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October 26, Washington, DC


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Transition toward Sustainability after 15 Years: Where Do We Stand in Advancing the Scientific Foundation
  Program Information  

Project Scope
Meetings and Events
Reports
Members
Sponsors


Project Scope

An ad hoc committee under the Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) Program, in collaboration with the Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate (BASC), will organize a meeting of leading scientists to discuss progress in sustainability science during the last 15 years, potential opportunities for advancing the research and use of scientific knowledge to support a transition toward sustainability, and challenges specifically related to establishing metrics/indicators and observations to support sustainability research and practice. Specific questions to be discussed will include:

  • What are the major advances in sustainability science since Our Common Journey was released in 1999, what are the remaining gaps, and what have been critical barriers to progress?
  • What progress has been made in establishing sustainability indicators, what are the remaining gaps, and what have been critical barriers to progress? 
  • What progress has been made in developing models that are appropriate for supporting decisions related to sustainability, what are the remaining gaps, and what have been critical barriers to progress? 
  • What advances in other areas of science (e.g., observing capabilities, models, technology development, indicator development, social sciences) might be usefully applied to advancing sustainability science? 
  • How can advances in other frameworks for environmental decision making (e.g., climate adaptation, resilience, early warning systems) inform advances in and be integrated with sustainability science? 
  • What new efforts might be needed to address the range of needs and opportunities related to sustainability?

The committee will plan and organize the workshop, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. A brief individually-authored workshop summary will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.



Meetings & Events

Transition toward Sustainability after 15 Years: Where Do We Stand in Advancing the Scientific Foundation?: A Workshop
January 14-15, 2016
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
Newport Beach, CA

Agenda

 

Thursday, January 14, 2015
 
9:00 AM          Welcome from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
                        Ralph J. Cicerone, National Academy of Sciences
                       
9:10 AM          Welcome, Introductions and Meeting Goals
                        David Dzombak (Chair) (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University, Committee Chair
                        Jerry Miller, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
                       
9:30 AM          Keynote Remarks – Sustainability Science: Overview of the State of the Field 
                        
Pamela Matson (NAS), Stanford University
                        What are the major advances in the field of sustainability science since the publication of Our Common Journey, as well as remaining gaps, and critical barriers to progress?
           
10:15 AM        A Brief Update on the Sustainability Roundtable 2015 Sessions on Sustainability Indicators and Metrics
                        David Dzombak (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University, Roundtable Co-chair
 
10:30 AM        BREAK
 
10:45 AM        Panel I: Sustainability and Economic and Population Growth
                        Moderator: Susan Trumbore (NAS), Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry
                        o   Sustainability Indicators and Metrics (SOT Questions 1, 2 and 6)
                             John Weyant, Stanford University
                        o   Models for Supporting Sustainability Decision Making (SOT Questions 3 and 6)
                             Joseph Arvai, University of Michigan
                        o   Informing Sustainability Science through Advances in Environmental Decision Making and Other Areas of Science (SOT Questions 4, 5, 6)
                             Wolfgang Lutz, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Demographics)
 
11:45 AM        Q&A and Discussion

12:15 PM         LUNCH
 
1:15 PM           Panel II: Urban Systems and Resource Sustainability
                         Moderator: Stephen Polasky (NAS), University of Minnesota
                         o   Sustainability Indicators and Metrics (SOT Questions 1, 2 and 6)
                               John Crittenden (NAE), Georgia Institute of Technology
                         o   Models for Supporting Sustainability Decision Making (SOT Questions 3 and 6)
                              William Solecki, Hunter College
                         o   Informing Sustainability Science through Advances in Environmental Decision Making and Other Areas of Science (SOT Questions 4, 5, 6)
                              Karen Seto, Yale University
 
2:15 PM           Q&A and Discussion
 
2:45 PM           BREAK
 
3:00 PM           Panel III: Sustainable Manufacturing         
                         Moderator: Thomas Graedel (NAE), Yale University
                         o   Sustainability Indicators and Metrics (SOT Questions 1, 2 and 6)
                              Anthony Ku, GE Global Research
                         o   Models for Supporting Sustainability Decision Making (SOT Questions 3 and 6)
                              Julie Zimmerman, Yale University (Green Chemical)
                         o   Informing Sustainability Science through Advances in Environmental Decision Making and Other Areas of Science (SOT Questions 4, 5, 6)
                             Steven Skerlos, University of Michigan (Sustainable Manufacturing in Auto Industry)
 
4:00 PM           Q&A and Discussion
 
4:30 PM           Summary Discussion; Wrap up and Plans for Next Day
                          David Dzombak (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University, Committee Chair
 
