Professor Donald F. Koch Distinguished Lecture - Postponed Until Further Notice

Wed, April 1, 2020 7:00 PM at MSU Fairchild Theatre (542 Auditorium Road)

Dr. Andrew Light, George Mason University and World Resources Institute



In December 2015 over 190 countries succeeded in creating the Paris Agreement on climate change.  To better understand the significance of the agreement, and why it is worth fighting for its preservation, we will review the recent history of the UN climate negotiations, and how this outcome evolved from earlier failed attempts in this process, finally overcoming the immense hurdle of justly assigning responsibility for hitting global emission reduction targets.  The Paris Agreement is now undergoing an unexpectedly early stress test with the announcement of the withdraw of the United States.  We conclude with a look at what the future holds for global climate cooperation in the face of this serious challenge, including indications of how different states, cities, and businesses are prepared to defend the agreement and continue coordinated action on this increasingly urgent problem.



Andrew Light is University Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy, and Atmospheric Sciences at George Mason University, and Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, in Washington, D.C.  From 2013-2016 he served as Senior Adviser and India Counselor to the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change and Staff Climate Adviser in the Secretary of State’s Office of Policy Planning in the U.S. Department of State.  In this capacity, he served on the senior strategy team for the the UN climate negotiations.  In recognition of this work, Andrew was awarded the inaugural Public Philosophy Award, from the International Society for Environmental Ethics in June 2017, which has been renamed the “Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy,” and a Superior Honor Award, from the U.S. Department of State in July 2016, for his work creating and negotiating the Paris Agreement on climate change.  In his academic career, Andrew is the author of over 100 articles and book chapters, primarily on climate change, restoration ecology, and urban sustainability, and has authored, co-authored, and edited 19 books. He has co-authored dozens of policy reports and climate action plans for political campaigns, including the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States (2018) and Jay Inslee’s Plan for Global Climate Mobilization (2019).