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Published on April 19, 2017

Documentary on ‘Managing Risk in a Changing Climate’ premieres

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The new WPSU documentary “Managing Risk in a Changing Climate” premiered Tuesday, April 18, at the State Theatre in downtown State College. Jenni Evans, director of the Institute for CyberScience, is one of the scientists featured in the documentary.

The event also featured a Q&A panel discussion with Penn State scientists and leading climate experts Richard Alley, Klaus Keller and Erica Smithwick, and the film’s director, Kristian Berg.

The half-hour documentary, which will begin airing nationally on PBS later this month, takes viewers to coastal Louisiana, where threats associated with climate change leave communities like New Orleans facing tough choices under deep uncertainty.

Low-lying coastal regions like Louisiana’s lower Mississippi delta are particularly vulnerable to rising global sea level caused by melting polar ice and warming oceans. Rising sea levels can lead to flooding and further deplete natural buffers like coastal wetlands that offer protection from powerful storms like Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the region in 2005.

Featuring some of the nation’s leading climate experts and a diverse array of stakeholders from the New Orleans region, the documentary investigates how decision makers can better inform choices about managing risk from rising sea levels and storms by working with researchers and community members.

The film captures the many scientific disciplines that come together to help address the economic, social, environmental, and ethical issues associated with managing risk in a changing climate.

“The implications in my mind are of national significance — world significance — so we have an opportunity and we need to do something about it,” said Michael Ellis, director of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and an expert interviewed in the film.

The film was produced by WPSU under the guidance and support of the Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM), a research network centered at Penn State that links a transdisciplinary team of scholars at 19 universities and five research institutes around the world.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, SCRiM seeks to identify sustainable, scientifically sound, technologically feasible, economically efficient and ethically defensible strategies for managing the risks associated with climate change.

A trailer for the film can be found at http://wpsu.org/changingclimate/.

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