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This two-day conference will be jointly co-sponsored by the Macro Finance Research (MFR) Program at the University of Chicago and the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis (BHC). This workshop aims to explore uncertainty, including climate nonlinearity and tipping points. Moreover, we hope to explore how to incentivize both private and public sectors to develop and deploy financial tools and mechanisms while accounting for the uncertainties. We are planning on hosting targeted sessions, followed by discussions on the following topics:

  • What are the uncertainties, and why might they matter?
  • What are the prospects for nature-based solutions?
  • How do we best restructure incentives?
  • What are the prospects for low carbon technologies in the future, and how uncertain are their successes?


Thursday, May 2, 2024
9:00 am - 10:00 am
Registration / Tea & Coffee
10:00 am - 10:10 am
Ian Walmsley – Provost, Imperial College London - Welcome and Introduction
10:10 am - 10:20 am
Imperial College Business School-BHC/Macro Finance Research Program – Welcome
10:20 am - 10:50 am
Opening Keynote

Andrew Steer, President & CEO, Bezos Earth Fund

10:50 am - 11:10 am
11:10 am - 11:50 am
Session 1: What are major sources of geoscientific uncertainties and why are they relevant?

Session Chair: Valerio Lucarini (University of Reading)

1. Victor Brovkin (Max Planck) – What are limits of adaptation of ecological systems and potential nonlinear responses to climate change?  – 20 min

2. Michael Ghil (ENS Paris/UCLA/Imperial) – What are the main sources of uncertainty and potential nonlinear responses of the climate system to anthropogenic forcing? – 20 min

11:50 am - 12:20 pm
Open Discussion and Q&A
12:20 pm - 1:50 pm
1:50 pm - 2:30 pm
Session 2: How can major sources of uncertainties be accounted for during prudent climate change policy design?

Session Chair: Harjoat Bhamra (Imperial)

1. Franziska Piontek (PIK) – How can economic impact and integrated assessment models account for the full scope of complex climate risks? – 20 min

2. Lars Peter Hansen (University of Chicago) – How can a decision-theoretical framework allow economists to tackle the challenge of uncertainties? – 20 min

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Open Discussion and Q&A
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Coffee & Tea Break
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Session 3: How can different policy approaches contribute to decarbonizing the economy and how uncertain are their consequences?

Session Chair: Colin Prentice (Imperial)

1. Nathalie Seddon (Oxford) – Harnessing the potential of nature-based solutions to address climate change – 20 min

2. Jose Scheinkman (Columbia) – How can policy be best designed to curb deforestation? – 20 min

3. David Keith (UChicago) – How promising are carbon removal and solar geoengineering as ways to address climate change? – 20 min

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Open Discussion and Q&A
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Conference Reception
7:30 pm
Conference Dinner
Friday, May 3, 2024
8:30 am - 9:50 am
Registration / Tea & Coffee
9:50 am - 10:50 am
Session 4: What are the prospects of different renewable energy technologies to be deployed at scale and how certain are we about their viability?

Session Chair: Roisin Quinn (UK National Grid)

1. Mark O’Malley (Imperial) – How uncertain is the rebuilding of the global power systems enabling us to install renewable energy at scale? – 20 min

2. Steven Cowley (Princeton) – What is the state of fusion energy, and what are the prospects of it becoming a viable renewable energy source? – 20 min

3. Mirabelle Muuls (Imperial) – What are the market and non-market bottlenecks that should be addressed for different carbon removal and low-carbon technologies? – 20 min

10:50 am - 11:20 am
Open Discussion and Q&A
11:20 am - 11:50 am
Coffee & Tea Break
11:50 am - 12:30 pm
Session 5: What are the current pitfalls of carbon accounting standards and how could these be addressed?

Session Chair: Michel Madelain (IFRS Foundation)

1. Robert Kaplan (Harvard) – How could scope 3 (indirect) emissions reporting be replaced with E-liabilities? – 20 min

2. Stefan Reichelstein (Stanford/Mannheim) – Can financial accounting serve as a template for effective corporate carbon accounting? – 20 min

12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
Open Discussion and Q&A
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Session 6: What are the best ways to restructure incentives to have an important impact on the investment in renewable energy generation?

Session Chair: Sam Asher (Imperial)

1. Franklin Allen (Imperial) – Why and how could contingent debt be designed to address the inability to set a global carbon tax? – 20 min

2. Robert Litterman (Kepos Capital) – How could private finance mechanisms contribute to realign incentives? – 20 min

3. Patrick Bolton (Imperial) – How could carbon markets and pricing be actioned? What are their limitations? – 20 min

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Open Discussion and Q&A
4:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Day 2 – Event Closing

Session Chair: Marcin Kacperczyk (Imperial)

Marc Sadler (World Bank) – How could multi-lateral financial institutions and investors account for the different uncertainties that were presented, and how could they contribute to integrating new approaches to decarbonize the world’s economy at scale and equitably? – 30 min

4:30 pm - 4:40 pm
Open Discussion and Q&A
4:40 pm - 4:50 pm
Closing Remarks by MFR and BHC Leaders

1. Lars Peter Hansen (University of Chicago)

2. Franklin Allen (Imperial)

4:50 pm
Conference Adjourns