Improving Resilience: Developing Strategies and Overcoming Barriers to Proactively Adapt to Climate Change Risks
Climate change affects the critical functions of communities nationwide — disrupting the provision of health care, education, and financial services; cutting people off from electricity, natural gas, phone, and internet; and shrinking viable real estate and transportation byways. This panel discussion focuses on how industries, governments, and other private and public organizations have increased their resilience in the face of climate change, what is needed to further improve resilience, and the kinds of data and tools being developed to proactively and effectively reduce disruptions.
David K. Brannegan
Division Director, Decision and Infrastructure Sciences
Argonne National Laboratory
As director of Argonne National Laboratory’s Decision and Infrastructure Sciences Division (DIS), Dave Brannegan leads a multi-disciplinary team of experts that harnesses unique laboratory capabilities to inform decisions related to the most pressing national and global security challenges. DIS supports governmental agencies and businesses prepare for, defend against, and respond to all threats and hazards they face – including climate-induced risks. Brannegan has led major research efforts and developed tools and methodologies to support local, state, and federal sponsors in enhancing the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Key projects have included leading the developing methods to understand the dependencies and interdependencies among infrastructure systems, evaluating critical supply chains, and responding to disasters.
Brannegan was previously a branch chief at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, overseeing the design, development, and implementation of more than 20 individual technical assistance programs that enhanced state and local preparedness capabilities nationwide. Brannegan also co-founded the Fusion Process Technical Assistance program with the U.S. Department of Justice. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
Alice C. Hill
David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment
Council on Foreign Relations
Alice Hill is the David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her work at CFR focuses on the risks, consequences, and responses associated with climate change.
Hill previously served as special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council where she led the development of national policy to build resilience to catastrophic risks. Prior to this, Hill served as senior counselor to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in which she led the formulation of DHS's first-ever climate adaptation plan and the development of strategic plans regarding catastrophic biological and chemical threats, including pandemics. Earlier in her career, she was a supervising judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court and chief of the white-collar crime unit at the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, California.
Oxford University Press published her coauthored book, Building a Resilient Tomorrow, in 2019. She currently serves on the boards of the Environmental Defense Fund and Munich Re Group’s U.S.-based companies. In 2020, Yale University and the Op-Ed Project awarded her the Public Voices Fellowship on the Climate Crisis. Hill’s new book, The Fight For Climate After COVID-19, will be published in summer 2021.
Vice President and Chief Risk and Resilience Officer
New York Power Authority
Adrienne Lotto is vice president, Chief Risk and Resilience officer at the New York Power Authority (NYPA)—the nation’s largest state electric utility. Her responsibilities include leading a team of risk management professionals who administer all aspects of risk management and insurance. Lotto has more than a decade of experience specifically addressing cross-sectional issues associated with cybersecurity, public policy, risk management, law and the environment.
Lotto joined NYPA in October 2019 as director, Energy Security and Resilience Programs within Utility Operations—the business unit responsible for generation and transmission. She advanced the knowledge of risk and resilience by facilitating the launch of AllWays Resilient, a strategic communications campaign to educate employees on resilience. In addition, she worked with executive leadership to elevate resilience as a key foundational element in NYPA’s ten-year strategy VISION2030 to achieve its vision of “A thriving, resilient New York State powered by clean energy.”
During COVID-19, Lotto served as the Deputy Incident Commander in the Incident Command Structure.
Prior to NYPA, Lotto was the acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of CESER's Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration division.
Lotto received a Juris Doctor from Pace University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Albany.
Project Manager for Recovery
Office of Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
Lucia Schmit is currently serving as the Project Manager for Recovery for the Office of Seattle Mayor Durkan. In this role she coordinates among city departments to envision and implement an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In her normal job as the Emergency Planning Coordinator with the Seattle Office of Emergency Management, Lucia is responsible for facilitating inter-departmental coordination to develop City-wide emergency plans. Lucia brings diverse background in emergency management, with experience at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Most recently, Lucia worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she led the2017 revision of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and developed the climate change content for the Strategic National Risk Assessment. Prior to her time with FEMA, Lucia worked for the U.S. Forest Service, managing disaster management technical assistance programs in developing countries. Lucia is a Certified Emergency Manager by the International Association of Emergency Managers and has a master’s degree from George Washington University’s Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management.
Science in Action
Increasing Infrastructure Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Impacts
Industries grapple with the impacts of climate every day as they plan for future service delivery and growth. The telecom industry is no exception, and AT&T has used leading-edge climate models to better plan their response and growth given current climate projections. This case study details how AT&T uses regional-scale projections to anticipate and improve resilience to climate change and, in doing so, strengthens their infrastructure and operations decades into the future.
Thomas A. Wall
Program Lead, Engineering & Applied Resilience
Argonne National Laboratory
Thomas Wall is the Program Lead for Engineering & Applied Resilience in the Decision and Infrastructure Sciences Division at Argonne National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary science and engineering research center of the U.S. Department of Energy. Wall co-leads Argonne’s Climate Risk and Resilience Studies (ACR2S) effort, a collaboration among Argonne scientists, engineers, and external partners providing expertise in climate science and modeling, advanced computing, infrastructure risk and resilience analysis, and decision science to solve national climate resilience problems. He also has extensive experience in critical infrastructure analysis and protection, having led large-scale infrastructure resilience analysis projects for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and state and local governments. Wall earned an Honors B.S. in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Gavin Anderson is the lead geospatial engineer for AT&T network planning and design. He creates geospatial automation solutions to assist AT&T’s wireline and wireless teams to build the high-capacity network of the future, supporting a vast user group from network designers to construction and engineering. His work includes new fiber routing, capacity, and planning analysis for where AT&T will build fiber. His mobility-focused work includes site selection, transport, RF propagation, and workflow automation associated with new cell sites, as well as upgrades to existing sites for new technologies like 5G and CBAND.
Shannon Thomas Carroll
Director of Global Environmental Sustainability
Shannon is Director of Global Environmental Sustainability at AT&T and is responsible for implementing sustainable business strategies throughout the company. He has been with AT&T for more than 20 years and has worked as a sustainability professional for the last 10 years. In that time, he has covered a broad range of environmental issues, including climate change mitigation strategies, climate resiliency, renewable energy, greenhouse gas accounting, waste, and water.
Adaptation Across America: Local and Regional Perspectives on Climate Resilience
Regional and local officials often find themselves at the front lines of climate adaptation as they seek to meet the needs of communities facing increasing threats from climate change. In this session, three officials from across the United States will discuss the actions being taken within their regions in response to climate change, the knowledge basis used to drive these actions, and offer their perspective on the pathways needed to enhance climate resilience into the future.
Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Vice President, GEI Consultants, Inc.
Deputy Director, Infrastructure + Energy, NYC Office of Sustainability and NYC Office of Resiliency
Susanne DesRoches is the Deputy Director for Infrastructure and Energy at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Resiliency and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. She is responsible for the City’s energy policy and regulatory affairs at the local, state, and federal levels, and directs the City’s efforts to transition to 100% clean electricity by 2040. Susanne leads the City’s long-term energy planning efforts, which centers rapid decarbonization while prioritizing a just and affordable energy transition for all New Yorkers.
Susanne also directs the City’s policies and programs designed to adapt regional infrastructure systems to climate change, including electric, gas, and transportation systems. She leads the City’s efforts to ensure climate resiliency is integrated into utility and bulk power system planning, and oversees the development of the NYC Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines. Susanne leads the NYC Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, which works to identify climate risks and coordinate adaptation strategies, and is a chapter author for the fourth National Climate Assessment.
Susanne was previously the Chief of Resilience and Sustainability for the Engineering Department at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. She holds a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. Susanne is on the faculty of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and School of Professional Studies.
Chief Resilience Officer and Deputy Director, Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department, Broward County
Dr. Jennifer Jurado is responsible for the leading climate resilience and environmental planning initiatives for Broward County, FL. Areas of particular focus include urban adaptation, sustainable water resource management, shoreline protection, coastal resource conservation, and clean energy strategies. She works extensively with internal and regional stakeholders to advance county-wide resilience needs, including future conditions planning and infrastructure design standards as well as the public-private partnerships key to large-scale initiatives. Current priorities involve the application of climate information and economic risk assessments to inform a basin-level county-wide resilience plan. Dr. Jurado has been a participant in the four-county Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact since its formation in 2009. She serves on the board of directors for the American Society of Adaptation Professionals and the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Miami in Marine Biology and Fisheries.