Semi-Plenary Session III

Wednesday, 8 September 2021
15:00 – 16:30 CEST

Climate Governance: New Directions for the ESG Project

Earth System Governance Taskforce on Climate Governance

Prof. Frank Biermann, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University
Prof. Chukwumerije (Chuks) Okereke, Centre for Climate Change and Development in Alex Ekwueme Federal University
Dr. Kyla Tienhaara, Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment at Queen’s University

The threat of climate disruption is one of the defining political and societal challenges of our time. Given the current blatant failure of global climate policies, it is crucial for the Earth System Governance research community to refocus attention on climate governance, take a more visible role, and chart new paths for research and policy engagement. To strengthen its work on this important challenge, the Earth System Governance Project has launched a new Taskforce on Climate Governance that will function as an institutional focal point to galvanize climate policy research within the Earth System Governance community and beyond. The Taskforce will seek to tackle the dual political and social science challenge of effective and just climate policy, by drawing on the conceptual and theoretical diversity of the network’s fellows, together with broad expertise on other planetary socio-ecological systems beyond climate, such as biodiversity and oceans, and cross-cutting themes such as earth system law, democracy and justice. In this Semi-plenary session, the three Taskforce convenors will lay out the initial research programme and work plan. The Semi-plenary will also offer ample space for participants to share their views, to suggest additional research questions, and to become engaged in the new taskforce.

Panel Speakers

Prof. Frank Biermann is a research professor of Global Sustainability Governance with the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He was the founder and first chair (2008-2018) of the Earth System Governance Project, a leading global transdisciplinary research network of sustainability scholars. He currently directs a 2.5-million EUR research programme on the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals, supported by a European Research Council ‘Advanced Grant’. He is also the editor of the ESG Project’s flagship journal, Earth System Governance, and co-editor of the three ESG book series with MIT and Cambridge University Presses.

Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke is the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike; a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Reading UK and Senior Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford.  He is a globally recognized leading scholar on global climate governance and international development with expertise in climate justice, national green growth transition in Africa, climate adaptation, business climate strategies, environmental policy, advising governments, corporates, and international institutions (e.g. United Nations, African Union). 

Dr Kyla Tienhaara is an interdisciplinary social scientist and Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment at Queen’s University. Her main area of interest is the intersection between environmental governance and the global economic system. One area of her work examines investor-state disputes concerning environmental regulation and climate policy that are brought to international arbitration under bilateral and regional investment agreements. Another strand of research examines state-led green stimulus/recovery programs and efforts around the world to develop “Green New Deals”. This research has been published in Green Keynesianism and the Global Financial Crisis (Routledge, 2018) and in the forthcoming Routledge Handbook on the Green New Deal (2022), which she co-edited. She also maintains the research/public engagement website