A Conversation with Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing

October 25, 2016 - 11:30 am

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th ST NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC

US Climate Policy Prior to COP22

A conversation with:
Jonathan Pershing
Special Envoy for Climate Change
US Department of State

Moderated by:
Coral Davenport
The New York Times

Introduced by:
Ambassador Richard Morningstar
Founding Director and Chairman, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

The Paris Agreement enters into force thirty days after it reaches a signing threshold of fifty-five countries amounting to 55 percent of global emissions. On October 5, 2016, the European Parliament approved the European Union’s ratification of the Paris Agreement, exceeding the 55 percent emissions threshold. The Paris Agreement will enter into force on November 4, 2016, only days before the twenty-second Conference of Parties, or COP22, in Marrakech, Morocco. In light of the recent ratification, COP22 will not only reflect the existing climate policy agenda, it will be  the first historic meeting of the agreement’s signatories. US Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing will attend this historic conference to help set the agenda for implementation of the goals set by the signatories. Prior to his departure to Marrakech, he will join us for a timely discussion on US climate policy priorities at COP22.

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Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record.

Metro and parking info 


Jonathan Pershing is the special envoy for climate change at the US Department of State. Previously, he served as the senior climate advisor to the secretary of energy and principal deputy director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the US Department of Energy. Before joining DOE, Dr. Pershing was the deputy special envoy for climate change and the lead negotiator representing the United States at meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Before his appointment to the Obama Administration, he spent six years as the director of the Climate, Energy, and Pollution Program at the World Resources Institute; five years as the head of the Environment Division at the International Energy Agency; and for nearly a decade in the 1990s, served the science advisor and deputy director of the Office of Global Change in the US Department of State. Dr. Pershing has also held positions in the private sector as a petroleum and mining geologist, and as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota and at American University. He has published and lectured widely on climate and energy issues, and has served as a lead author, review editor, and contributor for reports of the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Dr. Pershing holds a PhD in geology and geophysics.

Coral Davenport covers energy and climate change policy at The New York Times. She previously covered energy and the environment for National Journal, Politico, and Congressional Quarterly. In 2010, Ms. Davenport was a fellow with the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting. From 2001 to 2004, she worked in Athens, Greece as a correspondent for numerous publications, covered the 2004 Athens Olympics, and contributed travel writing and restaurant reviews to Conde Nast Traveler and Fodor’s, Time Out, and Eyewitness guidebook series. Ms. Davenport started her career at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Ambassador Richard Morningstar is the founding director and chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. Before founding the Global Energy Center, Ambassador Morningstar served as the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan from July 2012 to August 2014. Prior to his appointment, he was the Secretary of State's special envoy for Eurasian energy. Ambassador Morningstar previously lectured at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and Stanford Law School. From 1999 through 2001, he served as US Ambassador to the European Union. Prior to this, Ambassador Morningstar served as special adviser to the president and secretary of state for Caspian Basin energy diplomacy, where he was responsible for coordinating within the executive branch and with other governments and international organizations to promote US policies on Caspian Basin energy. From 1995 to 1998, he served as ambassador and special adviser to the president and secretary of state on assistance for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, where he oversaw all US bilateral assistance and trade investment activities NIS. From 1993 to 1995, he served as senior vice president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).