ISA 2018 Roundtable: Climate Change and the Power to Act

| January 2018
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The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco in fog. Photo Credit: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons

The editors of Ethics & International Affairs are pleased to announce that the journal has organized a roundtable for the 2018 International Studies Association (ISA) annual convention in San Francisco.

Please refer to this page for all details and materials related to the panel. The page will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.


Climate Change and the Power to Act:  An Ethical Approach for Practical Progress


Date & time: Thursday, April 5, 1:45–3:30pm

Room: Union Square 2, Hilton San Francisco Union Square

ISA Program Code: TC49 (full ISA schedule here)



Janos Pasztor (Carnegie Council)



Robyn Eckersley (Univeristy of Melbourne)

Ronald Jumeau (Seychelles Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador to the United States)

Darrel Moellendorf (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Suma Peesapati (Communities for a Better Environment)



Climate change has become one of humanity’s most pressing issues. The challenge is not only environmental and scientific, but more fundamentally is about the way we organize the way we live, consume, and produce.  In other words, climate change is fundamentally an issue of economics and of sustainable development. However, the challenge of climate change is also inherently ethical, involving questions of equity, justice, and fairness. Moreover, the scope of the issue dictates that mitigation, adaptation, and carbon removal efforts must be undertaken on a global scale, yet political realities pose a challenge for international collaboration and coordination. Those most affected by climate change are often the most powerless, and those with power often refuse to take meaningful action.

The broad goal of this roundtable is to foster discussion around how to advance ethical leadership on climate justice globally, nationally, and locally in the years ahead. Central to this challenge is understanding at each of these levels who has the power to act, and in what capacity.



Janos Pasztor is Carnegie Council senior fellow and executive director of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative (C2G2). He has over 35 years of work experience in the areas of energy, environment, climate change, and sustainable development. Before taking up his current assignment he was UN assistant secretary-general for climate change in New York under Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (Full bio here)

Read Janos Pasztor’s work in EIA:
The Need for Governance of Climate Geoengineering,
(Winter 2017 issue, full text)

Watch a video of Janos Pasztor discussing ethics and geoengineering at the Carnegie Council.

Robyn Eckersley is associate professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, where she researches and teaches in the areas of environmental politics, political theory, and global politics. She has served as a member of the Ethics & International Affairs editorial advisory board since 2009. (Full bio here)

Read Robyn Eckersley’s work in EIA:
The Politics of Carbon Leakage and the Fairness of Border Measures
(Winter 2010, abstract only)

Ronald Jumeau is Seychelles’ permanent representative (ambassador) to the United Nations and ambassador to the United States. This is the second time he has been appointed to these posts, as from 2007 until 2012, he was Seychelles’ permanent representative to the United Nations and ambassador to the United States, Canada, Brazil, Cuba, and several Caribbean islands. From 2012 to 2017, he served as his country’s New York-based roving ambassador for climate change and small island developing state issues. Jumeau also serves as a member of the C2G2 advisory group. (Full bio here)

Darrell Moellendorf is professor of international political theory and philosophy at Goethe University-Frankfurt. He has been a member of the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) and a senior fellow at Justitia Amplificata at Goethe Unviersität, Frankfurt and the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften. He has served as a member of the Ethics & International Affairs editorial advisory board since 2010. (Full bio here)

Read Darrel Moellendorf’s work in EIA:
Treaty Norms and Climate Change Mitigation” (Fall 2009, abstract only)

Suma Peesapati is an environmental attorney at Peesapati Law and president of the board of directors for the California-based Communities for a Better Environment. Previously she served as a staff attorney at the Environmental Law Clinic at the UC Irvine School of Law.


Additional EIA resources on ethical leadership and climate change:

Nicholas Chan, “Climate Contributions and the Paris Agreement: Fairness and Equity in a Bottom-Up Architecture,” (Fall 2016). Abstract only.

Steve Vanderheiden, “Coaxing Climate Policy Leadership,” (Winter 2012). Abstract only.

Henry Shue, “Face Reality? After You!–A Call for Leadership on Climate Change” (Spring 2011). Abstract only.


Additional Carnegie Council resources on climate change:

The Earth Institute’s Steven Cohen Offers Hope for a Sustainable Future (video and transcript, June 2017)

Kumi Naidoo on Human Rights and the Impact of Climate Change (video and transcript, September 2016)

Time to Wake Up: A Conversation on Climate Change with U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (video and transcript, June 2016)

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Category: Blog, Climate Change

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