Upcoming Events

Navigating the Climate Crisis: Insights from Authors of New Climate Encyclopedia

Date: Monday, June 10, 2024 I Time:  12 - 1:15pm (ET), Via Zoom

Join this discussion about the science, policy and technology issues needed to address the climate crisis. Speakers will include authors of the new Elgar Encyclopedia of Climate Policy, a newly released compendium edited by the Center for Environmental Policy's director and affiliates, featuring 89 articles by 101 authors. Topics to be addressed in the webinar include Europe's carbon border adjustment mechanism, populism, small island states, positive psychology and climate policy, and corporate actors. 

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Past Events

Improving Equity, Enhancing Resilience, and Stabilizing Markets

Thursday, September 14, 2023, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Friday, September 15, 2023, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

The Environmental Defense Fund, SBP, and American University are hosting a two-day conference on climate change and insurance to be held at the main D.C. campus of American University's Washington College of Law September 14 and 15. The event will bring together a cross-sectoral group of experts to discuss the role of insurance in improving equity in disaster recovery, lowering future losses, and stabilizing climate-stressed insurance markets. The focus of discussion will be on the design and implementation of innovative solutions.

Please note: due to limited capacity, this is an invitation only event. If you did not receive an invitation but would like to attend, please email prepare@sbpusa.org. We plan for the formal remarks of select sessions to also be available virtually.


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Analyzing climate change and proposing solutions at the nation-state level can obscure the path forward, as ambition varies widely across countries and can change dramatically as soon as the next election. Furthermore, coordinating the actions of nearly 200 nations (including more than a dozen major emitters) presents its own challenges. Viewing climate solutions as sectoral rather than “national,” may be more productive and give a clearer of how to cut the most emissions in the fastest manner.  

This webinar series, sponsored by American University’s Center for Environmental Policy (CEP) and the not-for-profit think tank Energy Innovation, reframes causes and solutions of climate change as “sectoral” issues. Over six 75-minute webinars, experts will introduce the problem and present the challenges and successes of efforts to cut emissions in the energy, industry, transportation and buildings, and land use sectors. The final session will present a roundtable discussion on possibilities for implementing a more “sector-based” analysis to complement extant theories of change in the climate mitigation space.


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The Inflation Reduction Acts Climate and Energy Provisions: A Six Month Progress Report

March 22, 2023

In partnership with the Environmental and Energy Management Institute at George Washington University and the Security and Sustainability Forum, the Center for Environmental Policy convened a day-long symposium to look back at the accomplishments of the first six months of the Inflation Reduction Act and to examine the challenges ahead.


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Clean Water Act Symposium

American University’s Center for Environmental Policy and Center for Environmental Filmmaking, in partnership with American Rivers and the Clean Water for All Coalition, are convening a major Clean Water Act Symposium on September 29, 2022 at American University in Washington, D.C., and producing a film entitled Upstream, Downriver, to be released at the Symposium. The film tells the story of the Clean Water Act, its value to the nation, and the water equity challenges ahead.

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Hard Cases for Climate Policy: Australia and Brazil

Australia is perhaps the fifth largest national contributor to global warming if emissions from its domestic and exported fossil fuels are taken into account and Brazil is also a leading emitter and the main location of the world’s largest natural carbon sink, the Amazon Rainforest. These nations both have weak national mitigation and adaptation policies at the moment. Why? Professor Peter Christoff of the University of Melbourne presents “Australian Climate Policies: paradox, contradiction and crisis,” and Professors Joana Castro Pereira of the Instituto Português de Relações Internacionais (IPRI) and Eduardo Viola of the University of Brasilia present “Neither mitigator nor adapter: Climate neglect and denial in a vulnerable Brazil (2013-2021).” The panel discussed what such hard cases may tell us about how to design and implement climate mitigation and adaptation policies.

Who Pays for This?

This presentation traces the emergence and diffusion of carbon pricing policies and then focuses on their equity dimensions, identifying different styles and patterns. These insights are placed in the broader context of the Green New Deals that have emerged, most notably, in the United States, the European Union, the Republic of Korea.

