Global Environmental Politics

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


World Environment Day: Three Questions for Ken Conca

This post, featuring Professor Ken Conca of the Global Environmental Politics Program, originally appeared on the American University website

The United Nations World Environment Day on June 5 is meant to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment. We asked Professor Ken Conca, author of the forthcoming book, An Unfinished Foundation: The United Nations and Global Environmental Governance, to reflect on environmental progress and challenges:

Q: The World Environment Day theme this year is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” What does the United Nations hope to highlight this year?

Each year, the United Nations underscores a specific theme on World Environment Day. This year, the emphasis is on the responsible management of natural resources. Particular attention is being paid to actions people around the world can take—cutting down on food waste, conserving energy, shifting to renewables, and using water wisely. Continue reading

Chris Ververis Photo


Chris Ververis: GEP Students tour West Wing of White House

West Wing Tour 2015

Global Environmental Policy students pictured left to right: Kristine Smith, Chris Ververis, Theo Wilson, Elisa Wilkinson.

Written by Chris Ververis (GEP Class of ’16)

On March 15, 2015, four GEP students took a tour of the West Wing of the White House. The tour included the Rose Garden, Cabinet Room, Roosevelt Room, Oval Office, and the Press Briefing Room (pictured). Chris Ververis was an intern in Spring 2015 for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Public Engagement, and had the opportunity to invite a few other other students on a rare tour of the West Wing. Continue reading

Sharad Ghimire


Sharad Ghimire: The Other CO2 Problem: Lecture with Dr. Wil Burns

Written by Sharad Ghimire (GEP Class of ’16)

On January 28th, 2015 international environmental law scholar Dr. Wil Burns delivered a lecture on ocean acidification, what some scientists have called the greatest threat oceans face today. In addition to the impact of global climate change on the world’s biodiversity, rising levels of oceanic CO2 concentration have direct impacts on ocean chemistry and marine species. Dr. Burns discussed the science of ocean acidification, its impacts on marine species and expanded on potential ways to use international regimes to find solutions and on the direction of future research. Continue reading


Published: Professor Sikina Jinnah and PhD student Abby Lindsey

Professor Sikina Jinnah and PhD student Abby Lindsey have been published in the January (2015) issue of Review of Policy Research.  The issue is also a special issue on transboundary natural resource governance in North America.

Their “paper examines how overlap between trade and environmental issues are managed under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and specifically the role that the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Secretariat plays in this process.” Continue reading

Sikina Jinnah


New Book: Post-treaty Politics: Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance

Sikina Jinnah, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the School of International Service, is the author of a new book, Post-treaty Politics: Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance, published by MIT Press.  Often ignored by scholars of international relations, the book shows how secretariats help to manage the dense interplay of issues, rules, and norms between inPost-Treaty Politics Book Coverternational treaty regimes in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, and international trade.

UPDATE: MIT Press asked Dr. Jinnah some questions about her new book as part of their blog series “Five Minutes” Their questions and Dr. Jinnah’s responses can be found by clicking here. 

Continue reading

Sikina Jinnah


Sikina Jinnah: The US and China Strike a Bilateral Climate Deal

This post was written by Sikina Jinnah, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the School of International Service.  

The US and China Strike a Bilateral Climate Deal

Last week President Obama surprised the world in announcing a new bilateral climate deal with China. Central to the agreement, the US pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, and China agreed to peak its emissions around 2030 and increase its non-fossil fuel share of energy to 20% by 2030. Although these pledges are not nearly enough to avoid the dangerous anthropogenic impacts of climate change, they mark a substantial improvement over the status quo and breathe new life into the ailing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations as countries prepare to meet in Paris, France in just over a year to hammer out a new climate agreement for the post-2020 period.

Continue reading