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U.S. Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement

As of February 19, the U.S. is once again a part of the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change. What does that mean for climate change and public policy, in America and worldwide? Join the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences for a discussion and Q&A with global climate policy experts representing government, international organizations, academia and science including former envoy of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the minister counselor of the Finnish Permanent Mission at the UN in New York and a director from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


About the Paris Agreement

The United States was one of 196 nations to adopt the Paris Agreement in late 2015, which went into effect Nov. 4, 2016. According to the United Nations, the agreement “is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.” Although President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement, President Biden signed an order rejoining it on his first day in office. Learn more in this UN Climate Change video.


Kaarina Airas, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations
Daniele Violetti, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 
Daniel Kammen, University of California Berkeley 
Paolo Farah, Department of Public Administration at West Virginia University

Kaarina Airas

Kaarina Airas has worked as the head of Unit for Sustainable Development and Human Rights at the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations since August 2020. She is a career diplomat and has previously served at the embassies of Finland in Budapest, Hungary, and Nairobi, Kenya, as well as the Permanent Mission of Finland in Geneva, Switzerland. In Nairobi, she served as the deputy permanent representative of Finland to UNEP and UN-Habitat. In Geneva, Airas represented Finland at the UN Human Rights Council, with a special focus on gender issues and economic and social rights. At the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, she has worked at the Unit for Sustainable Development and Climate, covering particularly UN sustainable development related issues such as the Agenda 2030 coordination. She holds a master’s degree in social sciences (international relations) from the University of Helsinki, Finland. Airas had international law as a minor and has in recent years completed environment-related courses, including Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace and UN Environment Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

Daniele Violetti

Daniele Violetti is director of the Means of Implementation Division and acting director of the Administration, Human Resources and Information Technologies Division at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The MoI Division supports international cooperation on the mobilization of financial resources, technology development and transfer and building of individual, institutional and systemic capacity to enable and support parties to take enhanced action on climate change, for the implementation of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. In particular, it supports the work of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Technology Executive Committee and the Paris Committee on Capacity Building. The MoI Division also coordinates the secretariat’s outreach to the United Nations system and the Secretary General's office. Prior to his current position, Violetti served as chief of staff of the secretariat for seven years, supporting two executive secretaries. He was also coordinator for the United Nations Secretary-General's Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing at the UN headquarters in New York City. Violetti has extensive experience on issues related to the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, and he served as secretary to the CDM Executive Board as well as a manager in the CDM Process Management Unit within the Sustainable Development Mechanisms Programme at the UNFCCC secretariat.

Daneil Kammen

Daniel Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, with parallel appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Department of Nuclear Engineering. He was appointed the first Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas Fellow by Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton in April 2010. Kammen is the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment and director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. Since 1999 Kammen has served as a contributing or coordinating lead author on various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He has authored or co-authored 12 books, written more than 300 peer-reviewed journal publications, testified more than 40 times to U.S. state and federal congressional briefings and has provided various governments with more than 50 technical reports. Kammen also served for many years on the Technical Review Board of the Global Environment Facility. He is a frequent contributor or commentator in international news media, including Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Financial Times. Kammen has appeared on 60 Minutes (twice), Nova and Frontline, and he hosted the six-part Discovery Channel series Ecopolis. Kammen is a permanent fellow of the African Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society. In the U.S., he serves on two National Academy of Sciences boards and panels.  

Paolo Farah

Paolo Davide Farah is an associate professor at WVU in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Public Administration, part of the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics, and an adjunct associate professor of geography. He was an international consultant and legal advisor for projects implemented for the United Nations Development Program, for the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and Commerce and for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He has previously worked at the Legal Affairs Division of the World Trade Organization in Geneva and for Baker & McKenzie International Law Firm. He is an elected board member of the European Society of International Law, chair of the ESIL Interest Group on International Environmental Law, chair of the American Society of International Law Interest Group on International Environmental Law and vice-chair of the American Society of International Law Interest Group on International Law and Technology. Farah is also an appointed member of the International Law Association’s ILA Committees on Sustainable Development and the Green Economy in International Trade Law and ILA Committee on Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Development. Farah has more than 50 peer-reviewed articles or book chapters and U.S. law review articles, nine books and six journal special issues published or forthcoming, and he has presented his work to more than 140 international conferences and workshops.