Pathways to a Decarbonized Economy and a More Livable Planet

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

Pathways to a Decarbonized Economy and a More Livable Planet

As the U.S. rejoins other leading nations in the race to mitigate climate change, the debate is no longer about whether it can be, but about whether we can limit its harms. What will it take to get to Net Zero Emissions by 2050? Fears about a perceived trade-off between climate mitigation and economic development continue, but this webinar series seeks to move beyond that conceptualization and understand how climate change can be dramatically slowed, and the economy “decarbonized,” without economic loss.

What does this reshaping of the world economy mean for climate-polluting nation-states like the U.S., China, India, and those in Europe? For economic sectors, like energy, transportation, and agriculture? What macro-level changes are necessary, and how might these affect the day-to-day lives of citizens and consumers? Join the Center for Environmental Policy this spring as we explore these issues with some of the world’s leading experts.

Latest Webinar

"Updating Old Actors and Introducing New Ones in the Race to Carbon Neutrality"

May 13, 2021 | 5:30-7 PM ET
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Hari Gadde, Senior Climate Change Specialist, World Bank
Scott Sklar, The Stella Group, Ltd.
Sha Yu, Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Center for Global Sustainability, University of Maryland
Elizabeth V. Sturcken, Managing Director, Environmental Defense Fund

"Carbon pricing to meet net zero emissions"
- Hari Gadde, Senior Climate Change Specialist, World Bank
Hari Gadde is a Senior Climate Change Specialist in the Carbon Markers and Innovation practice of the Climate Change Group in the World Bank. He has been working on climate change related issues, especially on carbon markets and carbon pricing for more than 15 years. He is currently coordinating the technical work program of the Partnership for Market Readiness and the Partnership for Market Implementation. He is one of the leading members of the Article 6 work program for piloting next generation of carbon market concepts in the World Bank and leads the development of Approach Papers of the Article 6 Warehouse program and the digitalization of MRV systems. Hari also leads the Standardized Crediting Framework implementation under the Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev).

"Blending technologies, financial tools, inter-disciplinary regulations & education is the only way to achieve a global net zero"
- Scott Sklar, The Stella Group, Ltd.
Scott Sklar is President of The Stella Group, Ltd. since 2000, a global clean technology optimization owner’s rep firm facilitating clean distributed energy utilization and technology integration primarily for commercial, industrial, institutional, infrastructure and local government. Sklar serves as the Energy Director of GWU’s Environment & Energy Management Institute (EEMI). Prior, Scott Sklar served for 15 years (1985-2000) as Executive Director of both the Solar Energy Industries & the National BioEnergy Industries Associations before he was Political Director of The Solar Lobby, a clean advocacy organization. Prior, he was Washington Director & Acting Research Director of for three years at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). As an aide for 10 years (1970-80) to Senator Jacob K. Javits (NY) Sklar focused on energy and military matters and cofounded the Congressional Solar Caucus that lead much of the innovative legislation promoting renewable energy in the 1970’s.

“Climate Risks and Financial Systems in a 1.5°C Future"
- Sha Yu, Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Center for Global Sustainability, University of Maryland
Dr. Yu is a senior scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute and an associate research scholar at the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS). Dr. Yu is an expert in energy and environmental issues, with a focus on climate finance, energy and climate policies, and decarbonization pathways. She leads research on long-term deep decarbonization strategies in the United States, China, and India. Dr. Yu also leads the development and application of a state-of-art integrated assessment model with subnational details in China (GCAM-China). At CGS, Dr. Yu co-leads the China research portfolio. She holds an MS and PhD in Energy Policy from the University of Maryland.

“What do Large Corporations Need to Focus on in the Next Ten Years on the Journey to Carbon Neutrality?”
- Elizabeth V. Sturcken, Environmental Defense Fund
Elizabeth Sturcken is Managing Director at Environmental Defense Fund. She leads work with companies for the EDF + Business team, leveraging the power of the marketplace to create a thriving planet. She launched EDFs partnership with Lyft to change their cars to 100% electric vehicles by 2030. And, working with Microsoft, she created and launched Transform to Net Zero, a coalition of nine leading companies who aim to show the way to net zero climate emissions for companies and the world. She created the first NGO partnership with Walmart, addressing all aspects of their environmental impact on climate, oceans and ecosystems resulting in the first supply chain carbon reduction commitment from a retailer and creating millions of greener products. She also led corporate partnerships with other major companies such as FedEx, to develop the next generation delivery vehicle and UPS, to create more sustainable overnight shipping packaging.

