All seminars will be virtual and held from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (ET) unless otherwise noted.

Advance registration required


February 10: "Leading with the International” and the Stringency Gap Between Nations’ Outward-Looking and Domestic Climate Policies 
Todd A. Eisenstadt and Jennifer Lopez, American University

As the climate crisis reaches epic levels, analysts have noted an ambition gap widening between international climate policy (what countries claim in international fora) and domestic climate policy (what they enact at home). This article, written by Todd Eisenstadt and Jennifer Lopez, reinforces the notion that nations tend to “lead with the international,” demonstrating that “outward-facing” international climate policy adheres to a logic consistent with mitigating the climate crisis, whereas the same nations’ “inward-facing” domestic climate policy does not follow such a clear logic. 

February 24: The European Union as Exemplary Mitigator: Best of a Bad Lot? 
Claire Dupont, Ghent University

Join Professors Claire Dupont, Dave Huitema, and Lisa Dellmuth as they discuss 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. This seminar concludes with a discussion on the European Green Deal, which could potentially lead to the EU’s role as a climate mitigator becoming more aligned with the need for further development on adaptation policy. 

March 17: Loss and Damage as the Third Pillar of Climate Action 

Adelle Thomas, Climate Analytics/University of the Bahamas

This chapter charts the development of loss and damage policy within the UNFCCC and shows how slow progress at the international scale has resulted in limited – but critically needed – national policies focused on loss and damage, particularly in the Global South.  As climate impacts escalate due to inadequate mitigation and adaptation, loss and damage policy is an already overdue and increasingly essential component of climate action.  

Discussants: Kelly Crawford, Assistant Director, Washington DC Department of Energy & Environment and Lisanne Groen, Open Universiteit, Department of Environmental Sciences and Institute for European Studies, Brussels School of Governance, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels

March 31: Understanding China’s Approach to Climate Mitigation
Joanna I. Lewis, Georgetown University and Laura Edwards, Center for American Progress 

The Chinese government has a mixed track record on tackling climate change. Recently, the Chinese government has included climate goals in key domestic planning documents and international pledges, such as the 14th Five Year Plan and revised NDC, yet Chinese officials continue to insist that fossil fuels are still the bedrock of China’s energy security approach. . In this webinar we explore the political, economic, and technical contradictions in China’s approach to reducing emissions. China has made many strides toward decarbonization,  but 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.

April 14: Vulnerability, Climate-Change Laws, and Adaptation in the Middle East and North Africa – Maboudi and Elisa D’Amico, Loyola University Chicago


As climate related disasters have grown more frequent and severe, climate-related laws and regulations to protect the climate vulnerable have also become more commonplace (Shue 2014, Skillington 2017, Toussaint and Martinez Blanco 2019). Under pressure from international institutions and lenders, many “climate-change producing” (oil exporters) and “emission receiving” (poor, non-oil rich) states in the Middle East and North Africa have hastened to adopt new laws and regulations to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change, but without the institutional capacity or the resources to do so. This chapter asks two core questions: First, under what conditions do these states tend to adopt climate-change laws and regulations? More specifically, is vulnerability to climate change-related events (particularly drought and flood) a predictor of the strength of adopted laws? Second, does the adoption of these laws have any impact of these nations’ climate change performance? Using both cross-national statistical analysis and case studies, this chapter shows that while vulnerability is a predictor for adoption of climate change-related laws in the region, the adoption of these laws has so far failed to help these nations to mitigate or adapt to climate change. Oil politics and basic development objectives seem to be the key to this failure.

Discussant: Jesse Ribot, American University and Mark Purdon, University of Quebec

April 28: Climate Policy in the United States: Reluctant or Inconsistent Engagement? – Dan Fiorino, American University


The United States has the second-highest level of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, behind only China, and among the highest per capita emissions. For the last eighty years, the US has also been one of the leading economic, military, and diplomatic actors on the world stage. The US is rightly criticized for its inconsistency in national policies and uncertain commitment to mitigating emissions. At the state level, however, significant climate policies have been adopted, and political coalitions supporting climate action exist. How has the US performed on climate mitigation and adaptation overall? What are the prospects for future climate action? It has been inconsistent in adaptation policies as well, with most of the decisions and capability lying with state and local governments. This chapter examines the factors shaping US climate policy at a national and state/local level and the likelihood that an enduring climate coalition will emerge to put the US on a more stable and effective approach to climate mitigation. Speaker is Dan Fiorino, Professor, School of Public Affairs and Director, Center for Environmental Policy, SPA, Dorothy Daley, Professor, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas, Stephen Harper, Global Director of Environmental Policy, Intel Corporation

Moderator: Todd Eisenstadt, Professor of Government and Research Director, Center for Environmental Policy, SPA

May 10: The Global Adaptation Regime: Building Resilience for an Uncertain Future - Thomas Oatley, Tulane University


Adaptation is an increasingly central element of the international community’s climate change strategy. After being marginalized for most of the prior thirty years, the Paris Agreement finally recognized the need for a global approach to adaptation and called on parties to reduce vulnerability and increase social resilience through capacity building, technology transfer, and financial support. This paper explores three dimensions of this new and still developing global adaptation regime. First, the chapter 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 chapter evaluates regime effectiveness, with a particular focus on its ability as designed to accomplish the goals it has set itself. Finally, the chapter 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 chapter concludes by locating the global adaptation regime in the broader discussion about the relationship between adaptation and mitigation.

Discussants: Jakob Skovgaard, Lund University and Jonas Nahm, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

May 12: Who Pays for This? Can Carbon Pricing and Green New Deals be Equitable Solutions? Katja Biedenkopf, Kuleuven


Many economists have strongly promoted carbon pricing policies for a long time. Since the early 1990s, first, carbon taxes and, then, emissions trading systems – which are the main types of carbon pricing policies – slowly diffused across the globe. According to the World Bank, 65 carbon pricing initiatives had been implemented in late 2021, covering 45 nation states and 34 subnational jurisdictions.[1] According to economic theory, carbon pricing policies deliver the most cost-effective climate mitigation solutions. Yet, implementation in practice has turned out much more complicated. One important aspect that requires due attention is equity. Carbon pricing policies increase the costs of carbon-intensive products and services. This can disproportionally affect low-income households that struggle to shift to low-carbon alternatives. For this reason, several policy designs have been developed to cushion and remedy these effects. This chapter 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.

Discussants: Daniela Stevens, Centro de Investigacion y Docenica Economias (CIDE)

May 16: Hard Cases for Climate Policy: Australia and Brazil - Peter Christoff, University of Melbourne;  Joana Castro Pereira, Instituto Português de Relações Internacionais (IPRI) and Eduardo Viola, University of Brasilia


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 will present “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 will present “Neither mitigator nor adapter: Climate neglect and denial in a vulnerable Brazil (2013-2021).” We will consider what such hard cases may tell us about how to design and implement climate mitigation and adaptation policies.

Discussant: Todd Eisenstadt, American University

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