2023 Ten Across Summit

Houston, Texas

January 10 - 12, 2023

 

THE FUTURE IS HERE

The southernmost portion of the U.S.—from Los Angeles, to Houston, to Jacksonville—offers a compelling window into what lies ahead for the nation. On the front lines of social, economic, and climate change, the Ten Across region contains the three most populous states, the most rapidly growing metro areas, the energy capital of the world, many of the largest North American ports, extremes in weather and water-related challenges, combined with great diversity and demographic change. In short, it is a living laboratory for the future of the country, one ideally situated to examine a comprehensive response to climate change and the related issues of water, energy, infrastructure, equity, democracy, and especially risk. Ten Across will convene a premier group of civic and industry leaders, subject experts and researchers, and writers and journalists creating who are exploring these issues and creating new narratives. The Summit will be an ideal opportunity to share, inspire, and forge new collaborations and partnerships in a city where the future is taking shape now.

Houston—a unique lens into the future of America.

Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation, is frequently cited as the most diverse and fastest growing in the country. Considered the “energy capital of the world,” its role in the global economy is becoming more pronounced as the growing need for energy—renewable and otherwise—continues to grow due to the impacts of rapid climate change and global conflict. In addition to its international and national profile, the city’s civic leadership is addressing issues right on its doorstep—homelessness and resiliency, for example—from which others can learn.  Like the Ten Across transect as a whole, Houston provides a unique lens into the future of America.
 

 

Agenda Highlights

Below is a summary of the 2023 Summit agenda.

The agenda is subject to change.

 

DAY 1

 

SEEING WATER CLEARLY WORKSHOP

The use of data visualization across varying scales fosters holistic water resource thinking and informed water policy discussions. This workshop will bring together researchers and public and private sector representatives looking to create/improve/expand their own water analytics and visualization tools. The half-day workshop will feature exemplary projects from the 10X transect for sharing, evaluation, comparison, improvement, and hopefully, joint efforts to create a larger water research network.

 

SUMMIT RECEPTION & OPENING: THE NECESSARY ENERGY TRANSISTION - Perspectives from the Energy Capital of the World

Bobby Tudor is acknowledged as one of the most important civic and business leaders in Houston.  With an eye toward the future, he has offered a vision which assumes a significant and necessary change for the sector which has made the city the energy capital of the world.  Given his deep experience in finance, energy, and with the Gulf region itself, Tudor is in a unique position to offer a thoughtful and informed assessment of how Houston has been benefitted immensely from its association with the oil industry, but will need to reinvent itself as that business adjusts to new economic, environmental, and global realities. In this opening night conversation, Tudor will share observations which have captured the attention and imagination of the leadership community in Houston and which have implications for the entire Ten Across geography.
 

 

DAY 2

 

SPECIAL GUEST DISCUSSION: A VIEW OF THE FUTURE FROM RICE UNIVERSITY

A conversation with President Reginald DesRoches.

 

PANEL: THINKING AT SCALE OF THE FUTURE - Redefining Infrastructure in the 21st Century

This session will address the expanded thinking and planning required to address the national challenges of water resources, energy production, and climate resilience. The President's $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offers such an opportunity, one that addresses the underinvestment in minority communities at multiple scales.

 

PANEL: THE "BIG PIPE" SOLUTION - Can We/Should We...Move Water from the East to the West?

The mega-drought in the Desert Southwest is prompting consideration of solutions that would previously been implausible or which echo the massive infrastructure projects of the early 20th century.  This session will interrogate the logic of this and comparable proposals, their feasibility, and how we need to assess our approach to problem-solving in the face of climate change.

 

PRESENTATION: AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA PRESENTS "ONE CITY'S YEAR OF CLIMATE CHAOS"

No place has endured more than Lake Charles, Louisiana. The city of 85,000 people tucked about halfway between New Orleans and Houston was hit by four federally declared disasters in just nine months. Between August 2020 and May 2021, Lake Charles saw back-to-back hurricanes, a week-long ice storm and a historic flood. Lauren Rosenthal, American Public Media reporter and podcast producer will bring this story to life along with Roishetta Sibley Ozane, founder of the Vessel Project of Louisiana.

 

PANEL: TAKING THE MEASURE OF WATER - How much do we really have?

