2013 Program

Business leaders and environmental managers charged with delivering products and services understand weather and climate conditions as both a risk and an opportunity.  While weather conditions affect day-to-day operations and decisions, these conditions also affect the planning and design of longer-term strategy, operations and other value-chain functions.  In a highly competitive economic climate, leaders must incorporate climate trends shaping and impacting the industry today and for the future.

Much is known about the Earth’s climate system and its impacts on existing operations, environment and sustainability efforts.  To maintain competiveness, both emerging and established enterprises are perpetually optimizing business practices in a changing climate environment.  This requires routine understanding and evaluation of weather and climate risks particularly in light of scarce natural resources and observed secular trends in the climate system.

Designed for executives responsible for energy generation, energy delivery, and customer service at every stage, from extraction, exploration to delivery, this forum examines the weather and climate-based trends that are critical for overall risk evaluation and management.


Learning from industry peers, interacting with renowned scientific and business faculty, NOAA and its partners hope to develop and strengthen a network of researchers and practitioners that will collaborate, exchange knowledge and experience, and identify opportunities as well as risks posed by the implications of weather and climate change on our society.

Participants will:

  • Discuss the integration of weather and climate data in the broader company risk portfolio and assess exposures across the various value chain functions
  • Identify innovative opportunities in the business value chain functions through incorporating weather and climate data
  • Share practical experiences in using weather and climate data for improved strategy, operations, and management

Become part of a more well-informed business community and a climate-resilient society through the application of the latest weather and climate data and information.


Through a combination of interactive discussions, case studies, lectures, and scenario-planning activities, participants will become familiar with climate science, available weather and climate data and information, weather and climate risk implications, available tools in the market, the broader climate market and the current state of the regulatory and policy framework.  Participants will learn to use weather and climate information for business and environmental strategy development, operational risk assessment, and identify competitive advantage opportunities using climate data and information.

The Forum curriculum focuses on the following broad themes and topic areas:

Climate and Earth System Science

  • The basics of the Earth system and climate science
  • Climate adaptation vis-a-vis climate mitigation
  • Overview on climate models and predictions
  • Current U.S. climatic trends based on data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and the National Climate Assessment report
  • Current trends, opportunities, and limitations of climate projections

Climate Data and Connection to Business Operations

  • Weather and climate information resources
  • Relevant weather and climate information and its connection to specific industry operations
  • Impacts of changing climatic conditions to business operations, including extreme events
  • The need and availability of tools in the marketplace to address impacts

Climate Risk Management and Decision-Making Given Uncertainty

  • Consequences of uncertain or unexpected climate and weather events
  • Weather and climate risk events that can derail strategic objectives, recognizing its role in an inter-connected complex system
  • Prioritization of climatic risks and risk assessment options

Climate Decision Support

  • Options available today to support business decisions and action
  • Climate adaptation decision-making processes
  • The need for climate-related decision support strategies and tools
  • Case studies of observational datasets and tools, including GIS
  • Methods and practical approaches to communication of weather and climate information

Climate Markets and Regulations

  • The current climate market, with a profile of emerging opportunities, growth trends and leading players, market size, investments and activities, etc.
  • Recent developments and trends within national regulatory environments, and options to conduct effective strategic planning in the context of international regulatory framing
  • The role of national and regional market structures across various sectors
  • Climate aspects of existing legislation (e.g. building codes)
  • Impacts of UK’s Climate Change Act of 2008 to the market


This Forum is aimed for energy industry leaders, executives and senior decision makers who are responsible for the generation, exploration, transmission and distribution, management, and overall energy delivery. It also is appropriate for risk officers, sustainability directors and executives, as well as those in the areas of strategic planning, integrated resource planning, innovation and research.  The Forum also is relevant for technology and service solution providers, forecasters modelers, and executives working in the renewable and alternative energy portfolio.

The common goal is to establish a networking forum of demonstrated leadership and the next generation of leaders that can inspire others to incorporate climate information and adaptation mechanisms into their decisions.


victor-flatt VICTOR B. FLATT is the Tom & Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law, and the Director of the Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation, and Resources (CLEAR). He also has an appointment as a Distinguished Scholar in Carbon Markets and Carbon Trading at the Global Energy Management Institute at the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business, and is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. Flatt teaches courses in environmental law, natural resources, interagency environmental cooperation, international environmental law, climate change, and the practice of carbon trading. In the summer, he regularly co-teaches the Alaska Natives and Environmental Law course in Anchorage, Alaska, which focuses on the intersection of Alaska Native Law, Resource Extraction Law, the Endangered Species Act, and Environmental Law.

His scholarship has focused on the administration and enforcement of environmental and resource statutes, particularly the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and NEPA. Recently, he has focused on the legislative and regulatory mechanisms needed to address climate change in the United States. He has published articles in many notable journals, including the Notre Dame Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, Washington Law Review, and Ecology Law Quarterly.  He received his B.A. in Chemistry and Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University, where he was a Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Scholar. He received his J.D., cum laude and Order of the Coif, from Northwestern University School of Law, where he was a John Henry Wigmore Scholar.

andy-hoffman ANDREW HOFFMAN is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, a position that holds joint appointments at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources & Environment. Within this role, Dr. Hoffman serves as director of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Dr. Hoffman's research uses a sociological perspective to understand the cultural and institutional aspects of environmental issues for organizations. In particular, he focuses on the processes by which environmental issues both emerge and evolve as social, political, and managerial issues. He has written extensively about the evolving nature of field level pressures related to environmental issues; the corporate responses that have emerged as a result of those pressures, particularly around the issue of climate change; the interconnected networks among non-governmental organizations and corporations and how those networks influence change processes within cultural and institutional systems; the social and psychological barriers to these change processes; and the underlying cultural values that are engaged when these barriers are overcome. Also, Dr. Hoffman was a member of the Panel on Addressing Climate Change through the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Dr. Hoffman has a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a S.M. in civil & environmental engineering, and a Ph.D. in management and civil & environmental engineering (joint degree) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

kenneth-kunkel KENNETH KUNKEL is Senior Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites-NC, the Science Lead for the National Climate Assessments, and the Research Professor in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at NC State University. Dr. Kunkel’s recent research has focused on climate variability and change, particularly related to extreme events, such as heavy precipitation, heat waves, cold waves, and winter storms. A particular focus has been the historical variations in the frequency and intensity of such extreme events extending from the late 19th Century to the present. An examination of late 19th and early 20th Century variations is important because it establishes the quasi-natural background which provides a context for interpreting recent variations and possible anthropogenic influences. He has also engaged in the diagnostic analysis of both regional and global climate model output. This has focused on the regional fidelity of model simulations of the climate of the U.S., including such features as the North American monsoon and the lack of 20th Century warming in the central U.S.

As part of his involvement in the National Climate Assessment, he led the development of a nine-part NOAA Technical Report series published in 2013, to support the development of the Third National Climate Assessment report. This series provides regionally-specific information on historical climate trends and scenarios of future climate change.

john-macomber JOHN MACOMBER is a Senior Lecturer in the Finance unit at Harvard Business School. His professional background includes leadership of real estate, construction, construction services, and information technology businesses. At HBS, Mr. Macomber is engaged in the Business and Environment Initiative and Social Enterprise Initiative. He teaches Finance, Real Estate, Urbanization, and Entrepreneurship courses in the elective curriculum and in Executive Education. He is the former Chairman and CEO of the George B H Macomber Company, a large regional general contractor; and remains a principal in several real estate partnerships.  John serves or has served on the boards of Young Presidents Organization International (YPO), Boston Private Bank, Mount Auburn Hospital, and Vela Systems.