that simply can’t wait for national level climate action. Then, you will hear from speakers from NOAA and the Georgetown Climate Center who will discuss their own research, experiences, and best practices for working with community members and leaders across the country to build climate resilience. These speakers will facilitate the workshop portion of the event by walking the audience through the use of their climate action toolkits with a focus on the Hampton Road region case study.

  • Harrison Wallace
    • Lead Organizer
    • Chesapeake Climate Action Network
  • Jamie DeWeese
    • Climate Fellow
    • Harrison Institute for Public Law, Georgetown University Law
  • Carey Glenn
    • Junior Program Manager for AidData
    • College of William & Mary
  • Edward Gardiner
    • Contractor to NOAA Climate Program Office
    • User Engagement for US Climate Resilience Toolkit

Understanding Environmental Security and the Implications of Climate Change on Peace and Stability in the World

Location: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall

This workshop will lead students through a process for conducting a strategic security analysis to assess the threats to peace and security posed by climate change.

It begins with an analysis of the science of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report to help students understand the relationships between the primary climate change drivers (global warming, sea level rise, etc.) and regional stability. These data are then input into an environmental security analytic framework to assess the risks/threats posed by key climate drivers. Case studies of the Nile River watershed and the Tibetan Plateau present stark examples of the relationships between climate change and human security. From this point the workshop proceeds to examining the options available to mitigate and adapt to these adverse risks and impacts. The workshop would conclude by applying the US national security framework to lead students through the process of developing a strategy to respond to climate change. The strategy developed will emphasize a whole of government approach, one which is mandated in the National Security Strategy of the United States and absolutely essential for a threat of the magnitude of climate change.

Environmental Justice: Lawyers on Tap, Not on Top

Location: Bowers Auditorium, Sage Hall

Join us for part or all of a daylong conversation about the ways in which lawyers can engage to assist communities that are overburdened by contamination and polluting sources. More information about the workshop agenda will be sent to those who register for this workshop. 

We will be joined by regional environmental justice (EJ) activists and EJ clinical professors for two panel discussions. This will be followed by a roundtable where we will compare lessons learned, explore the lawyer's place in the environmental justice movement, and discuss the role that civil rights law can play in advancing environmental justice.

Securing Security: Building Narratives and Networks for Change Across Public and Private Sectors

Location: Kroon G01

In this hands-on workshop, attendees will learn the basic theory of values-based communications, and then practice applying these approaches in teams to engage partners to catalyze social, cultural, economic, and political action on behalf of national and global security concerns.

Absent reliable and consistent public, policy, and market support, concerned citizens, communities, and institutions across the public and private sectors are increasingly looking to new strategies of engagement to advance sustainability and systemic social change. New, value-based communication frameworks that seek to catalyze cooperative alliances beyond the liberal/conservative and developed/developing divides may prove critical.

  • Paul Lussier
    • Founder and Director
    • Yale Science Communications with Impact Network

Saturday February 25


Registration Open


Light Breakfast


Welcome and Opening Remarks

Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director, US Climate Action Network


Opening Panel: Human Security


Justice, Human Rights, and the Land: A Paradigm for a New Environmentalism in the Face of Climate Chaos

Location: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall

In this panel, social and environmental justice leaders, and others mobilizing for climate justice address key challenges and opportunities at the intersection of human rights and environmental protection.

They will situate us in our historical moment and discuss how we can work together to build a broad-based alliance bridging human rights, resource rights, and environmental protection to meet the urgency and scale of climate chaos.




Morning Breakout Session


National Security Policymaking in a Changing Climate

Location: Bowers Auditorium, Sage Hall

This session focuses on the security impacts of climate change and the implications for policymaking.

Panelists will discuss how the White House and the State Department have worked to integrate consideration of environment and climate risks into the development and implementation of security, development, and diplomatic policy.

  • Reed Schuler
    • Policy Planning Staff
    • US Department of State
  • Commander Mark Nevitt
    • Environmental and National Security Law Counsel
    • Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy
  • Shara Mohtadi
    • Advisor
    • Office of Management and Budget for Natural Resources, Energy and Science, White House
  • Michael Sonnenfeldt (Moderator)
    • Founder and Chairman
    • Tiger 21

Maintaining National Energy Security: The Role of Fossil Fuels in America’s Defense Strategy

Location: Kroon 319

This panel will explore how the U.S. is exposed to energy security issues and how climate change may exacerbate or cause threats to the U.S. energy supply, energy infrastructure, and subsequently US national security.