The Global Adaptation Regime

This presentation explores three dimensions of this new and still developing global adaptation regime. First, it presents an overview of the initiatives and mechanisms that jointly constitute this emerging regime and discusses (briefly) their origins in terms of state interests. Second, the presentation evaluates regime effectiveness, with a particular focus on its ability as designed to accomplish the goals it has set itself. Finally, the presentation considers the regime’s adequacy: to what degree is its capacity sufficient and its orientation appropriate to the challenges that adaptation poses? Should the regime be enhanced, reoriented, or both? If so, how? The presentation concludes by locating the global adaptation regime in the broader discussion about the relationship between adaptation and mitigation.

2022 William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership

The Center for Environmental Policy presented the winners of the 2022 William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership on Monday, May 2nd in a virtual ceremony.

Catherine Coleman Flowers, Environmental Justice and Health Advocate, Founding Director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (CREEJ), Author of Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret 

Paul Polman, Co-Founder and Chairman, Imagine, Former CEO, Unilever, Author of Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take

The Center for Environmental Policy has announced the winners of the 2022 William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership to be presented on Monday, May 2, from 1-2:15 pm (ET) in a virtual ceremony.

Catherine Coleman Flowers, Environmental Justice and Health Advocate, Founding Director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (CREEJ), Author of Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret 

Paul Polman, Co-Founder and Chairman, Imagine, Former CEO, Unilever, Author of Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take

Neither mitigator nor adapter: Climate neglect and denial in a vulnerable Brazil (2013-2021)

April 28, 2022, 1:30-3:00 pm (ET)

In this installment of the Ideas, Interests, Institutions, and Nation-state Climate Politics Series: Mitigators, Adapters, and Mitigator-Adapters series, Joana Castro Pereira, Instituto Português de Relações Internacionais (IPRI) and Eduardo Viola, of the University of Brasilia will share their research on the politics of climate change neglect and denial in Brazil. As one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters (accounting for approximately 3% of global emissions), Brazil is also highly vulnerable to climate change. 

Presenters will share the main policies implemented in the country’s major emitting sectors, and the potential and limitations of the national climate change adaptation plan as well as the challenges to its implementation. Focusing on the 2013-2021 period, presenters will discuss the policies implemented in the country’s major emitting sectors, the potential and limitations of the national climate change adaptation plan as well as the challenges to its implementation.

A Conversation with Tom Jorling

Center Director Dan Fiorino chatted with Tom Jorling, who served on the Minority Counsel for the Senate Committee on Public Works that produced the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972. Participants learned about the factors that contributed to the passage of landmark US environmental laws, the roles of various stakeholders in the process, and whether and how such environmental progress could be achieved again.

Understanding China’s Approach to Climate Mitigation

This chapter explored the political, economic, and technical contradictions in China’s approach to reducing emissions. We demonstrated that while China has made many strides toward decarbonization, its recent energy and emissions trends and its near-term targets are insufficient to meet global climate stabilization goals that avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change. As a result, we discussed opportunities for increased action on mitigation and continued international engagement with China on climate change.

The European Union as Exemplary Mitigator: Best of a Bad Lot

Watch the second event from the webinar series "Ideas, Interests, Institutions, and Nation-state Climate Politics: Mitigators, Adapters, and Mitigator-Adapters," featuring Professors Claire Dupont, Dave Huitema, and Lisa Dellmuth on the European Union’s declaration that it is a global leader on climate change and its dual leadership role that includes implementing climate mitigation policies domestically while engaging in climate diplomacy internationally to encourage, persuade, coerce, and assist others to adopt similarly ambitious climate mitigation policies.

