Too hot to handle: Climate Change meets American Politics

WED, MAR 23, 2022 (1:07:12)

The newly released United Nations IPCC Report tells us we are at the point of no return with climate change, and that the situation is worse than they thought. It’s easy to see: wildfires, epic storms, floods, and droughts worsen each year. Combine that with rising sea levels, loss of species and the changing weather affecting our growing seasons, and the situation looks grim indeed.

World leaders attending COP26 last November did not produce an international agreement to mitigate carbon emissions and turn the tide. Meanwhile, President Biden’s climate proposals have been stripped from his major legislative efforts, forcing him to resort to executive action, which has in turn been blocked by courts.

Young people have had enough and are taking to the streets to protest while climate skeptics and lobbyists push harder for the status quo.

What are the implications of this impasse? Environment Correspondent Carolyn Beeler leads a discussion looking into the science, policy and politics of the climate crisis now and what actions must happen next to pull us back from the brink.

+ BIO: Ed Carr, PhD

Edward R. Carr is a geographer and anthropologist whose career and research focus on exploring alternative ways of achieving meaningful and enduring improvements to human well-being. His work provides insights into the ways development and adaptation interventions impact human well-being, both positive and negative, how livelihoods work to order agrarian and other worlds, and how resilience presents both barriers to, and opportunities for, the transformative changes needed to manage our world.

He also directs the Humanitarian Response and Development Lab (HURDL), which is based in the George Perkins Marsh Institute. HURDL’s wide-ranging work includes policy development, and project and program design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, all undertaken with the goal of assisting individuals and communities to build foundations for innovative development. He is the author of more than 70 publications on issues of development, livelihoods, adaptation to climate change, and the evolving global environment. Carr’s research and practice has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, United States Agency for International Development, UK Department for International Development, World Resources Institute, World Bank, and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

+ BIO: Gina Coplon-Newfield

Most recently, Gina Coplon-Newfield was the founding Director of Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All Campaign where she led the organization’s advocacy for policies that accelerate the electrification of cars, trucks, and buses as well as those that defend public transit and clean car standards. Previously, she has run campaigns and programs at Physicians for Human Rights, the US Campaign to Ban Landmines, and a Boston-based lead poisoning prevention initiative. She previously served on the Massachusetts Zero Emission Vehicle Commission. She earned a B.A. from Tufts University and a Master’s in Public Administration at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

+ BIO: Bradley Campbell

For the past 25 years, Bradley M. Campbell has been at the forefront of shaping the country’s most significant environmental policies and laws. A former White House senior appointee during the Clinton administration, Brad was the Regional Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Region, and served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

In 2006 Brad launched a law firm with a focus on issues involving the environment, energy, entrepreneurship, and science. A year later, he co-founded Swan Creek Energy, which went on to develop several of the largest net-metered commercial solar projects in the United States.

Brad has a wide range of experience overseeing large public agencies, developing strategic litigation, and negotiating innovative agreements that have resulted in environmental milestones in New England and across the United States.

As Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, a post he held for four years, Brad set the toughest standards in the nation to protect coastal areas, streams, and rivers from stormwater pollution; initiated and negotiated the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to control greenhouse gas emissions from power plants; and developed and secured permanent protection for more than 800,000 acres of watershed lands under threat of development in New Jersey’s Highlands region.

Concurrent with his law practice, Campbell founded Swan Creek Energy, LLC, a renewable energy development firm responsible for several of the largest commercial-scale solar projects in New Jersey.

Campbell lectures and writes regularly on major legal and policy issues.

+ BIO: Sarah Schwartz

Dr. Sarah Schwartz focuses on adolescent risk and resilience; school- and community-based intervention and prevention programs; youth mentoring; positive youth development; transition to adulthood; youth community organizing; climate anxiety and climate activism.

The goal of her research is to identify, develop, and evaluate effective strategies to foster healthy developmental outcomes during adolescence and the transition to adulthood, with the goal of advancing social, economic, and environmental justice. The research focuses on the need for relationships and contexts that both allow youth to feel supported by adults and make space for youth to take the lead in advocating for themselves and their communities. Some current areas of study include: mentoring relationships and social capital; help-seeking; mental health stigma; youth community organizing; and climate anxiety and climate activism.

+ BIO: Carolyn Beeler

Carolyn Beeler covers the environment for The World, where she focuses on stories about people and places impacted by climate change. She has reported from all seven continents and won national and regional awards for her breaking news and in-depth feature reporting. Before joining The World, she helped pilot the weekly health and science show The Pulse at WHYY in Philadelphia, and reported from Berlin for a year as a Robert Bosch Foundation fellow. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and got her start in radio as a Kroc fellow at NPR.

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