Fossil fuels are at the heart of our economy and are vital to maintaining our nation’s energy security. The sufficient supply of these resources ensures not only daily access to utilities, transportation, and communication systems, but also civilian protection and emergency preparedness.However, intensive use of fossil fuel resources for such purposes has increasingly contributed to rising greenhouse gases associated with climate change, which presents its own unique security threats. This panel will explore how the U.S. is exposed to energy security issues and how climate change may exacerbate or cause threats to the U.S. energy supply, energy infrastructure, and subsequently US national security.Ultimately, the panel aims to explore the intersections of energy and security in the context of emerging challenges posed by climate change and the impacts of the government’s current reliance on fossil fuels.

  • Dan Kenny
    • Security and Emergency Management Specialist
    • Newfield Exploration
  • Chris Smith
    • Former Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy
    • Department of Energy
  • Robert Goldstein
    • Director of the Center for the Rule of Law
    • US Military Academy West Point
  • Michael Oristaglio (Moderator)
    • Executive Director
    • Yale Climate and Energy Institute

Climate Change and Extreme Energy: The Scope and Nature of States’ International Human Rights Obligations to Children

Location: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall

This panel seeks to clarify States’ international human rights obligations through a discussion of international environmental law, human rights law, atmospheric trust litigation and children’s rights.


  • Annabel Webb
    • Director of Human Rights & Climate Change 
    • Just Planet
  • Ted Auch
    • Great Lakes Program Coordinator
    • FracTracker Alliance
  • Elizabeth Brown
    • Staff Attorney and Global Program Manager
    • Our Children's Trust
  • Kathleen Maloney (Moderator)
    • Director, International Criminal Law & Human Trafficking
    • Just Planet

Financing for Resilience: Innovation at the Intersection of Risk and Resilience

Location: Kroon G01

This session gathers leaders in the space of financing for resilience building and risk reduction to discuss current innovations in the fields.

Panelists from the private capital, insurance, philanthropic, and development sectors will discuss their work in reducing risk from climate related impacts and natural disasters.

  • Rebecca French
    • Director of Community Engagement
    • CT Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation
  • Bruce Schlein
    • Director of Alternative Energy Finance
    • Citigroup
  • Anthony Clark
    • Senior Manager, Commercial & Industrial Programs
    • CT Green Bank
  • Bradford Gentry (Moderator)
    • Associate Dean for Professional Practice
    • Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies






Afternoon Panel: Geopolitical Security


Emerging Priorities in Climate Change and Geopolitics

Location: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall

This panel will explore emerging issues at the intersection of climate change, geopolitics and national security through a discussion led by experts on global “hot spots,” national security strategies, and international humanitarian law.

  • Tyler Giannini
    • Clinical Professor of Law, Co-Director of Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic
    • Harvard Law School
  • Marcus King
    • Associate Professor of International Affairs
    • Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
  • James Goudreau
    • Head of Climate
    • Novartis
  • Dan Esty (Moderator)
    • Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy
    • Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Law Schoool




Afternoon Breakout Session 1


Climate Change and National Security in the Arctic: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Action

Location: Kroon 319

This interdisciplinary session convenes a diverse group of Arctic experts to discuss the pressing challenges facing the Arctic as a result of climate change and how these challenges impact national security.

Panelists will also reflect on how environmental policymakers can effect a positive response in the region, and describe their own hopes for the Arctic’s future.

  • Esau Sinnok
    • Shishmaref, Alaska
    • Arctic Youth Ambassador
  • Harry Bader
    • Former Associate Professor of Polar Security Studies
    • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Dr. Scott Stephenson
    • Department of Geography
    • University of Connecticut
  • Josh Galperin (Moderator)
    • Lecturer, Program Director
    • Yale Law School and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Climate Change and GMOs: Reversing the Trivialization of Industrial Agriculture’s Impact on the Environment and Food Security

Location: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall

This session will introduce the impact of a changing climate and GMOs on local and global food systems.

Its panelists will discuss how GMOs create food insecurity, the concentration of the agricultural sector and the regulation of GMOs, and how climate change affects various scales of food security.

How to Incorporate Climate Uncertainty into Policy Frameworks

Location: Bowers Auditorium, Sage Hall

This session will discuss the uncertainty inherent in climate models and how we can move forward from uncertainty to plan for future climate risks through policy and legal structures.

We will look at current climate models, how they work (briefly) and where their inherent uncertainty lies. During this portion we will look at trends and how to incorporate climate targets into existing models. We will then discuss implications of uncertainty for planning, and how specific cities have successfully incorporated uncertainty into their infrastructure and security models. There will also be the opportunity for a large question and answer session where audience members have the opportunity to ask climate questions to modelers running these simulations.

