WASHINGTON—Experts from the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which is an official observer to both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) processes, will be attending this year’s annual United Nations climate change talks (also referred to as COP27) being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6-18. They will join officials from more than 190 nations—as well as representatives of subnational governments, businesses and other nongovernmental organizations—working to ensure all countries are on track to increase their climate ambition to keep the goals of the Paris Agreement in reach. U.S. President Joe Biden is also expected to attend the negotiations, along with a large group of high-level delegates. A recent UCS blogpost outlining the global climate action needed to ensure a successful outcome at COP27 that reflects the scientific realities of climate change, including the vital need to support the low-income countries already experiencing climate change-related loss and damage, can be found here.
These talks come on the heels of a particularly deadly and dangerous year of extreme weather and climate disasters. The IPCC has released a series of reports that confirm such trends will only worsen if countries fail to keep warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius—in line with the Paris climate agreement. While the United States recently passed into law policies that would help the nation make significant progress toward meeting its commitment to reduce its heat-trapping emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade, it remains imperative that the country—the largest historical emitter of global warming emissions—play a leading role in driving further ambition by those most responsible for the mounting climate emergency. The United States and other rich nations must do much more to provide climate financing for low-income, climate-vulnerable countries, a commitment on which they have repeatedly fallen short despite a previous pledge to marshal $100 billion per year by 2020. At COP27, a meaningful outcome on addressing funding for climate loss and damage will also be critical. It is worth noting that in the face of global and national actions that fall short of the pace and ambition required, the number of climate litigation cases has grown with state, national, and international courts emerging as additional venues for people and communities to seek justice and accountability for climate damages.
UCS experts have extensive experience doing live and taped TV, radio, and print interviews with major national and international media outlets. Please contact UCS Senior Communications Officer Seth Michaels if you have questions or would like to arrange interviews with these experts before, during or after the negotiations. He will be attending the U.N. climate talks in person and will be in Sharm El-Sheikh from November 5-20.
UCS Experts Attending COP27:
Johanna Chao Kreilick, the president at UCS
Kreilick leads UCS and has more than three decades of experience with social movements, science policy and working to combat climate change. Prior to working at UCS, she served in a leadership role at justice and human rights organizations, including Open Society Foundations, where she founded the Climate Action Initiative, and the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University. Kreilick can discuss the need for policies to heed the latest science and be socioeconomically equitable and just. She is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will be attending the U.N. climate talks in Sharm El-Sheikh from November 12-19. Click here for Kreilick’s biography. Her latest blogposts can be found here.
Dr. Rachel Cleetus, the policy director and a lead economist of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS
Dr. Cleetus works with lawmakers to develop effective and equitable climate and clean energy policies at the state, national and international level. She has been attending the U.N.’s international climate talks and has partnered with the international community on climate and energy policies for more than 15 years. Dr. Cleetus can discuss the U.S. NDC, reducing heat-trapping emissions from the power sector, the national and global implications of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act and infrastructure law, risks and costs of climate change impacts, loss and damage, international climate finance, relevant climate change reports including those from the IPCC and the International Energy Agency, and increasing resilience to climate change. She is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will be attending the U.N. climate talks in Sharm El-Sheikh from November 5-20. Click here for Dr. Cleetus’ biography. Her latest blogposts can be found here.
Dr. Delta Merner, the lead for the Science Hub for Climate Litigation at UCS
Dr. Merner provides scientific evidence to support legal cases that hold fossil fuel companies accountable for climate-related damages and deceptive practices. As the lead for the Science Hub for Climate Litigation at UCS, she also connects legal teams with scientists working at the intersection of climate science and law. She is based in Baltimore, Maryland, and will be attending the U.N. climate talks in Sharm El-Sheikh from November 7-18. Click here for Dr. Merner’s biography. Her latest blogposts can be found here.
Other UCS Experts Available in the United States:
Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel, the director of climate science and a senior climate scientist at UCS
Dr. Ekwurzel researches the influence of major carbon producers on rising global average temperatures, sea levels, and ocean acidification; the effect of global warming on the Arctic; and the costs of climate inaction. She is a co-author of the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment and the book Cooler, Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living. In addition to the aforementioned topics, Dr. Ekwurzel can discuss climate impacts such as sea level rise, hurricanes, wildfires and drought; climate change adaption; recent climate change reports; protecting cultural heritage sites from worsening climate change impacts; and practical climate solutions. She is based in Washington, D.C., and can take media requests remotely. Click here for Dr. Ekwurzel’s biography. Her latest blogposts can be found here.