Past Webinars

"Assessing the Costs of Climate Change Mitigation and the Cost of Falling Short"

April 22, 2021 | 1-2:30 PM ET
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Moderator: Paul Bugala
Helen Mountford, World Resources Institute
Paul Bledsoe, American University
Kevin Rennert,  Resources for the Future 
Mary Boyer, The World Bank

- Moderator: Paul Bugala
Paul Bugala has worked for more than 15 years as an oil, mining and timber investment and ESG analyst at Calvert Investments (now a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley), Oxfam, and as an independent investment analyst. He has also taught a sustainable finance course in the MBA program at the George Washington University School of Business. Paul is on the advisory board of the American University Center for Environmental Policy and is a member of Amnesty International USA’s Business and Human Rights Group. He was appointed by two Secretaries of the Department of the Interior to the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (US EITI) Federal Advisory Committee, on which he served from its formation in 2012 until its end in 2017.

“The Economic and Social Benefits of Addressing Climate Change”
- Helen Mountford, World Resources Institute
Helen Mountford is the Vice President for Climate and Economics at WRI. The Climate team helps policymakers, businesses and civil society internationally and collaborates to identify and advance the deep structural shifts needed to successfully address climate change. Helen is also Program Director for the New Climate Economy (NCE) project, the flagship initiative of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate that provides independent and authoritative evidence on actions which can both strengthen economic performance and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change. Helen previously worked as Deputy Director of Environment for the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), advising governments on policy reforms, and overseeing work on green fiscal reform, climate change finance and economics, fossil fuel subsidy reforms, biodiversity incentive measures, etc.

“Separate Strategies for limiting climate impacts and preventing tipping points”
Paul Bledsoe, American University
Paul Bledsoe is adjunct professorial lecturer at the AU's Center for Environmental Policy, energy fellow and strategic advisor at the Progressive Policy Institute, and president of Bledsoe & Associates, LLC, a strategic public policy firm specializing in energy, natural resources and climate change, among other issues. He was director of communications of the White House Climate Change Task Force under President Clinton from 1998-2001, communications director of the Senate Finance Committee under former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and special assistant to former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Previously, he worked in legislative and communications positions in the US House of Representatives. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Politico and other leading outlets.

“Valuing Climate Damages: The social cost of carbon in policy analysis.”
Kevin Rennert, Resources for the Future
Kevin Rennert joined RFF as a fellow in 2017 and directs RFF’s Social Cost of Carbon initiative, which is implementing a comprehensive set of recommendations by the National Academy of Sciences to improve estimates of the social cost of carbon. Prior to his arrival at RFF, Rennert served as deputy associate administrator for the Office of Policy at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Leading up to his appointment in the Office of Policy, he worked as senior advisor on Energy for the Senate Finance Committee. In that role, Rennert advised the committee’s Chairman, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), on a wide range of topics related to clean energy, efficiency, and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rennert led the development of the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (S. 2146), a presidential priority that would use market mechanisms to double the amount of electricity generated in the US from low or zero carbon sources by 2035.

“Understanding and Paying for Hazard Risk in the Caribbean”
Mary Boyer, The World Bank
Mary Boyer is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist who joined the World Bank’s in 2015. She co-leads a Disaster Risk Financing Technical Assistance for Caribbean countries that focuses on building capacity within Ministries of Finance and relevant entities towards the goal of developing national strategies for disaster risk financing and cost-effective approaches to disaster response, as part of a comprehensive approach to disaster risk management. Prior to the Bank, she supported the development of the inaugural risk pool of African Risk Capacity, a parametric drought risk insurance product developed by a Specialized Agency of the African Union She has also managed community-driven disaster risk management projects through counterinsurgency and stabilization programming in Afghanistan with USAID.

"Decarbonization and “NET Zero” Emissions: The View from Nation-state Analysts"

April 8, 2021 | 5:30-7 PM ET
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Katie Ross, World Resources Institute
Klaus Röhrig, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
Dan Fiorino, American University 
Joanna Lewis, Georgetown University
Janet Peace, Blue Source

“Momentum and Credibility of Net-Zero Targets.”
- Katie Ross, World Resources Institute
Katie Ross is a Research Associate in the Climate Program at World Resources Institute (WRI). She has more than a decade of international climate policy experience, particularly focused on emerging economies. At WRI, Katie supports countries in designing and implementing long-term decarbonization strategies, as well as enhancing their commitments under the Paris Agreement. She also tracks and analyses national net-zero commitments. Earlier in her career, Katie worked with national governments and the private sector in southern Africa on a range of climate and energy projects, including the Clean Development Mechanism and international climate change reporting.

