Global Environmental Politics

Master's Degree Programs in Global Environmental Policy and in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development


GEP Alum Published in Foreign Policy

2009 GEP alum Ma Tianjie has been published in Foreign Policy! His article, “China’s New Megacity: The Anti-Beijing,” discusses the April 1st resolution issued by the the government to develop a new mega city similar to Shenzhen and Shanghai’s Pudong New District. The development of the new area, Xiong’an, is changing the image of Beijing and is an attempt to alleviate the “megacity disease.” Learn more and check out this fascinating piece here!


DC & Costa Rica: The NRSD Dual Degree Program

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The Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (NRSD) dual degree program is a great opportunity for students to experience the vibrant city of Washington DC and the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

This semester, seven NRSD students are at the United Nations Mandated University for Peace, our partner university. Courses this semester range from climate change governance to research methods to food security. The university is very diverse, making classroom discussions loaded with different perspectives and challenging each student to think outside of the box.

While not in class, our students have enjoyed visiting the Poás and Arenal Volcanoes, the magical blue Celeste River, and countless beautiful beaches. They even participated in the San Jose Women’s March (check out this video made by student Emily Moore!). The warm weather and host families have welcomed our students as they enjoy two semesters filled with learning and traveling. Upcoming destinations include Panama, Belize, Nicaragua, and Guatemala!

We wish the best of luck to our students as they continue on this incredible journey. Pura vida!

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Photo Credit: Emily Moore


SIS scholar works to protect climate and human rights

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SIS Scholar in Residence and co-director of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, Wil Burns, discusses his advocacy for a human rights based approach to climate geoengineering in a recent SIS news article. Burns wrote a report in October, “The Paris Agreement and Climate Geoengineering Governance: The Need for a Human Rights-Based Component,” that articulated a human rights mechanism for the Paris Agreement after he “became interested in how to minimize the effects of [climate change responses] on populations and ensure that those populations have a voice in any decision making that occurs.” Read Anthony DiFlorio’s full article below.

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Fourth Al-Moumin Award and Distinguished Lecture on Environmental Peacebuilding

dsc_0315Last Thursday some of our GEP students had the pleasure of attending the Fourth Al-Moumin Award and Distinguished Lecture on Environmental Peacebuilding at the Environmental Law Institute, sponsored by both American University and the United Nations Environment Program. This year’s award was given to Ambassador Marie G. Jacobsson, Special Rapporteur for the United Nations International Law Commission and Principle Legal Advisor on International Law for the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Jacobsson has worked for three years with the International Law Commission on the topic Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict, and shared with the audience some of the takeaways from her most recent report, including the importance of addressing environmental harm that results from armed conflict, the limitations of modern international law on the issue, and the overlap with human rights and refugee law. AU Professor Ken Conca provided commentary, discussing the positive aspects of international law leading to the diffusion of the best practices and leading through standardization. The Al-Moumin award acknowledges leaders in the field of environmental peacebuilding, and Ambassador Jacobsson is well deserving of the recognition.


Briefing Paper on Climate Engineering

Our GEP director Simon Nicholson has helped to put out a new briefing report on climate engineering along with David Morrow, faculty-in-residence with the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, and Janos Pasztor, senior advisor to the UN Secretary General on Climate Change. Read the summary below or click the link to read the whole article!

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The push for 100 percent renewables: Tallying corporate progress

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An example of the great work of AU SIS graduates! Read Joshua Kaplan’s article, “The push for 100 percent renewables: Tallying corporate progress,” originally published on GreenBiz, below. Josh received degrees from American University in sustainability management and environmental studies, and currently is a Program Officer with WWF’s Renewable Energy program; he is involved in working with WWF’s business partners to create innovative approaches to scaling up renewable energy cost-effectively.

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