Episode 13:

What really happened at the climate negotiations in Paris; Universities Teaching Adaptation and much more!

Guest: James Stillwell

Broadcast October 9, 2016



Episode 13: In this exciting episode of America Adapts, Doug Parsons speaks with James Stillwell, the Program Manager of Climate Implementation at the University of Maryland’s (UMD) School of Public Policy.  First, we talk about James’ background and what led him to UMD.  Then we learn about James’ role in the international climate change negotiations that occurred last year in France which led to the historic Paris Agreement.  James walks us through many riveting and fascinating details on what it was like being on the ground in Paris during this planet saving event.   James played a key role assisting UMD’s special advisor to the UN secretary-general on climate change, Robert Orr.  Learn how some of the negotiations came down to the wire and how ultimately the final product exceeded everyone’s ambitions. Also learn how adaptation was addressed in parallel negotiations in Paris.

James then takes us back to UMD and how it co-hosted “Climate Action 2016”, a UN sponsored climate change event, bringing together some of the world leaders on climate change (Al Gore, Bill Nye the Science Guy, etc.).  Doug and James then pivot and discuss what Universities are doing around the country training the next generation of climate professionals. We discuss the differences between sustainability and adaptation; how UMD approaches this academic training; should mid-career professionals go back for more formal adaptation training; and also what employers are looking for in climate change professionals. We also learn how universities, in addition to their fossil fuel divestments, are also undertaking campus wide adaptation.  Those are some of the key issues, but listen in as Doug and James cover a lot more!  

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Additional Resources:

Learn more, as referenced by James in the podcast, that University of Maryland is a Do Good campus

Center for Global Sustainability website


Learn more about James here:


Other University Programs in emphasizing Adaptation




James’ Debate with Noted Climate Skeptic Myron Ebell


Selection of Climate Action 2016 Speakers



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