Dr. Rachel Licker, a principal climate scientist at UCS
Dr. Licker analyzes new developments in climate science; communicates climate science to policymakers, the public, and the media; and works to defend climate science budgets and programs. She previously served as a foreign affairs officer with the U.S. Department of State managing its work with the Global Environment Facility trust fund and was a chapter scientist and contributing author with the IPCC’s Working Group II. In addition to the aforementioned topics, Dr. Licker can discuss international climate finance; the influence of major carbon producers on rising global average temperatures, sea levels, and ocean acidification; climate change impacts; carbon removal; and climate migration. She is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and can take media requests remotely. Click here for Dr. Licker’s biography. Her latest blogposts can be found here.
Adam Markham, the deputy director of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS
Markham has several decades of experience with international climate policy, and currently works with policymakers to spur action to safeguard national parks, protected areas, and natural and cultural heritage site around the globe from worsening climate change impacts. He is an internationally recognized expert on the climate change impacts and resilience strategies at UNESCO World Heritage sites. Markham is based in Wilton, Connecticut, and can take media requests remotely. Click here for Markham’s biography. His latest blogposts can be found here.
Kathy Mulvey, the accountability campaign director of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS
Mulvey leads the fossil fuel company accountability campaign at UCS, which guides engagement with corporate targets, builds national and international coalitions, and mobilizes experts and activists to hold companies responsible for deceptive practices and their role in the climate crisis. She works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and can take media requests remotely. Click here for Mulvey’s biography. Her latest blogposts can be found here.
Dr. Shaina Sadai, Hitz climate postdoctoral fellow at UCS
Dr. Sadai researches future sea level rise, Antarctic ice sheet instability and climate feedbacks, climate justice, and corporate accountability for climate impacts. In addition, Dr. Sadai can discuss sea level rise and climate justice within the context of the Paris Agreement and the COP26 Methane Pledge. She is based in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and can take media requests remotely. Her latest publications can be found here.
To many, the climate negotiations appear to be stuck, how do we unlock progress on loss and damage?
What: This side event brings together representatives from climate-impacted communities, key negotiators from climate-vulnerable countries, and climate lawyers to discuss how to make progress on loss and damage in the negotiations and what can be done to further accelerate action under the Paris Agreement.
When: Thursday, November 17, 2022, from 6:30-8 p.m. EET
Where: Blue Zone in the COP27 venue. Exact location and livestreaming information TBD.
Who: Speakers from the Union of Concerned Scientists, German Watch, Climate Litigation Accelerator at New York University Law School, Bangladesh, St. Lucia, and Practical Action.
Relevant UCS Analyses and Resources:
- “Too Hot to Work: Assessing the Threats Climate Change Poses to Outdoor Workers,” January 2022 in Elementa (link)
- “A Transformative Climate Action Framework: Putting People at the Center of Our Nation’s Clean Energy Transition,” July 2021 (link)
- “Attributing ocean acidification to major carbon producers,” December 2019 in Environmental Research Letters (link)
- “U.S. Military on the Frontlines of Extreme Heat,” November 2019 (link)
- “Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days,” July 2019 in Environmental Research Communication (link)
- “The Science Connecting Extreme Weather to Climate Change,” June 2018 (link)
- “Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate,” June 2018 (link)
- “The rise in global atmospheric CO2, surface temperature, and sea level from emissions traced to major carbon producers,” September 2017 in Climatic Change (link)
- “When Rising Seas Hit Home: Hard Choices Ahead for Hundreds of U.S. Coastal Communities,” July 2017 in Elementa (link)
- “The U.S. Military on the Frontlines of Rising Seas: Growing Exposure to Coastal Flooding at East and Gulf Coast Military Bases,” July 2016 (link)
- “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate,” May 2016 (link)
- “Lights Out? Storm Surge, Blackouts, and How Clean Energy Can Help,” October 2015 (link)
- “The Climate Deception Dossiers: Internal Fossil Fuel Industry Memos Reveal Decades of Corporate Disinformation,” June 2015 (link)