With the drought in the West, the drying out of the Mississippi River and even the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, the reliability of this existential resource is now very much in question. The Ten Across region presents the challenges of water in their most extreme and thus requiring the rethinking of residential growth, agriculture, industry, energy production, and cities. Accordingly, it is essential to have confidence in projections for supply and demand and to prepare for a future which will be very different than the present and likely include mass migrations to locations where water supplies are secure. In this session, we will examine the role water policy, data, economics, and climate change will play in shaping the Ten Across region and the country as a whole.

 

PANEL: GETTING TO ZERO IN AMERICAN CITIES - LA and Houston as Models

In this session, we will examine two Ten Across energy transition models featuring the 2nd and 4th largest cities in the U.S.: Los Angeles’s LA100 Renewable Energy plan—an ambitious energy strategy focused on transitioning the city to 100% renewable energy by 2045—and Houston’s Climate Action Plan, focused on meeting the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.  A panel of experts will address the specifics of each proposal, what it will take to achieve them, and how they are translatable to other metros across the country.

 

PANEL: THE ENERGY TRANSISTION IN REAL TIME - An Exemplar from the Industry

Houston is frequently referenced as the “energy capital of the world.” If transition away from fossil fuels is to take place, it will implicate Houston, the industry leaders located there, off-shore rigs in the Gulf, the Permian Basin, and many sites within the Ten Across geography.  The instability of the geo-political situation, inflationary pressures, and urgent calls for change coming out of COP 27 all reconfirm that this inevitable process of reinventing the energy sector must be accelerated. Uniquely qualified experts with an intimate understanding of the present situation and the need to move toward a more sustainable future will deliver a frank assessment of the work ahead.

 

PANEL: BOILING POINT - Addressing the impact of a rapidly warming world

Extreme heat waves are becoming the new normal in the United States and across the globe with estimates of temperatures in the U.S. rising anywhere from 3-12 degrees by the end of the century. The Ten Across region is the epicenter for extreme heat in the U.S. which will impact GDP, public health, water supplies, and the functioning of our infrastructure.  The impact on communities and individuals is already profound and will continue to accelerate. Jeff Goodell is one of the most important writers in the environmental sector and will be releasing a new book on the subject of heat.  In this session, he will be joined by topic experts and chief heat officers who are on the front lines of heat mitigation and adaptation strategies in the Ten Across region.

 

DAY 3

 

SPECIAL GUEST DISCUSSION: CITIES AS LABORATORIES OF DEMOCRACY - with Mayor Turner of Houston

On the front line of the nation’s most urgent issues including homelessness, education, social mobility, and climate change—cities frequently take the lead in developing creative problem-solving solutions, with Houston as a prime example, sometimes in stark contrast to their State’s expressed policies. Cited as the most diverse city in the nation and now the fourth largest, Houston provides a unique lens into the future of the country.

 

PANEL: GETTING REAL ABOUT CLIMATE RISK - Assessment, awareness and action

One of conundrums the Ten Across region is that the population of some of its most vulnerable urban centers are increasing in the face of more frequent climate change generated disasters such as drought, fire, heat, flooding, and record weather events. This alone suggests that our capacity to assess risk is less than adequate or, at the very least, overridden by more immediate interests.  And, of course, milestone events such as Hurricane Katrina or the present fragility of the Houston Ship Channel demonstrate the challenge of turning awareness into proactive planning for the inevitable. Alice C. Hill, an expert on building resilience to catastrophic risks, will help to set the stage for a dynamic discussion about risk.  She will be joined by experts and civic leaders who are charged with articulating the issue of risk to their respective constituencies at the local, state, and national levels.

 

PANEL: SEEING THE FUTURE IN THE PRESENT - Houston as Subject

This conversation will be led by author of the story How Houston Moved 25,000 People from the Streets Into Homes of Their Own, Michael Kimmelman, the highly regarded reporter and close observer of urban conditions including environmental, social, and design topics.  He was supported by other members of the Headway team at the NYT including Lucy Tompkins and Matt Thompson who will speak to the project of assembling an authentic depiction of Houston, what they learned in the process, what has transpired since, and—building off of the subject of risk in the previous panel—what other stories they feel need to be told.

 

FIELD REPORTS: Journalists on the Frontline of a Knowable Future

Incorporating issues derived from the morning’s discussions, this concluding session will bring together the voices and observations of distinguished journalists and writers and draw upon their experiences working in the Ten Across region.  Given that they are frequently witnessing the impact of climate change in real time and its transformation of communities, landscapes, and prospects for the future.  In the process, they will speak to what is happening in the contemporary media sphere, what stories resonate with their respective audiences, and how confidence in journalism and facts are necessary to our capacity to meet the challenges before us.