Climate Fast Forward – Agenda |
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Climate Fast Forward – Agenda


7:00-8:00 am: Registration & Breakfast

8:00-8:30 am: Welcome from Host Community, Wisconsin Academy & Partners

8:30-9:15 am: What do we know; How do we see the world; So what?

  • Dan Vimont, UW-Madison
  • Bruce Beihoff, Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC)
  • Mic Isham, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC)

9:15-10:15 am: How Change Happens

  • Sharon Dunwoody, UW-Madison (professor emerita)
  • Tyler Huebner, RENEW Wisconsin

10:15-10:45 am Break           

10:45 am-12:15 pm: Breakout I: 5 Tracks (see descriptions below)

1. Energy Generation
•  Team leads: Gary Radloff (The Radloff Group) & Keith Reopelle (Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change)

2. Energy Use
•  Team leads: Robin Lisowski (Slipstream) & Peter Skopec (WISPIRG)

3. Resilience & Adaptation
•  Team leads: Nadia Vogt (Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District) & Matt Mitro (WI DNR)

4. Natural Carbon Sinks
•  Team leads: Fred Clark (Wisconsin’s Green Fire) & Diane Mayerfeld (UW Extension)

5. Governance
•  Curt Meine (Aldo Leopold Foundation) & Lauren Azar (Azar Law)

12:15-1:30 pm: Lunch & Networking

1:30-3:00 pm: Breakout II: 5 Tracks (see descriptions below)

  1. Energy Generation
  2. Energy Use
  3. Resilience & Adaptation
  4. Natural Carbon Sinks
  5. Governance

3:00-3:30 pm: Break

3:30-4:30 pm: Plenary Debrief

4:30-5:00 pm: Closing Remarks

  • Paul Robbins, UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

5:00-6:30 pm: Reception

*(We will be adding speaker information as they are scheduled.)


Conference Tracks

The conference will explore Wisconsin climate challenges and solutions through several lenses. Three tracks will explore ways to reduce our emissions and overall carbon footprint; one will explore needs and strategies related to adaptation and resilience, and one will look at specific needs within government structures and processes to pursue more nimble and responsive practices. Each track will be focused by a framing question and a brief analysis of the challenges and opportunities. The participants within each track will work together to develop recommended actions for Wisconsin to pursue over the next decade, and to identify three top priorities to share with the full conference in its final plenary session.


Track 1:  What are the priority actions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Wisconsin through energy generation?

Although there have been recent gains in renewable energy, Wisconsin remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels for much of its electrical generation. This track will focus on the ways Wisconsin generates energy and the best opportunities for significant CO2 emission reduction over the next decade. Likely topics for small group discussions within the track include scaling up renewable energy sources, distributed energy resources (e.g. microgrids), energy storage, the role of nuclear energy, etc.


Track 2: What are the priority actions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Wisconsin through energy use?

Efficiency is often described as the low-hanging fruit in emission reduction, but efficiency is sometimes constrained by existing design, incremental progress, lack of incentives, or complex decision-making processes. This track will focus on reducing emissions through energy efficiency, conservation, design and the built environment, and transportation. Likely topics for small group discussions within the track include identifying priorities for advances in efficiency and conservation in commercial and residential buildings, urban design and green infrastructure, and transportation systems (from vehicle emissions to the carbon impacts of highway construction and other large uses of concrete.)


Track 3: How do we rapidly gear up resilience and adaptation capacity in Wisconsin?

As our Wisconsin climate continues to change we are experiencing more negative impacts from extreme weather and overall warming. These include catastrophic flooding, crop loss, invasive pest species, human health impacts, and more. What’s the plan going forward to help us adapt and maximize our capacity to be resilient? This track will focus on the key elements of a proactive “game plan” for resilience that goes beyond survival and emergency response. Likely topics for small group discussions within this track will include planning for extreme weather, safeguarding human health, agricultural and ecological resilience, emergency prevention (as well as response), maximizing resilience for at-risk species and habitat, and design for a disrupted climate.  


Track 4: How do we optimize natural carbon sinks in Wisconsin?

Healthy soils and forests are natural carbon sinks. The forests of the northern Great Lakes region are a nationally important carbon sink, and there is also notable carbon sequestration potential in Wisconsin’s agricultural lands, prairies, and wetlands. However, forest management is fragmented across various types of ownership, and various soil types and cultivation practices can limit the carbon storage potential of soils. What steps can Wisconsin take to identify, safeguard, and incentivize these natural carbon-storing assets in the Wisconsin landscape? Likely topics for small group discussion within this track include: forestry strategies for carbon storage, monetizing/incentivizing agricultural carbon storage to support rural economies, managing prairies and wetlands for optimal carbon sequestration, identifying best practices for co-benefits (e.g., water quality and carbon storage) in agricultural land management.


Track 5: What governance systems do we need to leverage or change to advance solutions in Wisconsin?

With the increasing threats and shrinking timeline for action, where do we need to re-think government structures and systems in Wisconsin that pose barriers to responsive and nimble decision-making for clean energy, climate resilience, and environmental protection? What might new approaches look like? Likely topics for small group discussion within this track include the future of the Public Service Commission, whether Wisconsin needs an energy and climate plan, whether rule-making processes pose a barrier to progress (and if so, how can they be addressed), and what partnerships are needed between state and regional/local government to address resilience, transportation, and other climate strategies?

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Wisconsin Academy Administrative Offices and Steenbock Gallery
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608-263-1692

James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
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Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608-265-2500