Climate Mitigation Ambition in the Wake of COVID-19 and the 2021 United Nations Report

Friday, October 8, 2021 | 2:30pm Eastern 

A webinar sponsored by the Oxford University Press, the Center for Environmental Policy (CEP) of the School of Public Affairs, and the Department of Environmental Science, College of Arts and Sciences featuring Todd A. Eisenstadt  and Stephen E. MacAvoy.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s foremost scientific body on the subject, released findings in August, that human-caused climate change is accelerating faster than anticipated.  This webinar addresses developments in climate change science and policy against this backdrop, and that of the COVID-19, which diminished climate change-causing “greenhouse gas” emissions worldwide by some eight percent in 2020 but may require government spending which otherwise would have been available for other projects like climate change mitigation and adaptation. MacAvoy will touch on the major findings of the IPCC study and its implications and emissions trends during COVID and also address new discoveries and advancing technologies in the fight to limit climate change. Eisenstadt will address the importance of infrastructure spending and “Green New Deals” in Europe, the US and elsewhere, and recent advances – and setbacks -in public policy to limit climate change. He will emphasize the role of governments in the run-up to the November 2021 Glasgow meeting of the United Nations climate negotiators, and both speakers will address the need for more dramatic and transformational change.

This webinar will be moderated by Tony Mathias, Marketing Manager  for the Higher Education Division of Oxford University Press, which has just published Climate Change, Science, and the Politics of Shared Sacrifice.

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Pathways to a Decarbonized Economy and a More Livable Planet

Webinar Series

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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. Join the Center for Environmental Policy this spring as we explore these issues with some of the world’s leading experts.

Building A Resilient Future

Watch this virtual event, which covered the health impacts of extreme weather worsened by climate change, the disproportionate harm to low-income communities and communities of color, and the need for equitable, climate-resilient infrastructure, including challenges and success stories from local experts. Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava kicked off the event with opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion featuring speakers who discussed how leaders are implementing infrastructure solutions to combat extreme weather and inequity in their communities.

Co-hosted by the Center for Environmental Policy, American Lung Association, and Center for Environmental Filmmaking.

2021 William K. Reilly Awards

The Center for Environmental Policy at the School of Public Affairs held a special event honoring the 2021 winners of the William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership: Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and EPA career civil servants, represented by current EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

Prioritizing Frontline Communities in Infrastructure

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 | 3:00pm - 4:00pm Eastern 

The first in a webinar series held by a partnership of the Center for Environmental Policy, the American Lung Association and the AU Center for Environmental Filmmaking focused on opportunities for advancing equity in federal infrastructure efforts. Prioritizing Frontline Communities in Infrastructure Investments will highlight ways to make sure that frontline communities most impacted by major pollution sources, such as transportation, ports, oil & gas development, and power plants, benefit equitably from federal infrastructure efforts currently being pursued by the Biden Administration and Congress. Speakers include: 

  • Andrew Wishnia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy, Department of Transportation
  • Shelley Francis, Co-Founder and Director, EVHybridNoire
  • Mychal Johnson, Co-Founder, South Bronx Unite
  • Carol Kriebs, Chairwoman, National Tribal Air Association
  • Mike Natchees, Director of Air Quality, Ute Tribe Air Quality Department
  • Bakeyah Nelson, Executive Director, Air Alliance Houston

Workforce of the Future Symposium

Thursday, June 3 | 3:00 PM Eastern

In this second of two symposia under the Center's initiative, 21st Century Environmental Protection: Putting Equity at the Top of the Agenda, practitioners will address the workforce needed to achieve fairer and more equitable environmental protection, and meet future environmental challenges. The model characteristics and capabilities of the future environmental workforce will be discussed along with the opportunities for, and challenges of, developing the environmental workforce of the future. 

This initiative is supported by the New York Community Trust and Intel.

Video coming soon.

Technology Opportunities Symposium

The Center for Environmental Policy at American University's School of Public Affairs hosted an interactive symposium that addressed the ways in which technologies can be used to advance fairer, more equitable, and effective environmental protection. The symposium presented a variety of specific technology issues and the ways in which each can play a role in address inequities.

A Conversation with Savi Horne

Watch this conversation featuring Savi Horne, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers' Land Loss Prevention Project, an organization that provides legal expertise, community education, and advocacy skills to help farmers and rural landowners facing legal, economic, and environmental challenges. Ms. Horne participated in an online dialogue with Dan Fiorino, director of the Center for Environmental Policy.

