Critical thinking about issues of climate, in particular the intersection of climate science and climate policy, is an essential skill that students learn as part of the broader mission of Emory Climate Talks. Through coursework or real-life experience, students gain experience in presenting climate policy through different mediums. Examples of policy memos, videos and papers that clearly and concisely state the issues, foster understanding and accessibilty to those who may be unfamiliar with the issues.
White Papers & Policy Memos
Atlanta Heat Action Plan: Combatting the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat with a Justice Lens
By Clare McCarthy 23C, 24PH, Environmental Sciences and Community Building & Social Change
Rising global temperatures due to climate change will disproportionately impact cities, like Atlanta, Georgia, because of an exacerbated urban heat island effect. Increasing heat in cities poses an inequitable burden on the health of vulnerable groups, like low-income populations. City and county stakeholders across the world have developed heat preparedness initiatives to protect the health of their populations, but Atlanta does not have any heat action plan in place. Given the health threat of rising heat in Atlanta, what is the heat action plan that can best protect the health of low-income residents from heat?
The Looming Threat to Food Security
By Lauren Balotin 19C, Environmental Sciences and Media Studies
The adverse effects of climate change on food security and malnutrition are growing. Millions of individuals could face physical, emotional, and cognitive hardships due to undernutrition, or deficiency of energy, protein, or essential vitamins and minerals. As the effects of climate change become increasingly clear, the search for appropriate methods of mitigation and adaptation is reaching a critical stage.
More Voice for Indigenous Communities
By Claire Barnes 19C, Religion
Although the United Nations created a platform for indigenous peoples and local communities to get involved in climate change negotiation, the UN has had a history of acting slowly on decisions regarding these communities that only have observer status. If the platform is not broadened, climate policy will lag behind indigenous knowledge, and the UN will create culturally irrelevant policies regarding these communities. Indigenous peoples are often the first to be affected by climate change, but they remain excluded within the highest levels of negotiations.
Negotiating in an English-dominated World
By Orli Hendler 18C, Linguistics and Sustainability
The English language dominates world climate negotiations and creates issues of comfort, fluency and power balance among delegates speaking other languages. Those communicating in a second language may be unable to negotiate effectively or achieve a higher status generally. For those who speak English as a second language, communication in their native languages may find themselves constricted by a limited vocabulary, additional time and effort to write proposals, and frustrations in expressing themselves fully.
Climate Story Maps
Climate & Indigenous Fisheries in the Pacific Northwest
Understanding Article 6
A top agenda item at COP25 to finalize the rules on how countries can reduce their emissions using international carbon markets.
Policy Diffusion of Renewable Energy Targets
Candelaria Bergero 19G, an MS graduate student in Environmental Sciences, interviewed activists involved in renewable energy initiatives and produced a video from her COP conversations. She discussed renewable goals with Bärbel Hön, a member of the German Green Party who was involved in the German transition to renewables, and Duncan Gibb, who produces the Renewables Global Status Report for REN21, an organization that has been tracking targets and regulatory policies since 2005.
Oceans at COP24
Shirley Ma and Lauren Balotin heard from researchers and policymakers at COP24 who discussed the impact of climate change on oceans, ocean acidification, and sea level rise. In this video, they share ideas and perspectives from COP24 on the impact of these issues and ideas for how to address them.
Climate Adaptation in the Pacific Islands (Final Project ENVS 326)
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns.
Rotterdam: A Case Study of Adaptation Infrastructure
Plastic waste generation and emissions from the domestic open burning of plastic waste in Guatemala - Royal Society of Chemistry
By Michelle Bardales Cruz 21C, Eri Saikawa, Mayari Hengstermann, Alexander Ramirez, John P. McCracken and Lisa M. Thompson
Domestic, or household-level, open burning of plastic waste is a source of air pollutants and greenhouse gases that are often neglected in emission inventories. Domestic open burning is a considerable concern in Guatemala due to the lack of access to waste collection services, particularly in rural areas. This paper offers the first attempt to estimate emissions from the domestic open burning of waste at the city and departmental levels in Guatemala.
All roads lead to Paris: The eight pathways to renewable energy target adoption - Journal of Energy Research and Social Science
By Candelaria Bergero 19G, MS in ENVS, and Professors Michael Rich and Eri Saikawa, Emory
About 78% of global greenhouse gas emissions between 1970 and 2010 were due to fossil fuel combustion, increasing the atmospheric mixing ratio of carbon dioxide to around 419 ppm by June 2021. During a similar period, between 1975 and 2017, 162 countries adopted renewable energy targets – official national commitments to increase the share of renewable energies. What induced the diffusion of these renewable energy targets? What are the patterns of their diffusion?
Effectiveness of state climate and energy policies in reducing power-sector CO₂ emissions - Nature Climate Change
By Geoff Martin 17G, MS in ENVS, and Eri Saikawa, PhD
States have historically been the primary drivers of climate change policy in the US, particularly with regard to emissions from power plants. States have implemented policies designed either to directly curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants, or to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy growth. With the federal government withdrawing from the global climate agreement, understanding which state-level policies have successfully mitigated power-plant emissions is urgent.