5:00 PM           Adjourn
 
6:00 PM           Reception and Working Dinner
                          Keynote Speaker: William Clark (NAS), Harvard University
 
 
 
Friday, January 15, 2016
 
9:00 AM          Welcome and Re-Cap from Previous Day
                        David Dzombak (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University, Planning Committee Chair
 
9:15 AM          Panel IV: Sustainable Food Systems and Diet
                        Moderator: Prabhu Pingali (NAS), Cornell University
                        o   Sustainability Indicators and Metrics (SOT Questions 1, 2 and 6)
                             Gerald Nelson, University of Illionis, Urbana-Champaign
                        o   Models for Supporting Sustainability Decision Making (SOT Questions 3 and 6)
                             Mark Howden, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
                        o   Sustainability Metrics: Do we Really have the Data for Meaningful Measurement? (SOT Questions 4, 5, 6)
                             Prabhu Pingali (NAS), Cornell University (Sustainability Metrics: Do we Really have the Data for Meaningful Measurement?)
 
10:15 AM        Q&A and Discussion

10:45 AM        BREAK
 
11:00 AM        Panel V:  Ocean Sustainability                      
                        Moderator: Roberta Marinelli, University of Southern California
                        o   Sustainability Indicators and Metrics (SOT Questions 1, 2 and 6)
                             Robert Costanza, Australian National University
                        o   Models for Supporting Sustainability Decision Making (SOT Questions 3 and 6)
                            
Steven Lohrenz, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
                        o   Informing Sustainability Science through Advances in Environmental Decision Making and Other Areas of Science (SOT Questions 4, 5, 6)
                             Margaret Leinen, University of California, San Diego (Biogeochemistry, Sea Level Rise, and Extent Coastal Adaptation)
 
12:00 PM         Q&A and Discussion

12:30 PM         LUNCH
 
1:15 PM           Panel VI: Integrated Analysis
                          Moderator: Kristi Ebi, University of Washington
                         o   Sustainability Indicators and Metrics (SOT Questions 1, 2 and 6)
                              Kristi Ebi, University of Washington
                         o   Models for Supporting Sustainability Decision Making (SOT Questions 3 and 6)
                              Elena Bennett, McGill University
                         o   Informing Sustainability Science through Advances in Environmental Decision Making and Other Areas of Science (SOT Questions 4, 5, 6)
                             
Thomas Dietz, Michigan State University
                              
2:15 PM           Q&A and Discussion
                         
2:45 PM           BREAK
 
 
3:00 PM           A Path Forward:  The State of Sustainability Science:  Future Needs and Opportunities (All Participants)
                         Moderator: David Dzombak (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University, Committee Chair
                         Key Discussants:
                         - William Clark (NAS), Harvard University
                         - Steven Skerlos, University of Michigan
 
4:15 PM           Summary Remarks
                          Moderator: David Dzombak (Chair) (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University

4:30 PM           Workshop Conclusion
 

Reports

Transitioning Toward Sustainability: Advancing the Scientific FoundationTransitioning Toward Sustainability: Advancing the Scientific Foundation (2016)
The past 15 years have brought significant advances in observational and predictive capabilities for a range of natural and social systems, as well as development of other tools and approaches useful for sustainability planning. A careful consideration of how these other approaches might intersect with sustainability is warranted.To further the discussion on these outstanding issues, the Academies convened a workshop on January 14–15, 2016. Participants discussed progress in sustainability science during the last 15 years, potential opportunities for advancing the research and use of scientific knowledge to support a transition toward sustainability, and challenges specifically related to establishing indicators and observations to support sustainability research and practice. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.




Members

Committee Membership Information

  • David Dzombak (Chair) (NAE)
    Hamerschlag University Professor and Head, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Joseph Arvai
    Professor and Svare Chair, Applied Decision Research, University of Calgary
  • Kristie L. Ebi
    Professor, Department of Global Health and Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington
  • Thomas Graedel (NAE)
    Clifton R. Musser Professor of Industrial Ecology, Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Director of the Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale University
  • Roberta Marinelli
    Executive Director, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Southern California
  • Prabhu Pingali (NAS)
    Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; Founding Director, Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative, Cornell University
  • Susan Trumbore (NAS)
    Director, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry

Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Staff

  • Jerry Miller, Director, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program 
  • Emi Kameyama, Program Associate
  • Yasmin Romitti, Research Assistant

Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate Staff

  • Amanda Staudt, Director, Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate
  • Alison Macalady, Associate Program Officer

Sponsors

The project is supported by the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability.