Sustainability & The Environment

What’s Changed 5 Years After the Paris Agreement? Insights from the COP26 Summit

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The persistent and complex issue of climate change is at the epicenter of political debate, and scientists and activists continue to warn that this may be the last chance to prevent irreversible environmental catastrophe. The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, took place this month in Glasgow, Scotland, with more than 180 countries. International leaders, including President Joe Biden, led discussions on how our world can better mitigate the escalating crisis.

At the crucial intersection of politics and climate change, USC Center for the Political Future (CPF) Co-Directors Bob Shrum and Mike Murphy ask, why was China absent from the COP26? How will India keep its mighty promise to cut its emission by 2070 to net zero? Which countries abided to their obligations? What are the ramifications and punishments for the countries that didn’t keep their pledge?

The panel features Monalisa Chatterjee, assistant professor of environmental studies at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Shannon Gibson, associate professor of international relations and environmental studies at USC Dornsife; Robert O’ Brien, professor of political science at McMaster University and (Incoming) Fulbright Research Chair of Public Diplomacy at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Who Will Benefit

– Environmentalists hoping to uncover which countries abided by their pledge to improve climate change
– Those who want to better understand the developments and ramifications of the COP26 climate summit
– Sustainability experts looking to uncover the new obligations made by different countries

About Our Featured Faculty

Shannon Gibson is an associate professor (teaching) of international relations and environmental studies at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on the role of civil and “uncivil” society participation in transnational politics. As part of her dissertation, “Dynamics of Radicalization: The Rise of Radical Environmentalism against Climate Change,” she conducted field and participant observation research at a variety of international summits, including the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Cancun and Paris in order to assess the impact of environmental social movements and activist networks. She received her PhD in international studies from the University of Miami.

Mike Murphy is the co-director of the Center for the Political Future at USC. Murphy is one of the Republican Party’s most successful political media consultants, having handled strategy and advertising for more than 26 successful gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns. His record in helping Republicans win Democratic states is unmatched by any other GOP consultant. Murphy has been called a “media master” by Fortune magazine, the GOP’s “hottest media consultant” by Newsweek, and the leader of a “new breed” of campaign consultants by Congressional Quarterly. He is a widely known political pundit, appearing frequently on NBC, CNN and NPR. Previously, he served as a regular on the Meet the Press political roundtable and wrote the “Murphy’s Law” column for TIME Magazine.

Monalisa Chatterjee is an assistant professor of environmental studies sat USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She is a geographer with expertise in adaptation and environment policy. Previously, she worked as the Adaptation Lead in the science team of the Technical Support Unit with the Working Group II Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. She has also worked as an environment policy analyst with Human Development Report Office at UNDP, New York. She completed her bachelor’s from Miranda House, University of Delhi and her master’s from Delhi School of Economics. She holds a PhD from Rutgers University, New Jersey.

Robert “Bob” Shrum is the director of the Center for the Political Future and the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at USC Dornsife. A legendary political strategist, he was described as “the most sought-after consultant in the Democratic Party,” by The Atlantic Monthly. He was the strategist in over 25 winning U.S. Senate campaigns, eight successful campaigns for governor, successful campaigns for mayors in major American cities, and numerous campaigns for Congress and other statewide offices. His numerous clients included Edward Kennedy, Joe Biden, John Glenn, and Barbara Mikulski, David Dinkins and Tom Bradley — and John Kerry and Al Gore in their presidential races. Overseas his clients included Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the British Labour Party, the Prime Minister of Ireland, and the Presidents of Colombia and Bolivia.