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Humanities Center Lecture Series Public Lecture: Andrew Light, "The Pragmatic Achievement of the Paris Climate Agreement"

November 03, 2016
05:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Hawkins-Carlson Room, Rush Rhees Library

Last December, after twenty years of apparent incremental progress, over 190 countries meeting under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change managed to create what promises to be a lasting international climate agreement. Debates continue however over whether the greenhouse gas mitigation commitments that parties brought to the table in Paris are sufficiently robust to achieve the agreement’s ambitious aspirations. We will look at the potential climatic impact of the Paris Agreement, as well as the critical issue of how Paris succeeded in overcoming the core problem of distributive justice that made this process so difficult: which parties need to cut their emissions, how much, and on what time frame, to achieve our overall goals. To better understand the significance of the new Paris Agreement we will review the history of the UN climate negotiations, with a focus on how debates over differentiation evolved over time to create a platform for what is expected to be increased commitments to climate action moving forward.

Reception to follow in the Humanities Center, 2nd floor, Rush Rhees Library.

About the Speaker:

Andrew Light, University Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy, and Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University and Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute.  From 2013-2016, he served as Senior Adviser and India Counselor to the Special Envoy on Climate Change, and as Staff Climate Adviser in the Secretary of State's Office of Policy Planning in the U.S. Department of State. In this capacity he was on the senior strategy team for the UN climate negotiations, directed the U.S.-India bilateral climate change working group, and chaired the U.S. interagency working group on climate change for the Post-2015 UN development agenda, among other duties.  In recognition of this work he was awarded the inaugural Alain Locke Award for Public Philosophy, from the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy in March 2016, and a Superior Honor Award, from the U.S. Department of State in July 2016.  Before joining the government he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. (CAP), where he organized and developed CAP’s work on international climate and energy policy, serving as chief adviser on these issues to CAP’s founder and chairman, John Podesta. During this period he authored 11 major reports and over a hundred columns and editorials.  

Category: Lectures and Seminars