- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Conference Participation Highlights Center’s Climate Change Focus

Spring 2016

The Paris Climate Conference in December was the point of convergence for a number of current and former Belfer Center climate and environment experts who played significant roles in the planning and presentations at the UN Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris.

Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, has worked for years on the architecture of climate change agreements and has authored several Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. At the Paris conference, Stavins spoke at a number of events.He and his team also co-sponsored panels on comparisons of climate change policies and mitigation efforts across the world, as well as on the implications of the Paris Agreement for business and on enhancing the usefulness of the IPCC. The team included Robert Stowe, Jason Chapman, and Doug Gavel.

For the United States, a significant amount of behind-the-scenes work prior to the conference involved John P. Holdren, science advisor to President Obama and former director of the Belfer Center’s Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), and Kelly Sims Gallagher, 2014-15 senior policy advisor for China climate issues in Holdren’s White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. A member of the Center’s board of directors, Gallagher played a major role in developing the bilateral climate deal between the U.S. and China, a significant achievement leading up to the conference. Another Belfer Center alum, former Belfer Center Executive Director for Research Robert C. Orr, now special advisor to the UN secretary general on climate change, also took part in the conference.

Two Belfer Center fellows from China also participated in different aspects of the conference. Pei Liang, the Environment and Natural Resources’ incoming China Environmental Sustainability Fellow,  is program officer on International Policy and Negotiation in the Department of Climate Change at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and was part of the China delegation. Xianchun Tan, a fellow with the Center’s Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and professor of low-carbon economy at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), helped organize COP-21 events including a CAS exhibit of measurements on carbon emission and information about possible carbon sequestration in China. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a senior fellow with the Center, also participated.

Three Harvard students (Thomas Insua, Mattea Mrkusic and Joelle Thomas) attended the Paris conference with support from the Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program.

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Conference Participation Highlights Center’s Climate Change Focus.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Spring 2016).