Climate Change and Communities

A Webinar Series Hosted by the Center for Environmental Policy, American University

Climate Change and Communities Lessons from Some of the World’s Most Vulnerable

Communities across the globe face new challenges in coping with the effects of climate change. How can governments and international agencies encourage adaptation and build resiliency in the world’s most vulnerable places? What “qualifies” in development programs as adaptation, and how can we measure progress? This webinar policy series examines the experiences of communities and lessons learned – from Bangladesh to the US coasts.

Upcoming Webinars

Adaptation and Development
The Worldwide Search for Policies to Address Climate Change in Vulnerable Communities

February 3, 2021 | 1:00 pm EST

How can we get the international community, national and sub-national interests to accord adaptation a higher priority to the concept and its implementation? What does it mean for a nation to be “adapted” or resilient? Why has there been resistance to implementing a more effective set of adaptation policies internationally and within nations? How can we motivate the mainstreaming of adaptation into government and private sector projects and programs?

Todd A. Eisenstadt, Professor of Government and Director of Research, Center for Environmental Policy (CEP) at American University
Tamara Coger, Senior Associate, Climate Resilience. World Resources Institute
Assem Prakash, Walker Family Professor for the College of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Center for Environmental Politics at the University of Washington
Kanta Kumari Rigaud, Lead Environmental Specialist and Regional Climate Change Coordinator in the Africa Region, World Bank

Todd A. Eisenstadt is Professor of Government at American University and Director of Research at the Center for Environmental Policy (CEP). He studies the politics of climate adaptation and has co-authored Climate Change, Science, and the Politics of Shared Sacrifice (Oxford University Press 2021 forthcoming), and Who Speaks for Nature? Indigenous Movements, Public Opinion, and the Petro-State in Ecuador (Oxford University Press, 2019), based on a National Science Foundation-sponsored national survey in Ecuador. He has consulted for private sector organizations and the US government on related issues and spent 2019-20 on a Council on Foreign Relations Fellowship for Tenured Professors of International Affairs at the World Bank’s Development Research Group.

Tamara Coger is a Senior Associate in the World Resource Institute (WRI)’s Climate Resilience Practice. She helps to lead the Institute’s work on locally led adaptation and other research and programs focused on adaptation and resilience. Working with Global Commission on Adaptation, which recently released a comprehensive set of policy recommendations, Ms. Coger has supported the development and execution of its global agenda and political strategy. She previously served as the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning advisor for WRI and has managed international development programs focused on climate, agriculture and food security.

Aseem Prakash is Professor of Political Science, the Walker Family Professor for the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Politics. Aseem Prakash is Professor of Political Science, the Walker Family Professor for the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Politics. He is the founding Editor Cambridge University Press Series in Business and Public Policy as well as the recently launched Cambridge University Press Elements in Organizational Response to Climate Change: Governments, Businesses, and Nonprofits. His recent awards include the American Political Science Association's 2020 Elinor Ostrom Career Achievement Award in recognition of "lifetime contribution to the study of science, technology, and environmental politics," the International Studies Association's 2019 Distinguished International Political Economy Scholar Award that recognizes "outstanding senior scholars whose influence and path-breaking intellectual work will continue to impact the field for years to come," and the European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on Regulatory Governance's 2018 Regulatory Studies Development Award that recognizes a senior scholar who has made notable "contributions to the field of regulatory governance.

Kanta Kumari Rigaud is a Lead Environmental Specialist and Regional Climate Change Coordinator in the Africa Region of the World Bank Group. She is a leading expert on climate adaptation and resilience and works on climate policy, strategy and knowledge management. She led a multidisciplinary team on the Bank's pioneering flagship report on Groundswell - Preparing for Internal Climate Migration and continues to lead work on deeper dives on climate migration in West and East Africa. Most recently, she led the development of the World Bank’s Next Generation Africa Climate Business Plan which sets out a blueprint for ramping up climate action in the region. Dr. Kumari Rigaud serves as co-chair of the Technical Working Group on Environmental Change and Migration of KNOMAD - the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development.

