Vivek Srikrishnan (Cornell University, Biological and Environmental Engineering)

Abstract: Climate change enhances and creates risks. Identifying and implementing sound climate risk management strategies involves many challenges, including deep and dynamic uncertainties, complex feedbacks between climate and socioeconomic systems, and the different scales on which different risk management strategies operate. In this talk, I will describe several ways in which climate change affects risk calculation, why uncertainty plays a critical role in climate risk analysis, and different approaches to climate risk management.

Bio: Vivek Srikrishnan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological & Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. He works on quantifying the impacts of climate change and identifying and evaluating strategies for climate risk management. His research employs methods and insights from systems engineering, data science, decision science, and economics.

Jeremy Lee Wallace (Cornell University, Department of Government)

Abstract: Without action from China, the world will not be able to contain the climate emergency. China produced nearly 30% of global carbon emissions in 2020, making Xi Jinping’s declaration that year that his country would be carbon neutral by 2060 one of epic significance. Will China be able to meet or exceed this goal, and what political and economic roadblocks stand in its way? This lecture introduces some of the challenges, opportunities, and competing narratives at play, with a particular focus on real estate construction and China’s growth model.

Bio: Prof. Wallace teaches courses related to urbanization, authoritarianism, and economic development. China’s Next Economy is a lecture course focusing on today’s debates about the costs and opportunities facing the leaders and citizens of China as they transition into the technology and service-dominated future.

Patrick Fulton (Cornell University, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)

Abstract: Motivated by Cornell University’s aspiration to use geothermal heat to replace fossil fuels to heat campus buildings, in the summer of 2022, a 3-km deep geothermal exploratory well, the Cornell University Borehole Observatory (CUBO), was drilled on the Ithaca, NY campus. CUBO extends through largely low porosity and permeability Paleozoic sedimentary rocks above granulite-grade Grenville metamorphic basement rocks.

The main objective of CUBO is to explore potential fracture-dominated reservoir targets in both the sedimentary units and basement where temperatures are anticipated to range between 70 – 95 oC and help guide and de-risk decisions regarding the development of deep geothermal energy systems both at Cornell and elsewhere. CUBO is designed to be a dedicated observatory and testing borehole, separate from any future operational well pairs, and the resulting data and findings will be openly shared. The access to the subsurface provided by CUBO also permits ancillary experiments and investigations that advance our understanding of subsurface processes and conditions in general.

Here I will discuss the preliminary results of our analysis of the various geologic, hydrologic, logging, sampling, and downhole testing data acquired. I will also discuss the opportunities and general challenges associated with geothermal energy, and the important role earth scientists have in developing sustainable low-carbon energy solutions.

Recommended Reading: Geothermal 2.0: Why Cornell University Put a 2-Mile Hole in the Earth (Christian Science Monitor, 10/28/2022)

Bio: Patrick Fulton joined the faculty of Cornell’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) in January 2019. Fulton is an assistant professor and a Croll Sesquicentennial Fellow whose research interests include hydrologic and thermal processes within fault zones and how these processes either control fault slip behavior or provide insightful signatures within fault rocks. After post-docs in Oregon and Texas and a stint as a research scientist in California, Fulton took a faculty position at Texas A&M in 2016, where he taught for three years.

February 20: TBD

Flavio Lehner (Cornell University, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)

Bio: Flavio Lehner joined the Cornell Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in 2020 as assistant professor. “Climate science is inherently an interdisciplinary science and solving its puzzles requires the kind of open-mindedness and excellence that a place like Cornell has fostered since its foundation,” says Lehner. Lehner’s research strives to improve our collective understanding of large-scale climate variability and change and its influence on regional climate impacts such as droughts, heatwaves, or wild fires.

