COP28 DC Climate Hub- December 7, 2023

12:00 pm

December 7, 2023

On Thursday, December 7th, CECE, The School of International Service, and We Don’t Have Time cohosted the COP28 DC Climate Hub. Policymakers, climate activists, journalists, and academic experts came together to discuss what is needed to ensure a just and equitable climate transition. This multi-panel event included: Ambassadors Up-Close: COP28 Reflections, The Power of Storytelling, Climate Litigation, Research Spotlight on Climate Activism, Climate Activism, Climate Optimism, A Career in Climate?, Research Spotlight on Food Waste, Economic Efforts to Tackling the Climate, Research Spotlight on Climate Narratives and Media, Media – Fighting or Fueling the Climate, and A Just Energy Transition.

Shannon Hader, School of International Service, opened the event by discussing the importance of education and training for a just climate transition. Tom Snitch, We Don’t Have Time, followed Hader’s remarks by noting that if what we are doing isn’t working then we need to rethink our solutions.

The opening remarks were followed by the first panel, Ambassadors Up-Close: COP28 Reflections. Moderated by Anne Therese Gennari, The Climate Optimist, this panel saw Ambassador Wendall K. Jones of The Bahamas and Ambassador Tanee Sangrat of Thailand discussing the impacts of climate change on their countries.

Following the Ambassadors Up-Close panel came The Power of Storytelling. Brittany Bell Surrat, Hip-Hop Caucus, and Brook Betts, Rare, discussed the pivotal role storytelling plays in amplifying awareness, cultivating empathy, and driving positive environmental action. Anne Therese Gennari moderated.

Next came Climate Litigation where Steven Donziger, Donziger and Associates, and Bill Snape, Washington College of Law, explored the legal frontiers of climate change and shared insights on groundbreaking cases, the evolving role of the judiciary in addressing environmental challenges, and the intersection of law and activism. Jillian Mayer, Washington College of Law, moderated.

Then came CECE Director Dana R. Fisher’s Research Spotlight on Climate Activism. Dana R. Fisher spoke about the role that climate activism is playing and will continue to play in the struggle to achieve sufficient climate action. Her comments will build on the findings from her new book, Saving Ourselves: from Climate Shocks to Climate Action (Columbia University Press, 2024).

Immediately following her research spotlight, Dana moderated the Climate Activism panel where she was joined by John Paul Meija, Sunrise Movement AU; Michael Greenberg, Climate Defiance; and Lisa Finn, Third Act Virginia. These climate activists shared how they mobilize supporters and what tactics they choose to employ to encourage climate action.

Next, Anne Therese Gennari spoke about Climate Optimism.

Following the talk on Climate Optimism, Shannon Hader moderated a panel on A Career in Climate where she was joined by AU Kogod School of Business professor Julie Anderson and AU Alums Tyler Steinhardt and Brianna Weck. This panel featured a discussion about the growing diversity of careers in climate.

Matt Hartings, AU College of Arts and Sciences, gave a Research Spotlight on Food Waste. Hartings talked about the multidisciplinary efforts of the NSF sponsored RECIPES Network in building sustainable solutions to the issue of wasted food.

Next up was the Economic Efforts to Tackling the Climate Crisis panel. Moderated by Anne Therese Gennari, this panel featured Pushpam Kumar, UN Environment Programme; Jetta Wong, GSA; and Gaya Herrington, Schneider Electric exploring the intersection of economics and sustainability and the potential for harnessing economic forces to help us tackle the climate crisis.

Ros Donald, AU School of Communication, then gave a Research Spotlight on Climate Narratives and Media where she talked about the ways in which media depictions of climate change can challenge or reinforce climate inaction and inequality. Drawing on her research, she explored how emphasizing diverse climate narratives and centering the local can foster the creation of more engaging, just, and effective climate media.

Following this, Dana Fisher moderated the panel: Media – Fighting or Fueling the Climate Crisis? Dana was joined by Rebeccah Leber, Climate Journalist, and Emily Atkin, HEATED, as they discussed media’s power to both spur and hinder climate progress and the impact of media in forming public opinion and influencing climate action.

‍After the Media panel came A Just Energy Transition. This panel included Ebony Twilley Martin, Greenpeace USA; Phil Kangas, US Department of Energy; and Ryan Norman, Third Way and was moderated by Anne Therese Gennari. The panelists delved into the critical intersection of energy transition and social equity. They then explored how to foster a transition to sustainable energy that not only combats climate change but also upholds principles of justice, inclusivity, and fairness.

To conclude the event, Vicki Wilkins, AU, gave her reflections on the COP28 DC Climate Hub.

You can find more information on all of the panelists and watch the full event here.