Panel Discussion and Interaction Plenary: Report Back 4/13/2011

Notes from the Panel Discussion



Climate Forecasting Group - Lawrence Buja

-Who are the major stakeholders? What issues do they face?

-What is priority climate research and products?

-How can barriers be brought down?


Linda Hinnov: Time series presentation


1.     Who are the major stakeholders? Primary issues?

a.     Youth primary driver of change

b.     Need actionable research

2.     What are priority climate research products?

3.     How can barriers be brought down?

a.     Bring science to bear and translate w/ policy?  How can we be more sophisticated w/ info use for finer scale decisions

b.     User friendly products

4.     How does community deal with risk

a.     APL strength

5.     What is need to develop “official products”

a.     Data necessary!


Broke out into working groups to discuss funding options: CDC, NSF grants

-How would we put together a proposal (template on notes page)

-What are strengths?  What is missing?  Internal lead and external lead assigned to pursue if interested.


1.  Health: Info tools for climate and health.  Develop push-pull examples for health

-Co-leads: Brenda Afzal & Ben Zaitchick

Examples: bar code readers, eMedical Records, allergy reports, etc.


2. Communicating Interdisciplinary Analyses of Climate Impacts: what does this information mean for policy makers and communities?

-A layered approach, education component, communication


These working groups may go on to pursue funding/collaboration if interested



Complex Systems Education Modeling - Ben Hobbs


Ben began with discussing complex modeling applications

1.     What decisions made today may be sensitive to climate change?

2.     What do we need to do now (research, policy, etc)


Decision framework: understand uncertainties, adaptation possibilities, range of consequences.

Choices today>>affected by possible climate scenarios>>adaptation choices>>consequences for health, prosperity, justice, etc.


Issue ranking (top 5):

1.     Water management for agriculture

2.     Regulation of development in high risk areas

3.     Infectious disease in climate change

4.     Other coastal issues

5.     Research into stress impacts


Topics of interest for research:

1.     More climate change focus in public health


Comments on session page gave ideas, provided discussion, refined issues, etc.


Request for more ideas!

1.     So what?

2.     3. What improvements in information or systems models are needed for decision makers?



Risk Management Session - Glen Fountain


What is the most important step?


Define terms for risk (likelihood*consequence) vs. vulnerability (hazard*exposure)

-Make explicit for PH vulnerabilities in geography and time

            *how do we communicate these issues?

-Decision makers un-willing to respond to risk/vulnerabilities because of uncertainty, short term motivations, influenced by personal experience

            *Illustrates barriers faced

            *decision makers fear being wrong or not seeing impact


Issue framing: used to emphasize mitigation, now turning to adaptation strategies and need public health perspective


Risk management: what is motivation? (e.g. Malaria motivated by economic and humanitarian issues) what else is important in this discussion?


Measures of vulnerability/risk consequences:

-effects on populations


-effect on society


Next steps:

1.     Reframe discussion: term vulnerability preferred to risk, organizational change should be motivated by benefit (we’re worse off now)

2.     Defining tools for measurement

3.     Communication to decision makers about vulnerabilities/risks

a.     Remember to frame uncertainty: instead of “error bar” use “confidence interval”

b.     Also try to develop qualitative interpretations of modeled data


Discussion still needs to address time scale of risk perception


Purse training of scientists and/or health professionals to train them on how to communicate points in politically understandable terms



Interdisciplinary Collaboration Group - Nathan Bos


Co-citation study of journals cited in 3rd IPCC reports

-what fields were cited together?

-journal clustering graph demonstrates that health issues clustered away from other sciences (geoscience, oceanography, etc)

-Why?  Health issues mainly came out in impacts/adaptation section, not in mitigation and not in the scientific basis sections of the reports


Talked generally about interdisciplinary collaboration and what that means

-How do we work across the sciences?

-What are the barriers?

            -Academic barriers:


                        *tenure decisions

                        *timeline of collaboration is longer (hard for grants and tenure tracks)

                        *medical professionals have clinical demands

            -Non academic barriers

                        *physical/geographical/language barriers

                        *financial constraints

                        *cultural differences

                        *organizational differences

                        *social networks (both common ground and distances)

                        *public policy pressure on funders and scientists



            -collaboration between British and African colleagues

            -collaboration opportunities: M. Behnassi



Pumping and Treating Water - Luke MacDonald


Water is big energy sink (treatment process, leakage)


Two categories of adaptation strategies to reduce fossil fuel use:

1.     Use less/water reduction

2.     Use more efficiently/reduce energy demand

a.     Multiple uses deserve multiple levels of treatment (drinking use/vs. irrigation)


Other issues:

Economies of scale

Other technological advancement


Research developments:

Criteria to evaluate solutions/widgets: temporal reliability, vulnerabilities, flexibility of systems, economic sustainability, short vs. long term sustainability, user vs. true cost, health impact, water sustainability, equity, other environmental impacts/waste stream, etc.




Disaster Response and Petroleum Scarcity - Dan Barnett


1.     What are respective petroleum supply-related vulnerabilities:

a.     Prevention: Look at infrastructure and evaluate resilience

b.     Preparedness: training and awareness of petroleum

c.      Response: transportation

d.     Recovery: long-term mental health

2.     How might vulnerabilities differ in developed vs. developing nations?

a.     Cultural differences might impact

3.     What are psychosocial implications

a.     If people feel abandoned b/c no petroleum for transportation may result in increased mental health issues

b.     Localized self-sustainability: food=resilience

4.     What types interdisciplinary collaborations will drive innovations in disaster management

a.     Economics, social work, health, engineering, etc.




Food Production - Roni Neff


Adaptation strategies in light of energy scarcity


Petroleum permeates industrial food system

Need to transform food system:

-increased energy efficiency

-changed food consumption patterns


Top actionable ideas:

1.     Motivate behavior change

2.     Regulatory changes

3.     Document relative value of food, water, energy ($)

4.     Understand layers of power and relevant strategies

5.     Develop renewable energy in ag

6.     Disaster preparedness

7.     Documentation: food energy use, characterizing food system impacts, what have other countries done?

8.     Planning: general development (address basic inequities) and zoning strategies

9.     Analyze food quality impacts of energy scarcity



Peak Oil and Transportation - Cindy Parker


Question for larger group: What can you do at your place of work to help peers become more aware of climate change, peak oil, etc?

            -Turn off lights in office overnight

            -Encourage bike commuting

            -Recycling promotion on the social website

            -Decrease use of disposables


            -Turning off computers at night


            -Influence local government (schmooze more)

            -Maintenance issues (stop toilets from running constantly)

            -Secure information in telecommuting

            -Incorporate energy shortages into university’s disaster preparedness plan