“What is the EU Green Deal and How is it Considering a Net-Zero Future?”
- Klaus Röhrig, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
As an EU Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Klaus Röhrig is based in Belgium and promoting sustainable climate, energy, and development policies throughout the region. Klaus has utilized his experience working for Greenpeace Germany and Green Budget Europe (GBE) to analyze environmental policy within the European region and provide valuable technical information to CAN Europe’s 160-member organizations.

“Getting to Net-Zero in the US: The Good and the Bad News”
- Dan Fiorino, American University
Dr. 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. A faculty member in the Department of Public Administration and Policy, he teaches environmental policy, energy and climate change, environmental sustainability, and public management. His publications have received nine national and international awards from the American Society for Public Administration, Policy Studies Organization, Academy of Management, and NAPA. Dan joined American University in 2009 after a career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Among his positions at EPA were 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 the Director of the National Environmental Performance Track.

“Where does China stand on Net-Zero Policies?”
- Joanna Lewis, Georgetown University
Dr. Joanna Lewis is Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of Energy and Environment and Director of the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program (STIA) at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She has two decades of experience working on international climate and clean energy policy with a focus on China. At Georgetown she conducts research on the technical and political factors that shape low carbon transitions and and leads several dialogues and joint study groups facilitating U.S.-China climate change engagement. Lewis is also a faculty affiliate in the China Energy Group at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She is the author of the award-winning book Green Innovation in China and was a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report.

“Net Zero and Paris: the Role of the Private Sector”
- Janet Peace, Blue Source
As Chief of Advisory Services, Janet is responsible for leading outreach, guidance and engagement on key climate issues important to Bluesource clients including policy, natural climate solutions, GHG inventories, carbon strategy, reporting, goal setting and carbon neutrality. Prior to Bluesource, she was in the executive management team at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and helped launch its successor, the Center on Climate and Energy Solutions. At Pew and C2ES, Janet led their engagement with the corporate community, including their Business Environmental Leadership Council - mostly Fortune 500 companies. As a recognized expert on climate issues, she is an advisor to the World Bank’s High Level Panel on Carbon Pricing Competitiveness, the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, American University’s Center for Environmental Policy and Arizona State’s Urban Resilience Network.

Decarbonization: The View from Some Economic Sectors

March 25, 2021 | 1:00-2:30 pm ET
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Henri Waisman, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI)
Mark Thurber, Walsh Group
Keira Havens, Pivot Bio
Andrew Losos, The World Bank
Simon Nicholson, American University

“Long-term Low emission Development Strategies and the Paris Climate Agreement - Insights from the Deep Decarbonization Pathways (DDP) initiative”
Henri Waisman is senior researcher within IDDRI's Climate programme, in charge of activities on long-term low emission development trajectories. He is the coordinator of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), which is working with international partners to mobilize long-term analysis as a tool to support the political process initiated by the Paris Agreement. He is also in charge of promoting the DDPP's lessons on the use of forward-looking scenarios as a tool for dialogue to support the implementation of the transition to sustainable development.

“Transitioning from Fossil Fuels to Renewables: Insight from the ground in Ecuador”
Mark Thurber is manager of an Ecuador-based environmental consulting firm that provides services to the natural resource and energy sectors including oil and gas development and power generation in Ecuador and globally. He has a history of working with a broad spectrum of stakeholders - industry, government, banks, NGOs, communities, academic institutions – in developing consensus on how to manage and reduce impacts from large infrastructure projects. Mr. Thurber has been involved in important policy decisions about setting up reserves for peoples in voluntary isolation (PVIs) that have become no-go areas for oil companies, and a carbon offset initiative to leave oil in the ground within Yasuni National Park. His professional focus is shifting to include renewable energy projects, particularly wind and solar, as Ecuador and other countries are making investments to increase renewables within their energy portfolios.

“Decarbonization and Agriculture + the Struggle of Measuring non-CO2 GHGs”
Keira Havens has been deeply involved in synthetic biology as a scientist, an entrepreneur, a communicator, and a thought leader. Her work has engaged all facets of the synthetic biology economy in the pursuit of beautiful biotechnology - well designed, elegant solutions to intractable problems. As a Sustainability and Public Affairs Manager, she is excited to be working with the Pivot Bio team to tell the story of the future of fertilizer, beginning with the innate capability of the soil microbiome to provide nitrogen and other key nutrients that crops need. Ms. Havens accepted a commission in the United States Air Force. She left active duty to pursue her Masters from CSU, before launching a short-lived consumer biotechnology company that asked the question: Can biotechnology be beautiful?

