In Crowding Climate Danger Zones, Seeking Paths to ‘Managed Retreat


Past Event

In Crowding Climate Danger Zones, Seeking Paths to ‘Managed Retreat

December 16, 2020
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Even if the world somehow rapidly curbed emissions of heat-trapping gases, momentum in the climate system guarantees decades would pass before there would be any significant slowing of coastal immersion or moderation of extreme weather.

That means communities must work now to spread resilience and, where vulnerability is already extreme, pull back from danger zones. In this webcast, experts in relevant fields explore the goals of Columbia University's upcoming international online conference on the emerging concept of "managed retreat" and some of the latest ideas for cutting risk in flood, heat and wildfire hot spots.

Join host Andy Revkin and Earth Institute colleagues Lisa Dale, Alex De Sherbinin and Radley Horton (who are on the organizing committee for the conference).

Dale teaches in Columbia's undergraduate program in sustainable development and works on climate change adaptation, with a focus in the American West and Sub-Saharan Africa; de Sherbinin is a geographer whose research focuses on human responses to global environmental change; Horton is a Lamont Research Professor focused on projecting climate change, the intersection of extreme weather and human affairs and adaptation strategies.

You'll also meet Laura Lightbody, director of the Flood-Prepared Communities Initiative of the Pew Trusts, and Stephen M. Strader, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment at Villanova University. With Walker Ashley of Northern Illinois University, Strader has refined an "expanding bull's eye" mapping methodology clarifying sources of existing and projected risk in flood, wildfire and storm danger zones.

Learn more about the conference and how to submit abstracts (through January 15):

Explore Strader's expanding bull's eye risk maps:

Lightbody's initiative is here:

Send feedback or ideas for future sessions:

Here's more on the conference:

The 'At What Point Managed Retreat? Resilience, Relocation and Climate Justice' 2021 conference will address a range of scientific, social, policy and governance issues around managed retreat (also known as strategic realignment and planned relocation). The conference, a major initiative of Columbia University's Earth Institute, will bring together stakeholders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, together with academics, scientists, and community representatives, to help develop a common understanding of this complex issue, and move the needle toward equitable solutions. A major emphasis will be on issues of environmental justice, in recognition that the people most impacted by decisions around retreat have a key role in these conversations.

Our goals are to:

(1) advance the research agenda around managed retreat in an interdisciplinary, solutions-oriented way;

(2) facilitate networking and discussion among many types of stakeholders, and bridge the information gap between academics, practitioners, and affected communities; and

(3) develop concrete solutions and best practices around a complex climate adaptation issue.

Abstracts must be submitted by January 15, 2021.

A short video on momentum in the climate system:

Contact Information

Andy Revkin