Past Webinars

Populism, Democracy, and Climate

Adaptation in Politically Sensitive Environments

December 2, 2020 | 6:00 pm EST
Watch Recording

How does climate action take place in politically sensitive environments, where politics, international relations, and environmental political theory have to be considered? How can sustainable change and or adaption get enacted that meets the needs of all stakeholders? Join Cristina Yumie Aoki Inoue of the University of Brasilia (Brazil), Robyn Eckersley of the University of Melbourne (Australia), and Daniel J. Fiorino of the School of Public Affairs at American University, for a discussion moderated by Todd Eisenstadt School of Public Affairs at American University, that focuses on the politics of climate change.

Robyn Eckersley, University of Melbourne
Cristina Inoue, University of Brasilia
Dan Fiorino, American University, Center for Environmental Policy
Moderated by Todd Eisenstadt, American University, Center for Environmental Policy

Robyn Eckersley is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in Political Science in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. She has published widely in the fields of global environmental politics, international relations, and environmental political theory, with a special focus on the politics of climate change. Her books include: The Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty (2004); Political Theory and the Ecological Challenge (co-editor, 2006); Special Responsibilities: Global Problems and American Power (co-author, 2012); and Globalization and the Environment (co-author, 2013)

Cristina Yumie Aoki Inoue is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Brasília, where she is investigating socio-biodiversity value chains and bioeconomy in the Brazilian Amazon through a global sustainability governance lens. She is a member of the Active Learning in International Affairs Section of the International Studies Association and of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Earth System Governance research network.

Daniel J. Fiorino is the founding Director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Distinguished Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He is the author or co-author of seven books including, most recently, A Good Life on a Finite Earth: The Political Economy of Green Growth (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Can Democracy Handle Climate Change? (Polity Books, 2018). Before founding the CEP, he served for several decades at the US Government’s Environmental Protection Agency, including service as the Associate Director of the Office of Policy Analysis, Director of the Waste and Chemicals Policy Division, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Administrator for Policy, and Director of the National Environmental Performance Track.

Todd Eisenstadt, a 2019-20 Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow researching climate adaptation at The World Bank, is co-author of the forthcoming book Climate Change, Science, and the Politics of Shared Sacrifice (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Building Back Better, but in a Small and Hurricane-Damaged Economy
Dominica’s Quest to be the World’s First Resilient Nation

November 18, 2020 | 1:00pm EST
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What are the unique challenges of a small island nation seeking to become the world’s most resilient nation? How can small island nations in the Caribbean and elsewhere address climate adaptation? As many depict these nations as emblematic of the most vulnerable of all, how have the AOSIS United Nations bargaining group and individual island nations harnessed international attention?

Francine Baron, Acting Director, Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD)and former cabinet member in the Government of Dominica
Emily Wilkinson, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Senior Research Fellow, Global Risks and Resilience and Chief Scientific Adviser, Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD)
Stacy-Ann Robinson, Environmental Studies, Colby College and former Representative of Jamaica in the United Nations General Assembly
Moderated by Dalia Abbas, Department of Environmental Science, American University

Francine Baron is interim director of the Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD) where her work consists of supporting the implementation of Dominica’s Climate Resilient Recovery Plan, the achievement of resilience targets, and delivery of major capital projects. She has also served as Dominica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, served as the diplomat charged with representing Dominica in Great Britain, and as Prior to taking up the role of Interim CEO at CREAD, Ms. Baron held the position of Principal Advisor to the Government of Dominica. From December 2014 to December 2019 she was the Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of Dominica. Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Dominica from 2007 to 2010.

Emily Wilkinson is a Senior Research Fellow in the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Global Risks and Resilience program. She is Chief Scientific Adviser to the Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD), that country’s agency to promote climate resilience, and is co-director of the Caribbean Resilience and Recovery Knowledge Network (CRRKN). Her research focuses on disaster and climate risk governance and decision-making. For over 20 years, Emily has worked with governments, non-government organizations and scientific agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Africa, South Asia and the Pacific to identify critical entry points and opportunities for overcoming hazardous geographies and managing risk in line with development priorities.

