Climate Risk and Resilience Lab

Climate change is creating significant risks for households, communities, business firms and financial markets.  The Climate Risk and Resilience Lab supports cutting edge research and brings together stakeholders from academia, government, communities, and industry to explore public and private sector approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change, improving the quality of information disclosure on climate risk, and managing the transition to a low carbon economy.

Climate Risk Solutions

Last summer, researchers from across the university posed 30 Climate Risk Solutions. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a looming climate crisis, we invited Penn students to submit their own climate risk solutions. Read them here and keep an eye out as we add more!

Risk Transfer for Climate Adaptation

Ongoing projects are investing how innovations in risk transfer can help promote climate adaptation in communities throughout the US, particularly in a coastal context.

Adaptation Blueprint

Novel policy approaches, creative new regulatory tools, and visionary planning ideas, which can anticipate future risks and help communities better adapt to a changing climate.

Central Banking and Climate Change

Ongoing work is exploring the role that central banks can and should play with respect to climate change and the extent to which it is a systemic risk within the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States’ scope and mandate.

Kousky, C. and H. Wiley (2020).  The Role of Insurance in Coastal Adaptation: Workshop Findings.  Philadelphia: Wharton Risk Center, University of Pennsylvania. March.

Perino, G., R.A. Ritz, and A. van Benthem (2019). Understanding Overlapping Policies: Internal Carbon Leakage and the Punctured Waterbed.  National Bureau of Economic Research.

Kousky, C. and S. Light (2019). Insuring Nature. Duke Law Journal, 69.

Kousky, C. (2019). “Time for a New Apollo Project: A Climate-Friendly Economy.” The Hill. July 27.

Walls, M., M. Wibbenmeyer, and C. Kousky (2019). “Does the Coastal Barrier Resources Act Provide a Policy Template to Address Wildfire Risk?Resources. March 20.

Kousky, C., K. Greig, and B. Lingle (2019). Financing Third Party Wildfire Damages: Options for California’s Electric Utilities. Philadelphia: Wharton Risk Center, University of Pennsylvania. January.

Hagenlocher, M., Schneiderbauer, S., Sebesvari, Z., Bertram, M., Renner, K., Renaud, F.G., Wiley, H. & Zebisch, M. (2018). Climate Risk Assessment for Ecosystem-based Adaptation: A guidebook for planners and practitioners. Bonn: GIZ.

Epanchin-Niell, R., C. Kousky, A. Thompson, and M. Walls (2016). “Threatened Protection: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Protected Lands of the Eastern United States.” Ocean and Coastal Management. 137(March 1):118-130.

For a full list of publications, see our main publications page:

Below is a selection of past research projects.

Flood Resilience Research – Collaboration with Zurich Insurance

The Risk Center joined with Zurich and partners to develop key initiatives focused on broadening the scope of flood resilience research, in order to advance global understanding of flood impact, risk reduction, financial protection, and community resilience.

South Florida Water, Sustainability and Climate

A 5-year project was initiated in 2013 to develop criteria for evaluating current and future water use and provide new insights into the value of water resources in the region and the trade-offs for decision-makers under various climate change scenarios.

Integrated Risk and Uncertainty Assessment of Climate Change Response Policies

Howard Kunreuther was one of two Coordinating Lead Authors for the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chapter “Integrated Risk and Uncertainty Assessment of Climate Change Response Policies” for the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC.

Protecting the Ozone

The World Bank funded the Risk Center to develop decision criteria for disseminating project funds to reduce ozone-depleting substances (ODS) production, and to develop efficiency criteria and incentive structures to assist implementation of these projects.

New Report

Upcoming Climate Events

Check here for upcoming climate risk and resilience-related events taking place at the University of Pennsylvania and around Philadelphia.

Contributing Wharton Scholars:

Sarah E. Light, Associate Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics, is the faculty member responsible for leading the Climate Risk & Resilience Lab.


Sarah E. Light

Associate Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics

Research Areas: Climate Law & Policy; Environmental Law & Policy; Private Environmental Governance

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Witold Henisz

Deloitte & Touche Professor of Management

Research Areas: Climate Risk Disclosure; Materiality & Management of ESG Factors

Ben Keys

Benjamin Keys

Rowan Family Foundation Associate Professor of Real Estate

Research Areas: Property Markets; Housing Markets; Mortgage Markets


Steven Kimbrough

Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions

Research Areas: Risk & Uncertainty; Deep Decarbonation Pathways; Market Design

Carolyn Kousky

Carolyn Kousky

Executive Director, Wharton Risk Management Center

Research Areas: Disaster Insurance; Natural Disaster Policy; Climate Adaptation


Penny Liao

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Wharton Risk Management Center

Research Areas: Natural Disaster Impacts & Policy; Environmental Policy

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Eric W. Orts

Guardsmark Professor of Legal Studies; Management

Research Areas: Environmental Law and Policy; Environmental Management & Governance

Arthur van Benthem

Arthur van Benthem

Associate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy

Research Areas: Energy Policy; Environmental Policy; Transportation Policy


For more information on the Climate Risk and Resilience Lab, contact Carolyn Kousky, Executive Director, at