As 197 countries, in addition to hundreds of activists, scientists and industry representatives, gather in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 6-18 for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), CU Boulder experts in climate change science and policy are available to discuss what’s on the agenda, what’s at stake and what likely outcomes may be from this year’s event. They can also give context to the work still ahead of us to maintain a healthy, stable planet. 

Topics below are as follows:

COP27 marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), originally adopted in 1992 by the 197 countries who meet for this annual United Nations conference. 

COP27 and climate policy

Max Boykoff, professor in environmental studies and fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), is attending COP27 in person for its second week. He has attended six previous UNFCCC conferences and was a Working Group III author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, published in April of 2022. He can speak about the societal considerations and implications involved in the negotiations at COP27, effective and creative climate communication, and his work monitoring media coverage of climate change as part of the Media and Climate Change Observatory (MeCCO).

Colleen Scanlan Lyons, associate research professor in environmental studies and project director for the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, is attending COP27 in person for its second week. The GCF Task Force, a project out of CU Boulder’s Institute of Behavioral Science with a global secretariat hosted between CU Boulder and UCLA, facilitates subnational leadership to reduce deforestation and advance inclusive, equitable, low-emissions development in states and provinces and across entire regions. Lyons can discuss carbon markets, indigenous local involvement in forest conservation, the impacts of recent elections in Brazil and other tropical states, as well as governmental policies and subnational governmental leadership for forest conservation and sustainable development.

Marilyn Averill, senior fellow with the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment at the University of Colorado Law School, has been following and attending the UNFCCC climate negotiations since 2003. She is a member of the steering committee for the Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations (RINGOs), one of the nine civil society constituencies to the UNFCCC secretariat—and was recently a speaker on the second of three webinars about the UNFCCC. She can speak to the history of this annual gathering and how it operates, what it has previously accomplished in the realm of climate change policy and action, and the upcoming issues at the 2022 event.

Mark C. Serreze is a distinguished professor of geography, a fellow of the CU Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). He specializes in Arctic climate research, and has testified on the topic before the U.S. Congress, as well as is a frequent media contact on issues of climate and climate change. He can discuss what COP27 could mean for the Arctic, and his research, which has increasingly focused on making sense of the rapid environmental changes unfolding in the Arctic and what they mean for the rest of the planet.

Law and politics

Matt Burgess, assistant professor of environmental studies, faculty affiliate of economics and fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), where he directs the Center for Social and Environmental Futures. He can speak about the economics and politics of climate change, especially its political polarization. His recent publications analyze successes and failures of bipartisanship on climate in the U.S., climate change scenarios, challenges in environmental management, and why it’s time to stop defining a nation’s success through economic growth. He will moderate a youth bipartisanship discussion on climate solutions at the Right Here, Right Now UN Human Rights Climate Summit on December 4, 2022, and he moderated a Congressional bipartisanship discussion at CU Boulder on April 14, 2022.  

Kristen Carpenter is a professor of law and director of the American Indian Law Program at the University of Colorado Law School. Carpenter served two terms as the North American member of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and she currently teaches and writes in the areas of American Indian law, human rights law and Indigenous Peoples in international law. She can discuss the impacts of climate change on Indigenous Peoples and representation of Indigenous Peoples at COP27.

Mark Squillace, professor of natural resources law and former lawyer at the U.S. Department of the Interior, can speak to legal issues which may arise at COP27. Such as, the challenge of holding countries accountable for agreements and decisions made at COP27, which have no legal binding until they are ratified or adopted by individual nations after the conference. 

Conservation and resilience

Joel Hartter, professor and director of professional programs in environmental studies (Outdoor Recreation Economy and Masters of the Environment), is a geographer who specializes in human dimensions of global change. His research and expertise range from biodiversity and conservation to sustainable and economic development, as well as decarbonization and low-carbon development pathways in Africa. He can also speak about sustainability strategies and policy for business, communities and cities. 

Damien Thompson, Sustainable Food Systems Specialization Lead in the Masters of the Environment Graduate Program at CU Boulder and a mayor-appointed member of the Sustainable Food Policy Council for the City of Denver, Colorado, can discuss food systems and agriculture. 

William Shutkin, Urban Resilience & Sustainability Specialization Lead in the Masters of the Environment Graduate Program at CU Boulder, is also Editor in Chief of the Journal of Climate Resilience and Climate Justice, a new open access, online journal for practitioners, policymakers and researchers with MIT Press. He can speak about urban climate resilience and net zero urban development.

Right Here, Right Now news conference

On Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. local time (GMT+2), UN Human Rights, CU Boulder and Right Here Right Now will host a news conference about the upcoming Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit. The virtual and in-person summit on Dec. 1-4, 2022 will bring together top thinkers and experts on climate change and human rights, including youth activists, business leaders and journalists from around the world, to discuss tangible policy commitments and actions that people from all walks of life can take to address this global threat that disproportionately affects the world’s most vulnerable people. 

The press conference will be led by summit co-chair James Anaya, Distinguished Professor and Nicholas Doman Professor of International Law at CU Boulder.

Please reach out to to set up an interview.