  • Kimberley Rain Miner
    • NSF and Switzer Foundation Fellow and Department of Defense Scholar
    • Climate Change Institute, University of Maine
  • Bradfield Lyon
    • Associate Research Professor
    • Climate Change Institute, University of Maine
  • Alex Felson
    • Associate Professor
    • Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale School of Architecture

South Asia 2050: Water, Urban Growth, and Disaster Response

Location: Kroon G01

This panel will explore climate risk management in South Asia and potential policy solutions related to water scarcity, urban growth, and natural disasters.

Home to nearly a quarter of the world's population, South Asia will face unique challenges as it adapts to climate change. Access to fresh water, urban growth and sustainability, and effective response to natural disasters all pose security risks to a region also dealing with the impact of rapid population and economic growth.This panel will explore climate risk management in South Asia and potential policy solutions related to water scarcity, urban growth, and natural disasters.

  • Saleem Ali
    • Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment
    • University of Delaware
  • Anthony Acciavatti
    • Post Doctoral Associate, Agrarian Studies
    • Yale MacMillan Center
  • Luisa Cortesi
    • PhD Student
    • Yale Anthropology and FES
  • Chad Oliver(Moderator)
    • Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies
    • Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies




Coffee Break


Second Afternoon Breakout Session


From Threat to Promise: Environmental Peacebuilding and the Positive Potential of Environmental Stressors

Location: Kroon 319

This session will examine the logic of the environmental peacebuilding rationale, critically exploring the links between the natural environment, peace, and conflict.

Panelists will question when and where peacebuilding takes place, the unique position occupied by nature in peacebuilding processes, and the need to examine both the negative and positive consequences of environmental concerns.

  • Carl Bruch
    • Director of International Programs, Environmental Law Institute
    • Co-Manager, Environmental Peacebuilding Knowledge Platform
  • Rebecca L. Farnum
    • PhD Candidate
    • King’s College London
  • Steven Freeland
    • Professor of International Law
    • Western Sydney University, Australia

Creative Solutions in Water Resource Policy: Peacebuilding and Managing Water Conflict for Human Security

Location: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall

This panel will examine water conflict, negotiation, and peacebuilding in the Middle East.

Speakers will establish the clear link between climate change, water scarcity and human security, and focus on examples of collaborative water resource agreements and the new and existing tools that helped to facilitate them, as well as strategies for prevention and stabilization in areas vulnerable to water conflict.

  • Peter Rogers
    • Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Engineering and Professor of City Planning
    • Harvard University
  • Shiloh Fetzek
    • Senior Fellow for International Affairs
    • Center for Climate and Security
  • Eric Abitol
    • Adjunct Professor of Environmental Peacebuilding
    • School of International Service, American University
  • Swathi Veeravalli (Moderator)
    • Climate Security Advisor
    • USAID

Human Well-Being and Health in a Climate-Challenged Future: Refugees, Emerging Diseases, and Mitigation

Location: Kroon G01

This session will examine how climate change threatens human health and well-being, as well as how diverse fields and leadership can learn from each other to ensure just climate action that improves planetary and human health.

Panelists bring first-hand, practical experience with climate refugees and forced migration, environmentally-influenced pandemics such as Zika and Ebola, and determining health impacts of resource extraction, environmental calamities, and mitigation.

  • Montrece Ransom
    • Team Lead, Public Health Law Training and Workforce Development
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Romy Cadiente
    • Relocation Coordinator, Newtok Village Council
    • Newtok, Alaska
  • Jonathan Buonocore
    • Program Leader, Climate, Energy, and Health
    • Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment
  • Robert Dubrow (Moderator)
    • Faculty Director, Climate Change and Health Initiative
    • Yale School of Public Health

International Agreements and Domestic Implementation: Challenges and Opportunities in the Environmental Arena

Location: Bowers Auditorium, Sage Hall

This panel will evaluate the correlation between participation in international environmental agreements and on-the-ground results, by examining the processes by which countries sign and implement international environmental agreements.

It will feature scholars of environmental performance, climate governance, and international and administrative law. 

  • David Deese
    • Scholar in Residence, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
    • Professor, Boston College
  • Zach Wendling
    • Postdoctoral Associate
    • Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
  • Sue Biniaz
    • Legal Adviser, Climate Change
    • US Department of State
  • Lisa Dale (Moderator)
    • Associate Director
    • Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy




Keynote and Closing Remarks

Honorable Katherine Hammack
Former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment