In celebration of Earth Day, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future, and GRoW@Annenberg hosted a series of conversations around advancing climate change issues. A slate of political figures, academics, scientists, policy, and industry experts addressed climate change through the lenses of social justice, business, communication, and politics as we looked ahead to the priorities of President Biden’s Administration. Each of the four days focused on a different policy area that is critical to advancing climate change solutions.
In partnership with the USC Office of Sustainability, Staff Assembly Environment and Safety Committee, USC Dornsife Environmental Studies Program, USC Employee Gateway, and Unruh Associates.
Panelists discussed the often disproportionate harm of climate change in underserved communities. Is access to clean air and water a human rights issue? How can people living near gross polluters gain sufficient political power to protect their health? What enforcement mechanisms exist to prevent man-made climate catastrophes from happening? Are those tools sufficient to protect vulnerable communities? How are these issues affected by related issues of housing, economic disparity, infrastructure shortages, and energy expenses?
Leaders in the business sector discussed actions being taken to address the social, economic, and environmental risks posed by climate change. What is the role of business in contributing to climate change? Is there sufficient profit motivation for business to pursue more climate-friendly practices, and how does that profit motive square with company culture and corporate missions? Panelists will examine the real constraints on business that keep them from doing more, and potential means to overcome them.
In a time where climate change has become a partisan issue, how can we communicate the urgency of environmental legislation and encourage bipartisan support? Why are red and blue states seeing climate change differently? How should communication on climate change vary based on the audience? Are government agencies and international bodies communicating effectively to conservatives?
After launching LA’s Green New Deal, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% and to lead LA to become the No. 1 solar city in the country. Recently, a majority of the USC Academic Senate voted in favor of divesting $277 million in fossil fuel assets. How should Southern California move forward on climate issues? What are the roles of local institutions and leaders in reducing the impact of climate change.
CLICK HERE to watch the video for "Climate Forward 2021: Day 4- Legislative Roundtable: Climate Change in L.A. 4/23/2021".
Click here for a summary of the entire Climate Forward 2021 conference by Aleena Parikh, the 2021 Summer Research Intern for the USC Center for the Political Future and the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies.