EPC-ESP Forum (Speaker Series)

The EPC-ESP Forum is the monthly lecture series of the Environmental Programs at JHU AAP. The Forum features policymakers, representatives of government agencies, leaders in the private sector and academics to discuss critical issues in the fields of energy and environmental science and policy.

Please contact Jenn da Rosa, Dr. Dan Zachary, or Dr. Jerry Burgess to receive notification of upcoming events.

Spring 2018 Events

  • Place: 1717 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Room: 204
  • Time: varies per event
Date/Time Guest Topic
Jan. 18, 2018
5:00 pm
Dr. Craig Hart
Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center
Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University
From Paris to Beijing: China Implementation of the Paris Agreement
A discussion of China’s policies and challenges in implementing Paris

Feb. 7, 2018
12:00 pm
Will Marshall
Progressive Policy Institute

Elusive Consensus: The New Politics of Energy


Mar. 8, 2018
5:00 pm
Dr. Sarah Jordaan
Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Global natural gas: market evolution and climate implications
The recent coal-to-gas transition in the power sector of the United States represents a compelling change to a lower carbon electricity source.  But this transition does not come without challenges, including how it might scale to the global context.  Dr. Sarah Marie Jordaan, Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment at JHU-SAIS, will present a compilation of her published and ongoing research that details the climate challenges and benefits associated with the growing global natural gas sector.  The talk will cover the evolution of markets globally and the implications for life cycle emissions from gas-fired electricity.
Apr. 4, 2018
5:00 pm
Dr. Diana Watts
Research Associate, Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
Chair, Department of Business, Trinity Washington University
Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University
Municipal Food Recovery Strategies, Doing Good or Doing Well?: A Preliminary Study of Baltimore, MD
It has been argued that policy discussions around food systems are still largely dominated by an “old” productionist set of assumptions based on increasing production (market incentives/technologies) and/ or demographics/ consumption (Lang et. al, 2012) The argument is also made that given the complexity of actors and agendas, not enough is understood empirically about food chains” in practice”. (Garonne, 2014) This session will focus on an empirical understanding of the food chain, specific to the food waste/ food recovery activities in Baltimore, MD. Municipal strategies are receiving increased attention as providing the local infrastructure (public, private, nonprofit) to capture and distribute food surplus/ waste. The intended outcome will be an in-depth examination of local food governance strategies of municipal food surplus management in practice with the focus on insight into extending productionist models or identifying emergent forms of adaptive food system recovery and recycle practices.

Fall 2017 Events

Date Guest Topic
Sep. 27, 2017 Dr. Christopher Clack
Founder and CEO of Vibrant Clean Energy, LLC
Ockham’s Revenge: The Energy Transition Is Complex
Colloquially, Ockham’s razor evokes the feeling that simpler is better and that with simplicity comes more elegant solutions. Sadly, in reality, Ockham’s razor is not all that it seems. For energy transitions, applying the razor will lead to disturbing conclusions: 100% Renewable Energy (RE) can save the planet. This is simple, and is 100%, so it must be the right answer. No?
Unfortunately, Ockham’s razor is more accurately stated as: select the theory that includes the least assumptions. One can debate what assumptions are used in models for energy transitions, but as will be shown in the presentation, 100% RE is a large assumption.
The presentation will discuss the PNAS paper “Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar”, as well as dive into ideas and modeling that shows how the US (and globe) can decarbonize by a dramatic amount, while saving resources, economic activity, and cost to consumers. It is shown that invalid assumptions, mistakes, and poor rigor diminish the value of a recent, popular 100% RE study. Time is dedicated to what modeling can be done, and how transitions can be managed.

Oct. 19, 2017 Dr. John Cookson
Former Director of the Environmental Sustainability
Major at Notre Dame of Maryland University
Three of the Most Important Environmental Sustainability Issues Facing Our Planet and the Supporting Science
At present we have two major environmental catastrophes that must be immediately dealt with. What are these two major catastrophes? Unfortunately, there is a third that is approaching, but only recognized by a few. Which of these is the most important? Most of you will be surprised by the one that I believe is the most important, and it has existed with us for the past 77 years. If we had to list these could you list them in order of importance and defend your reasons for your priority? Can you explain the science that supports why these are occurring to another individual? These questions will be answered and provided with the scientific fundamentals as to why they are occurring.
Before attending my presentation, I would like you to think about the above questions and come prepared to list what you believe are the three most important environmental catastrophes presently occurring.
Nov. 13, 2017 Dr. Véronique Bugnion
Co-Founder and CEO of ClearlyEnergy
Optimizing Climate Adaptation
For many living in coastal regions, climate change and sea level rise are becoming reality. The number of days with nuisance flooding is growing rapidly in areas of Florida and the Mid-Atlantic, low lying areas in Alaska and the Marshall Islands are facing abandonment decisions and the increased threat of damage from storm surge is a reality for all coastal areas. These changes call for long-term, least-cost risk mitigating strategies to adapt to sea-level rise and other climate changes. The ORCA model is a decision tool developed to help planners, policy makers and infrastructure owners build an understanding of climate adaptation strategies’ benefits, costs and tradeoffs. The model provides a bridge between climate science and the engineering studies required to plan the details of climate adaptation work. The presentation will illustrate optimal adaptation concepts with nuisance flooding and storm surge case studies from the city of Providence.

