Converging on Copenhagen

December 8, 2009

Professor Kelly Sims Gallagher, students, and researchers from The Fletcher School at Tufts University are Converging on Copenhagen for the COP15 climate change negotiations.  Many are associated with Fletcher’s new Energy, Climate, and Innovation research program in the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.  For a list of who’s going and what they are focusing on there, see below.  We’ll be blogging from Copenhagen on the specific issues identified with each researcher.

Some of us on our way to the Bella Center (From left: Ted Mathys, Tillman Liebert, Kelly Sims Gallagher, Carlos Munos, Nick Davidson, Hengwei Liu, and Mukhtar Amin

Kelly Sims Gallagher, Associate Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy, Director, Energy, Climate, and Innovation Program (ECI), Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Professor Gallagher focuses on energy and climate policy in both the United States and China. She is particularly interested in the role of policy in spurring the development and deployment of cleaner and more efficient energy technologies, domestically and internationally.  Her focus at climate change negotiations is on technology transfer and finance, and the role of China in the negotiations.  She is the recent author of “Breaking the Climate Impasse With China: A Global Solution”, available at

Mukhtar Amin, Graduate Student, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Mr. Amin is researching how African countries have fared in international environmental negotiations.  In most cases, they have aligned themselves with the G77.  While this alignment has brought some benefits (for instance, more attention is now paid to adaptation issues, thanks in large part to the efforts of the G77), it has also expressly fallen short of core interests of the continent.  He is currently looking into whether African countries would be better off by forming a distinct block with a distinct negotiating position that is meaningfully different from the G77 block.  If so, what would be the defining elements that make such a negotiating position distinctly African?

Carlos Munoz Brenes, Graduate Student, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Mr. Munoz’s research is focused on the connections between conservation, sustainable development goals, and climate change.  He is assessing how forest-related multilateral environmental agreements, in particular the ongoing climate change negotiations on REDD, affect institutions at the national level to promote conservation and environmental policy actions.  Understanding the connections between domestic institutional arrangements and the international climate change framework helps to identify real opportunities from climate change mitigation through (i) reversing forest ecosystem services (ES) decline and (ii) the sustainable management of the agro-forestry landscape.

Nicholas Davidson, Graduate Student, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Mr. Davidson is investigating the evolution of carbon markets.  He is specifically researching how the creation of a sectoral crediting mechanism will evolve from the current offset markets (CDM) and what the implications for carbon markets in East Asia might be.  He is looking into how this will affect the supply-side of carbon credits (case study of Chinese electricity generation from cement manufacturing) and the demand-side (Japan’s evolving carbon market).

Travis Franck, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Dr. Franck is researching the regulatory, technological, and public policy hurdles for carbon capture with algae.  In addition to algal carbon capture, his research interests include the dynamics of climate policy and the implications of delaying action, important environmental and economic feedbacks in climate adaptation, building more climate robust communities, and uncertainty analysis of carbon permit pricing.  Travis is also a member of Climate Interactive <>, which is developing the C-ROADS simulator, a decision support tool designed to help the UNFCCC negotiations remain grounded in the science of climate change.

Andrew Freedman, Graduate Student, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Mr. Freedman is an environmental journalist working primarily on issues related to climate change.

Tilmann Liebert, Graduate Student, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Mr. Liebert is investigating the extent to which the level of ambition in a country’s climate policy is correlated with the competitiveness of the country’s renewable energy industries.  To the extent that there is correlation, he is exploring how those industries are affecting climate change policy domestically and internationally.  He aims to explain negotiation outcomes as a result of how competitiveness has been framed – as a facilitator or rather as a barrier to ambitious climate change policy agreements.  He is looking into what is needed (rules, incentives, etc.) for climate change policies to be perceived by private actors as opportunities for enhancing their competitiveness, as well as what role competitiveness plays in determining a country’s negotiation position regarding QELROs/NAMAs in post-Kyoto negotiations.

Hengwei Liu, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Dr. Liu’s current research focuses on advanced coal and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology policy in China. He has been involved in a wide range of national and international initiatives and projects, including Carbon Mitigation Initiative (BP); National Alternative Energy Strategy of China (NDRC); National Planning of Technology & National Mid- and Long-term Energy*Equipment of Coal-chemical Industry (NDRC); Strategy of China (CAE); Promotion of the IGCC Technology in China for Power and Fuel Production (Energy Foundation); Sustainable Urban Mobility (NDRC&BP); COACH (EU). He will be focused on technology transfer, the role of China, and the potential impact of Copenhagen on the technological trajectory for CCS globally.

Ted Mathys, Graduate Student, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Mr. Mathys is investigating the social effects of climate change policy implementation and technology deployment in the developing world.  Specifically, he is exploring how informal labor economies and informal actors in poor countries are bolstered, suppressed, or otherwise ignored in the formulation and implementation of climate policy.

Odette Mucha, Graduate Student, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Ms. Mucha is looking into how corporations are responding to international climate policies, and whether corporations are more likely to cut carbon emissions if dictated by international and/or national policies or if left to determine their own voluntary measures.

Aaron Strong, Graduate Student, The Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Mr. Strong is researching the technical complexities of monitoring, reporting, and verification of carbon emissions, including the appropriate accounting of carbon across sectors of the economy.  He is looking into the factors that have led to original carbon accounting errors and why such carbon accounting errors have persisted in subsequent legislative proposals.  He is looking to discover if the institutionalized distinctions between various emissions sectors are the direct, proximal causes of such accounting errors.  He seeks to understand the complexities of the interactions of scientific information and scientific uncertainty with the politics of climate change negotiations and policy development.  He is also following the “bunker fuels” issue.


One Response to “Converging on Copenhagen”

  1. Barbara Lee Says:

    I really like this blog. Please continue the great work. Regards!!!

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