“Decarbonizing maritime transport”
Andrew Losos is a Senior Sustainable Transport Specialist at the World Bank. With expertise in climate mitigation and adaptation from the transport perspective, he has over fifteen years of experience in international climate change policy. With a decade of experience working on the African continent, he currently leads the World Bank’s efforts to decarbonize maritime transport and improve sustainability of ships and ports, and serves as co-chair of the Getting to Zero Coalition’s Global Opportunities workstream. Andrew’s maritime career began twenty-five years ago as a naval officer. Before joining the Bank, he was the Manager of Environmental Policy for the Canadian Shipowners Association, a Senior Climate Policy Analyst at Transport Canada, and an Arctic oil spill contingency planner for the Canadian Coast Guard.

"The Place for Carbon Removal in a Net-Zero World"
Simon Nicholson is an Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. He is Director of American University's new cross-campus Center for Environment, Community, and Equity, and co-Director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy. His new book, co-edited with Wil Burns and David Dana and forthcoming later this year, is “Climate Geoengineering: Law and Governance” (Springer).

Whither International Leadership in Climate Diplomacy

An Ambition Check on the Paris Agreement and International Mitigation Efforts

March 4, 2021 | 1:00-2:30 pm EST
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USA. Leadership - Todd Eisenstadt, American University
Chinese Leadership - Ryna Yiyun Cui, Center for Global Sustainability,
University of Maryland, College Park
European leadership – Miranda Schreurs, Technical University of Munich
Indian leadership – Navros K. Dubash, Centre for Policy Research (New Delhi)

Dr. Todd A. Eisenstadt, Professor of Government and Research Director of American University’s Center for Environmental Policy (CEP), has published multiple award-winning books and dozens of articles, including on environmental issues and climate change. He just concluded a World Bank study of attitudes towards climate change among the most vulnerable in Bangladesh and in 2019 he co-authored Who Speaks for Nature? Indigenous Environmental Movements, Public Opinion, and Ecuador's Petro-State (Oxford University Press), based on a National Science Foundation-funded survey exploring how indigenous communities experience climate vulnerability in Ecuador’s Amazon region. His textbook for undergraduates, Climate Change, Science, and the Politics of Shared Sacrifice (co-authored with natural scientist Stephen MacAvoy), is being published in 2021 by Oxford.

Dr. Ryna Yiyun Cui is Assistant Research Professor at the School of Public Policy and also serves at China Program Co-Director at the Center for Global Sustainability. Dr. Cui is an expert in global coal transition and climate and energy policies in China. She leads the Global Coal Transition Project at CGS that focuses on rapid coal phaseout pathways both globally and in key countries of interest, including China, India, and other coal-heavy economies. Her current research focuses on coal phaseout and energy transition, global and national long-term mitigation strategies in China, India, and the Unites States with integrated assessment modeling, low-carbon strategies through the "Belt and Road Initiative'', and subnational climate actions. She is currently serving as a contributing author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, focusing on global coal transition. Dr. Cui also holds a joint appointment at the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a collaboration between the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland.

Dr. Miranda Schreurs is vice-chair of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC). Previously, she was a tenured associate professor in the Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park. Her main research areas are in international and comparative climate policy, environmental politics, and low-carbon energy transitions. Schreurs is involved in projects examining the energy transitions in Germany and Japan; climate policies of Europe, the United States, and China; and the politics of high-level radioactive waste disposal. In 2011 Schreurs was appointed by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a member of the German Ethics Commission on a Safe Energy Supply.

Dr. Navroz K Dubash, a Professor at the Centre for Policy Research, was instrumental in establishing the global Climate Action Network in 1990, a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Sixth Assessment), and has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit. Within India, he has advised the development of India’s Low Carbon Strategy for Inclusive Growth and the Committee for a Long Term Strategy for Low Carbon Development for India. His recent paper ‘India's energy and emissions future: an interpretive analysis of model scenarios’ was awarded the Emerging Regions Award for 2018 by Environmental Research Letters, and his other recent work includes an edited volume, India in a Warming World: Integrating Climate Change and Development (Oxford University Press). Dubash serves as an associate editor of Climate Policy and is a member of several editorial boards including Global Environmental Politics, Environmental Policy and Governance, and the Journal of Environment and Development.