Spring 2017 Events

Date Guest(s) Topic
Feb. 27, 2017 Marcus Sarofim Climate Change and the Intersection of Law, Policy, and Science
Mar. 29, 2017 Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant
Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History
Conservation for the Community: Case studies of wildlife protection efforts from the Western US and East Africa

Fall 2016 Events

Fall 2016 Events

Date Guest(s) Topic
Nov. 16, 2016 Diego Herrera Garcia, PhD
Environmental Defense Fund
Protected Areas’ Deforestation Spillovers and Two Critical Underlying Mechanisms: An Empirical Exploration for the Brazilian Amazon
The creation of protected areas (PAs) has been the dominant policy in the efforts to protect forests. Yet there is still somewhat limited rigorous evidence about the impacts of PAs on rates of deforestation. Furthermore, most of the existing evidence concerns the impacts of protection within the boundaries of PAs. Yet even when impact within a PA has been estimated as rigorously as possible, because the total effect of protection involves impacts both inside and spillovers outside the PA, impact estimates could misstate total impacts. In this study we start with an examination of local deforestation spillovers from PAs. We follow this with an evaluation of two mechanisms through which PAs could affect forest nearby. In particular we explore two novel angles by considering both migration choices and road building decisions. Empirical evidence for the Brazilian Amazon shows that PA creation could shift private and public expectations to lower migration and road building where the PA is established, and reduce deforestation beyond PA boundaries.
Oct. 26, 2016 Diana Watts
Chair and Associate Professor,
Trinity Washington University, College of Arts and Sciences. Department of Business Administration
Hero or Villain: Is there a Case for Sustainable Business?
Business organizations viewed through the lens of “villain” must be held in check through regulation that constrains the operational activities of (global) value chains. This approach typically relies on mechanisms of standards, certification, audits and reporting. This presentation will address the question of “hero” or can businesses be sustainably managed within the context of ecosystem limits? Three aspects of emerging evidence will be considered: a) voluntary practices or meta-governance; b) the hybrid organization and c) B-Corps businesses. Each suggests possible alternative perspectives that may question the for-profit, neoclassical model. This discussion will provide more a “report from the field” for those interested in entrepreneurship as well as governance policies.

Spring 2016 Events

Date Guest(s) Topic
March 2, 2016 Leslie Paul Thiele, University of Florida Sustainability Conference
March 10, 2016 Amardeep Dhanju, Johns Hopkins University, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)/Avanti Offshore Energy Leasing and Development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf _

April 14, 2016 Smita Chandra Thomas Building Energy Efficiency Professional
April 28, 2016 Whitney Colella, Energy Services, Arlington VA Hydrogen, Fuel Cell, and Electrochemical Technologies for Addressing Energy Challenges

Fall 2015 Events

Date Guest(s) Topic
(Pre-recorded) Dr. Liam Phelan, Johns Hopkins University Adaptation Is Not Enough: Insurers in a Climate Changing World (Video)
September 23, 2015 Trinto Mugangu, Ambassador to the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Advisor of the GEN-Africa, and President of GEN DR-Congo A Great Green Vision for the Congo (Event Flyer)
October 10 Dr. Austin Brown, Johns Hopkins University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory The Climate Opportunities and Risks of Automated Vehicles (Event Flyer)
November 30, 2015 Craig Glazer PJM Interconnection, LLC Looking Backward to Look Forward: A Romp through Restructuring of the Electric Industry

2014-2015 ESP-EPC Faculty Speaker Series

Date Guest(s) Topic
10.10.14 Albert Manville The Impact on Birds, Bats and their Habitats from Commercial Wind and Solar Energy: Unintended Consequences
11.14.14 Thomas Peterson The Future of International Climate Change Policy: What We’ve Learned, and What to Expect
12.11.14 Eugene Stakhiv Hydrodiplomacy: a Tale of Three Rivers
3.27.15 Christa Hasenkopf Hazy Skies Around the World: The State of Air Pollution Issues, Impacts, and Mitigation Across the Globe
5.1.15 Helen Serassio Adapting Transportation Infrastructure to a Changing Climate

Other Past Events

Date Guest(s) Topic (Download Event Flyer)
10.17.2013 Lee Lane, Hudson Inst; Michael MacCracken, Climate Inst; Simon Nicholson, American Univ. Into the Great Wide Open?: Roundtable on Climate Change Geoengineering
8.7.2013 Jane Ebinger & Kanta Rigaud, Climate Policy Team, World Bank Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes & The Case for Resilience
5.23.2013 Thomas Peterson, CEO, Center for Climate Strategies Options for Economic, Energy, and Climate Security in the US (Presentation PDF)
4.29.2013 Amardeep Dhanju, U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management U.S. Offshore Energy Regulatory Framework
4.23.2013 Matthias Duwe, Ecologic Institute (Video) How to Transform Europe into a Low-Carbon Economy by 2050
4.22.2013 Lee Lane, Hudson Institute Institutional Choices for Regulating Oil & Gas Wells
3.15.2013 Donald Brown, Widener University School of Law The Role of Equity & Justice in Increasing National GHG Emissions Reduction Commitments under the UNFCCC
2.27.2013 David M. Driesen, Syracuse University School of Law Law’s Economic Dynamics & Climate Disruption
1.29.2013 Andrew Eil, U.S. Department of State A Second Front in the Climate War: Short-Lived Climate Pollutants and the New Climate & Clean Air Coalition