Stacy-Ann Robinson is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Colby College. Her scholarship investigates the human, social and policy dimensions of climate change adaptation in small island developing states, with a special focus on adaptation finance. She is a contributing author to Chapter 15 (Small Islands) of Working Group II’s contribution to the forthcoming Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She also has over ten years’ experience in the government, non-profit and private sectors, including time spent representing the Government of Jamaica in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the United Nations General Assembly and the International Seabed Authority.

Dalia Abbas is a natural resources scientist and Senior Professorial Lecturer at American University’s Environmental Science Department. She works in forest operations and management, natural resource economics and carbon emissions. She serves as a technical expert in monitoring and evaluating logistics and wood supply and value chains.

Promoting Government Awareness and Transparency in the Fight Against Flooding in Bangladesh

November 4, 2020 | 9:00am EST
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How can people be given a greater awareness of who is responsible for offering climate adaptation projects? How might these be distinguished from disaster management? How can government accountability be developed?

Sk. Tawfique Haque, Director, South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG), North-South University
Sharaban Tahura Zaman, Departments of Law and Environmental Science & Management, North-South University
Teresa Kramarz, Associate Professor and Co-Director, Environmental Governance Lab, University of Toronto
Moderator: David Simpson, Global Environmental Politics, School of International Service (SIS), American University

Sk. Tawfique M. Haque chairs the Department of Political Science and Sociology of North South University (NSU), Bangladesh and director of the South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG). He has taught in Norway, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal and published extensively (including three books and dozens of book chapters and articles) in the fields of administrative culture, models of governance, climate change, NGO accountability, local civil society, globalization and geopolitics. He has directed several national surveys in Bangladesh and South Asia, including one on climate change vulnerability in 2019.

Sharaban Tahura Zaman, is an environmental lawyer and academic based in Bangladesh, working to promote environmental and climate justice. Currently, she is serving as a full-time environmental law lecturer of the Department of Law and Department of Environmental Science & Management at the North South University and as a senior research fellow with the Centre for Climate justice- Bangladesh (CCJ-B). Ms. Zaman is also a Chevening Scholar and Bangladesh government delegate to the UN climate negotiations on issues of ‘compliance’ and ‘mitigation’. Currently, she is serving as a legal advisor of the LDCs Group member of the “Paris Agreement Compliance Committee.”

Teresa Kramarz is Associate Professor in the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and a Senior Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance research alliance, and Co-Director of the Accountability in Global Environmental Task Force. Her two recent books published by MIT Press are “Global Environmental Governance and The Accountability Trap,” co-edited with Susan Park, and “Forgotten Values: The World Bank and Environmental Partnerships.” In addition to her scholarship she has extensive experience working on environmental governance and policy issues (including climate) with international agencies including the World Bank and United Nations Development Programme.

R. David Simpson is a Senior Professorial Lecturer in American University’s School of International Studies and directs its programs in International Development, International Economic Relations, and Global Environmental Policy. He has published widely on the economics of the environment and conservation.

Conceptualizing and Measuring Adaptation
Why can’t we agree on what adaptation is and how to measure it?

October 7, 2020 | 1:00PM EST
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Is climate adaptation being accorded due consideration in social policy and international cooperation? How do we define adaptation? How does adaptation impact different parts of the world differentially?

Lisa Delmuth, Department of International Relations, University of Stockholm
Janet Ngombalu,Regional Programs Coordinator for Eastern Africa Grain Council
Maria-Therese Gustafsson, Department of Political Science, University of Stockholm
Moderated by Todd Eisenstadt, Center for Environmental Policy (CEP), American University

A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas

September 23, 2020 | 3:00PM EST

Special Guest: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Senate
Moderator: Robert Perciasepe, Executive Director, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Convened by: John E. Reeder, Executive in Residence, Center for Environmental Policy, American University

Jeffrey Peterson, Author, A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas
Lisa Hamilton, Adaptation Programs Director, Georgetown Climate Center
Richard Innes, Senior Fellow, Meridian Institute

Children of today will be coping with a warmer world dramatically altered by a changing climate, including more devastating storms and rising seas. Communities face unrelenting risks with precious little time to prepare. What can we do to preserve the social fabric of vulnerable communities, maintain essential services, and assure a just transition to a new coast? Please join Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for conversation featuring a presentation by Jeffrey Peterson, author of A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas.

Webinar Video

Video recording above.