March 6: TBD

Jane-Marie Law (Cornell University, Religious Studies)

Bio: Professor Law’s research explores the interface between living communities and religious ideologies and praxis, with fieldwork as a core methodology. Her early work focused on the ritual uses of human effigies in Japan, and explored how puppetry represents a kind of ritual logic. From this work, she became interested in issues of cultural memory and memorialization of atrocity. Recently, she has turned her attention to how religious communities participate in debates and actions concerning ecological healing or degradation, and movements toward or away from sustainable living.

March 13: TBD

Robert Kopp

Bio: Robert Kopp is a climate scientist who serves at Rutgers University as a Professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences and as Co-Director of the University Office of Climate Action. He also directs the Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub, a National Science Foundation-funded consortium that advances coastal climate adaptation and the scientific understanding of natural and human coastal climate dynamics. He is also a director of the Climate Impact Lab, a multi-institutional collaboration of more than two dozen economists, data scientists, climate scientists, and policy experts, working to bring Big Data approaches to the assessment of the economic risks of climate change.

March 20: TBD

Gregory S. Jenkins (Penn State, Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Geography, and African Studies)

Bio: Prof. Jenkins’ climate research focuses on late 20th century drying and model projections of more arid conditions in the middle to late 21st century have and may further alter the way of life for many in West Africa. Understanding the processes related to these changes require analysis of regional and global models. It also requires a better understanding of limited observations for determining emerging trends in West Africa. Climate variability and change will increase the challenges of decision-makers in West Africa who are addressing issues of urbanization, poverty alleviation, water resources, public health, and food security.

March 27: TBD

Stephan Nicoleau (Managing Director at FullCycle)

Bio: Stephan Nicoleau is a Managing Director at FullCycle and leads the firm’s capital formation and partnerships. He brings more than a decade of investing and investment advisory experience to FullCycle.

April 17: TBD

Ram Ramanathan (Cornell University, Global Development)

Bio: Veerabhadran “Ram” Ramanathan discovered the greenhouse effect of CFCs (cholorofluorocarbons) in 1975 and showed that a ton each of CFC-11 and CFC-12 has more global warming effect than 10,000 tons of CO2. This discovery established the now accepted fact that non-CO2 gases are a major contributor to planetary warming and also enabled the Montreal protocol to become the first successful climate mitigation policy. For this work, he was awarded the 2009 Tyler Prize by Nobel Laureate Sherwood Rowland. In 1980, Madden and Ramanathan were the first to make a statistical prediction that global warming will be detected above the background noise by 2000, a prediction which was verified by the IPCC in 2001. He led a NASA study with its climate satellite to show that clouds had a net cooling effect on the planet and quantified the radiation interactions with water vapor and its amplification of the CO2 warming. He led international field campaigns, developed unmanned aircraft platforms for tracking brown clouds pollution worldwide. His work has led to numerous policies including the formation of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition by the United Nations to reduce shortlived climate pollutants (HFCs; Methane; Black Carbon and Ozone).

April 24: TBD

Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner

Bio: Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner is a Senior Lecturer with the Cornell Brooks School of Public Policy. She has held multiple roles translating values into practice and policy, and works with communities to reduce vulnerability and build resilience.

May 1: TBD

Deborah Coen (Yale, Program in the History of Science and Medicine)

Bio: Deborah R. Coen is a historian of science whose research focuses on the modern physical and environmental sciences and on central European intellectual and cultural history. She earned an A.B. in Physics from Harvard, an M.Phil. in History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard, where she was also a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows. Before coming to Yale, she taught for ten years in the History Department at Barnard College and was Director of Research Clusters for the Columbia Center for Science and Society.

May 8: TBD

Sonali McDermid (New York University, Environmental Studies)

Bio: Sonali McDermid is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies. She holds a Ph.D. (2011), and M. Phil. (2011) and an M.A. (2009) from the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, specializing in Atmospheric Science and Climatology. She holds a B.A. in Physics from NYU (2006). McDermid’s research focuses on understanding interactions between climate change and variability, land-use, and agriculture, with an eye towards identifying and quantifying important feedbacks and uncertainties.

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