COP21: Duke University Resources for Media
A listing of activities, blogs, and experts available for comment
Duke Students in Paris
The Duke to Paris blog will feature commentary and updates from Duke students who are attending COP21 as part of the UN Climate Change Negotiations Practicum course at Duke.
Photo by Donovan Loh, student at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment.
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Blog
Brian Murray, Billy Pizer, and Tim Profeta of Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions will provide insights and commentary from Paris on The Climate Post.
Photo by the Nicholas School of the Environment.
Duke University Climate Commitment
As an institution of higher education, Duke University recognizes the urgent need to transition to a low-carbon future to avoid irreversible costs to our global community’s economic prosperity and public health. We believe that research universities play a critical role in developing solutions to climate change and in finding new ways to meet growing energy demands while sustaining the environment. Today, Duke pledges to move as quickly as possible to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campus. Additional information.
Duke University has already taken actions to reduce our climate footprint and educate the campus community about this important mission. In 2007, Duke University signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and set the ambitious goal of being climate neutral by 2024. Duke University also supports this focus on clean energy and climate action through our membership in the Ivy Plus (Ivy+) Sustainability Consortium, a strategic partnership among 14 peer institutions to leverage collective leadership and resources to advance sustainability in higher education and beyond.
Photo by Bryan Roth.
Experts Available for Comment
Deborah Rigling Gallagher
Associate professor of the practice of resource and environmental policy, Duke University
Expertise: environmental law, environmental policy, business, public/private partnerships, environmental values
(On private sector demand for climate action)
“No longer can governments such as the U.S. hide behind the idea that signing a global climate agreement will damage the business climate of their country. Businesses are calling for a global price for carbon, which will level the playing field and shrink carbon footprints. Some businesses have already demonstrated their commitment to action by instituting internal markets for carbon within their organizations, which facilitate investments in low-carbon technologies.”
(On environmental justice)
“The impacts of climate change will be most strongly felt in the nations least able to cope with them. The recent Papal Encyclical has shined a bright light on this issue and called into question the role of market-based policies to address climate change.
“Negotiations in Paris will need to focus on an agreement that does not simply harness the power of the market to stem global greenhouse gas emissions, but also recognizes the historic injustices of market-based policies which have put an undue burden on under-resourced communities. Poor countries will rightfully be demanding financial assistance to invest in clean technology and work on adaptation.”
Director of the Environmental Economics Program, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
Expertise: environmental economics, market-based policy, carbon markets, climate change, bioenergy, economic modeling, agriculture, REDD
“An international climate agreement is among the most challenging collective action problems the world has ever faced. With all major emitters agreeing to pledge substantial cuts in emissions, and more than 150 countries committing to some action to reduce emissions, the real challenge in Paris will be to ensure that a framework is built that will be ambitious but flexible, transparent, and enforceable over time.”
Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy; faculty fellow, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
Expertise: climate and energy policy, clean energy finance, environment and development, environmental regulation
“The deal being finalized in Paris at COP-21 is an important milestone in the climate change negotiations. While many commentators are focused on the ambition – or lack of it – among national pledges, this ignores the enormous accomplishment of creating a durable architecture. This architecture is based on the pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by all major economies – more than 120 countries as of early November – with a transparent review process.
There is always the chance that the deal will break down over concerns about financial arrangements, the treatment of adaptation, or something else. But the underlying motivation for the climate change negotiations is to address what is otherwise a tragedy of the commons on a global scale – the unlimited emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. I hope the negotiations will not lose sight of that.
It is true that the ambition contained in a Paris deal is unlikely to match the urgency that most experts believe the issue deserves. At the same time, it is no small feat to create a framework that includes all the major emitters, that specifies quantitative emission targets, that includes transparent review mechanisms, and that can, over time, build trust and increase ambition.”
Director, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
Expertise: climate and energy, offsets, carbon markets, clean air act
Quote: “The Conference of the Parties in Paris will be the culmination of a several-year process that attempts creation of a truly global climate agreement. The parties are approaching the event with cautious optimism, but there are still niggling details to work through, such as review time for national commitments, funding for climate adaptation, and the precise legal form agreements might take. Duke University side events at the COP will investigate many of these details, and how they could result in the creation of a ‘bottom-up’ climate regime.”
Professor of climate sciences, Duke University
Expertise: atmospheric science, climate change
“One of the reasons we have such a hard time getting broad support for aggressive emissions-reduction targets is that the benefits are mostly in the distant future. Placing more emphasis on how transitioning to a low-carbon economy would benefit human health and global food security in the short term would make taking action more salient.
“The original U.N. framework convention refers not only to achieving a long-term target but also to slowing the rate of warming so that people and ecosystems have a better chance of adapting. Expanding the focus of COP21 to include targets for slowing the near-term warming rate would help emphasize the tangible benefits of reducing emissions.”
William R. and Thomas L. Perkins professor of law, Duke Law School; professor of environmental policy, Nicholas School of the Environment; professor of public policy, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
Expertise: climate change, U.S. and international environmental policy
Additional Media Contact for Gallagher and Shindell:
Additional Media Contact for Murray, Pizer, and Profeta:
Feature photo by Michelle Lotker.