George Mason University professor to present ‘Creating, Preserving, and Defending the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,’ March 19

Dr. Andrew Light, professor of philosophy, public policy and atmospheric sciences at George Mason University, and international climate negotiator, will deliver a lecture titled “Creating, Preserving and Defending the Paris Agreement on Climate Change” on Thursday, March 19, at 4:30 p.m. at the Weasler Auditorium.

Light is a distinguished senior fellow in the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C.  From 2013-16, he served as senior adviser and India counselor to the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, and as staff climate adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry in the Office of Policy Planning in the U.S. Department of State. He is also the recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Superior Honor Award for his work in creating and negotiating the Paris Agreement on climate change.

During his lecture, Light will review the United Nations’ recent history of climate negotiations.

In December 2015, representatives from more than 190 countries met in Paris for the 21st meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change during which a new and ambitious international climate agreement was created. Many heralded the agreement as a groundbreaking achievement for international diplomacy and global climate action. Others argue the climate commitments in it are too weak to achieve the goals of the agreement.

In the wake of the United States’ announcement of its intended withdrawal from the agreement, Light will break down the significance of the agreement, why it is worth fighting for its preservation and how the current circumstances of the agreement evolved from previous failures in the process. He will also explain overcoming the immense hurdle of justly assigning responsibility for hitting global emission reduction targets and more. The lecture will conclude with a look at the future of global climate cooperation, including how communities are prepared to defend the agreement.

Following Light’s lecture, Dr. Tim Tharp, assistant professor of physics; Dr. David Nowacek, adjunct assistant professor of social and cultural sciences; and Dr. Jame Schaefer, associate professor of theology, will further discuss and answer questions about the Paris Agreement and climate change overall. The professors — all in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences — team teach a course called Energy Use and Human- Induced Climate Change.

The lecture, sponsored by the Simmons Religious Commitment fund, is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.