Climate Forward: Navigating the Politics of Climate Change

Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 9:00am to 5:30pm

This is a past event.

Town and Gown (TGF)
665 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90089

USC Dornsife Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies partnered with the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future and USC Price Schwarzenegger Institute for a conference titled "Climate Forward: Navigating the Politics of Climate Change" on April 4, 2019 at the University of Southern California.

The purpose was not to discuss the overwhelming scientific evidence or to reinforce the scientific consensus on this issue. Instead, our goal was to bring academics, scientists, journalists, and political practitioners together to examine the challenges to making political progress in addressing climate change, and to explore measures that governments at every level, the international community, and the private sector, can successfully take to mitigate the effects of climate change, despite current political obstacles.

More information at the Climate Forward conference website.

View all photos from the conference here.

Watch the conference highlight video here.

Read the Climate Forward Resolution.

9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Keynote Address (watch video )
Opening remarks from Dean Amber Miller, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a keynote address on the politics of climate change at Bovard Auditorium.  An architect of the Paris Climate Accord, Secretary Kerry shared his experience negotiating global action on this issue and his vision for future progress.

10:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. "The Political Climate" (watch video )
This panel addressed the political climate surrounding this issue and the political, economic and cultural barriers to achieving proactive climate change solutions.

  • Kevin de León - President pro Tempore Emeritus, California State Senate
  • Henry Elkus - Founder and CEO, Helena
  • Lisa Friedman - Climate Reporter, New York Times
  • Julien Emile-Geay - Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, USC Dornsife
  • Bob Inglis - Former U.S. Representative, South Carolina 

Moderated by Robert Shrum, Co-Director, USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

12:30 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. Keynote Address from Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles (watch video )
The 42nd mayor of  Los Angeles discussed combating climate change at the city level.

1:00 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. "Global Action" (watch video)
This panel examined politically realistic solutions to climate change that nations across the world can take, should take and are taking to mitigate climate change and its impact.

  • Gordon Brown - Former Prime Minister, United Kingdom
  • Ambassador Luis Alfonso De Alba - UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit 
  • Mario J. Molina - Nobel and Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement Laureate, Chemist
  • Terry Tamminem - CEO, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Moderated by Steven Lamy, Director, USC Dornsife Task Force for Global and Political Studies

2:30 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. "States and Cities" (watch video)
This panel explored what can be feasibly achieved in the U.S. by states and cities acting on their own and in cooperation with each other, and how these efforts can advance change at a broader level.

  • Carlos Curbelo - Former U.S. Representative, Florida 26th District 
  • Catharine Baker - Former California State Assemblywoman, 16th District 
  • Paulina Oliva - Associate Professor of Economics, USC Dornsife
  • Fran Pavley - Former California State Senator and Representative
  • Christine Todd Whitman - Former New Jersey Governor; Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

Moderated by Conan Nolan, Chief Political Reporter and  “News Conference” Anchor, NBC4 Southern California

4:00 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. "Private Sector Solutions" (watch video
This panel explored the role of the private sector in responding to climate change, and will explore potential economic gains from and incentives for environmentally responsible actions.

  • Antonio Bento - Director, USC Center for Sustainability Solutions 
  • Pat Brown - Founder and CEO, Impossible Foods
  • Steve Fabijanski - President and CEO Agrisoma Biosciences
  • Bill Shireman - President and CEO, Future 500 
  • Rich Sorkin - CEO and Co-Founder, Jupiter Intelligence

Moderated by Mike Murphy, Co-Director, USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

Event Type



Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


University Park Campus


Dornsife, Wrigley Institute, cpf, Schwarzenegger Institute, dornsife events


Center for the Political Future


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