William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership

Date: March 21, 2019
Time: 6:00PM
Location: American University, Constitution Hall, East Campus

For more information about the event or sponsorship opportunities contact: Danielle Miller Wagner (djmwagner@american.edu)

Leadership Awardees
Linda Fisher
Kevin J. Fay

Keynote Speaker
Phil Sharp

Conference on EPA and the Future of Environmental Protection

April 23-24, 2019

Following the environmental awakening of the late 1960’s, the US Environmental Protection Agency has helped achieve remarkable environmental progress even as the US economy and population have grown. The Agency has led the world in setting science-based standards and promoting environmental progress through innovative policies, partnerships, and local, regional, national and international negotiations.

Environmental protection in the future, however, may require new approaches, new tools and possibly, new legal authorities.

As EPA's 50th anniversary approaches, this conference will explore EPA's role in leading the nation and the world in meeting future environmental challenges. American University's Center for Environmental Policy and The Washington College of Law Program on Environmental and Energy Law are co-hosting this event, in cooperation with the EPA Alumni Association and the Environmental Law Institute.
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2018 Events

Childrens Health and the Changing Environment

Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Time: 8:00-11:30am EST

Location: Arent Fox, 1717 K Street NW, Washington, DC

RSVP: w3677a@student.american.edu

This symposium will explore the impacts of rollbacks of environmental regulations coupled with intensified climate change on factors such as extreme weather events, air and water quality, green space and other issues that directly impact children's physical and emotional development. Hosted by Arent Fox and convened in partnership with the Childrens Environmental Health Network. Featuring Mark Schleifstein Environment reporter, The Times-Picayune.

Please contact Danielle Miller Wagner with any questions at djmwagner@american.edu.

Local Initiatives to Address Global Climate Change in the Trump Era

Date: Thursday, November 15, 2018
Time: 7-9pm EST
Location: Spring Valley, Room 100, American University, Washington DC
RSVP: sb1237a@student.american.edu

Join Mary Cheh, DC City Councilmember, Ward 3, Eric Coffman, Chief, Office of Energy and Sustainability, Montgomery County, MD, and John Morrell, Director Energy and Environment Office, Arlington County, VA, for a discussion of the role of local leadership in addressing and facilitating community action on climate change. Convened in partnership with Global Peace Services USA.

Please contact Danielle Miller Wagner with any questions at djmwagner@american.edu.

Beyond Politics: The Private Governance Response to Climate Change

Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Time: 4-5:30pm EST
Location: School of Public Affairs, Kerwin Hall Room 300, American University, Washington, DC
RSVP: cw3677a@american.edu

Private sector action provides one of the most promising opportunities to reduce the risks of climate change, buying time while governments move slowly or even oppose climate mitigation. In his new book, Beyond Politics: The Private Governance Response to Climate Change, Vanderbilt University Law Professor Mike Vandenbergh (with Jonathan M. Gilligan) draws on law, policy, social science and climate science to demonstrate how private initiatives are already bypassing government inaction in the United States and around the globe. The book makes a persuasive case that private governance can reduce global carbon emissions by a billion tons per year over the next decade.

This discussion will include an examination of the growth of private climate initiatives over the last decade, a theory of why private actors are motivated to reduce emissions, and a review of viable next steps.

Professor Michael P. Vandenbergh is the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law, Co-Director of the Energy, Environment and Land Use Program, and Director of the Climate Change Research Network at Vanderbilt University Law School. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina (BA, Zoology) and the University of Virginia (JD).

Kevin J. Fay, Vice-Chairman & CEO of Alcalde & Fay, is an internationally recognized specialist on environmental and energy issues with particular emphasis on governmental policies involving the atmosphere and climate. Currently, he serves as Executive Director of the International Climate Change Partnership, a coalition of companies and trade associations working to develop international policies on the global climate change issue. He received his J.D. from American University in Washington DC and is an Honors graduate from the University of Virginia.

Please contact Danielle Miller Wagner with any questions at djmwagner@american.edu or 202-744-6506.