Conversations: UM Climate Migration and Retreat team

UM Climate Migration and Retreat team reflects on the pandemic

Three University of Miami faculty members who work on climate migration and retreat, Katharine Mach, Jessica Owley, and Xavier Cortada, discuss how the coronavirus pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities our society has vis-a-vis climate change in the years to come.

About Katharine Mach

Katharine Mach is an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a faculty scholar at the UM Abess Center focused on environmental science and policy.

Mach’s research assesses climate change risks and response options to address increased flooding, extreme heat, wildfire, and other hazards. Through innovative approaches to integrating evidence, she informs effective and equitable adaptations to the risks.

Mach previously was a Senior Research Scientist at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Environment Assessment Facility. Before that from 2010 until 2015, Mach co-directed the scientific activities of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This work on impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability culminated in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and its Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. The associated global scientific collaborations have supported diverse climate policies and actions, including the Paris Agreement.

Mach is a lead author for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report and the US Fourth National Climate Assessment. She serves as an associate deputy editor for Climatic Change and an advisory committee member for the Aspen Global Change Institute, the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, and Carbon180. Across all of her research projects, Mach engages in relevant policy processes, and she frequently discusses climate change risk and adaptation with the media, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and communities. Mach received her PhD from Stanford University and AB summa cum laude from Harvard College.

About Jessica Owley

Jessica Owley specializes in Environmental Law and Property Law, with a focus on Climate Change Law and Policy. She is a leading expert on private land conservation and conservation easements. Her interdisciplinary work explores ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as furthering other environmental goals in the context of drastic change. Her work is cited widely and has received multiple awards, including most recently the 2019 Morrison Prize for sustainability research. She annually participates as an observer at the annual treaty negotiations for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Professor Owley holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California—Berkeley where she also received a J.D. and MLA (Masters of Landscape Architecture). She practiced in the Land Use and Environmental Law group at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco after clerking on the Ninth Circuit and in the Central District of California. She is a member of the California bar.

Before joining Miami Law, Jessica Owley was a Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) where she directed the Environmental Law Program. Prior to Buffalo, she was an Assistant Professor at Pace Law School. She spent 2017 as a Visiting Professor at the Universidad Pontificia – Comillas (ICADE) in Madrid, Spain where she was an OECD fellow.

She is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Law, Property, and Society. She is one of the founding members and the current president of the Environmental Law Collaborative. She is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law and the World Commission of Protected Areas.

About Xavier Cortada

Click here to read the artist’s bio.