Former climate change envoy to discuss defense of Paris Agreement at UM

Andrew Light

Andrew Light, former senior adviser and India counselor  to the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change and staff climate adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, will visit the University of Montana to discuss “Creating, Preserving and Defending the Paris Agreement on Climate Change” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in Gallagher Business Building Room 123. The event is free and open to the public.

In December 2015, over 190 countries convened in Paris for the 21st meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where they succeeded in creating a new and ambitious international climate agreement. Many have heralded the outcome as a groundbreaking achievement for international diplomacy and global climate action. Others have argued that the climate commitments in it are ultimately too weak to achieve the agreement’s lofty aspirations.

The Paris Agreement is now undergoing an unexpected early stress test with the announcement of the intended withdrawal of the United States.

Light’s discussion will look at what the future holds for global climate cooperation in the face of this serious challenge, including indications of how different communities are prepared to defend the agreement and continue coordinated action on this increasingly urgent problem.

Light is University Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy, and Atmospheric Sciences at George Mason University and a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C.

From 2013 to 2016 he served in the Obama administration as senior adviser and India counselor to the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, as well as staff climate adviser to Secretary of State Kerry in the Office of Policy Planning in the U.S. Department of State.

Since leaving government service, he has been a frequent commentator on U.S. and international climate policy in dozens of media outlets, including The New York Times, Politico, Vox, Axios, The Guardian, Mother Jones,  NPR, Marketplace, CNN, CBS, ABC and Fox Business. He is the author of over 100 articles and book chapters and has authored, co-authored and edited 19 books, including “Environmental Values” and the forthcoming “Ethics in the Anthropocene.”

This event is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Center’s Ethics and Public Affairs Program, the Project on American Democracy and Citizenship, and UM’s Climate Change Studies program.

The Ethics and Public Affairs Program conducts research and educational activities focusing on the relationship of values to institutions and public affairs. The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at UM promotes better understanding of Asia, U.S. relations with Asia and ethics in public affairs in the spirit of Sen. Mike Mansfield (1903-2001) and his wife and life partner, Maureen Hayes Mansfield. The center houses programs that focus on the peoples and cultures of modern Asia and ethics in public affairs – the core interests and hallmarks of Sen. Mansfield’s career.