November 7, 2013

Nicholas Institute Staff to Attend United Nations Climate Conference

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013

CONTACT: Erin McKenzie
(919) 613-3652

DURHAM, N.C.— Climate diplomats worldwide will gather in Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 11-22 for the 19th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions will be among those at the negotiations.

Energy Technology

During the conference, the Nicholas Institute will co-sponsor a side event with the German Marshall Fund. Titled “Innovation Toward Decarbonization: Transatlantic Approaches to Technology in the Energy Sector,” the event will take place from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. It will focus on technological and regulatory innovations in the United States and Europe that support a transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Our side event will highlight recent success stories in energy innovation and the major United States and European Union policies that will influence innovation in the near future,” said Jonas Monast, the Nicholas Institute’s Climate and Energy Program director. Monast will speak alongside Jonathan Pershing, deputy assistant secretary for climate change policy and technology at the U.S. Department of Energy; Simone Mori, executive vice president for regulation, environment, and innovation at Enel Holding; and Paul Bledsoe, senior fellow at German Marshall Fund and president of Bledsoe & Associates, LLC.

For more information on the side event, visit:

Experiential Learning

Students from Duke’s United Nations Climate Negotiations Practicum course, whose faculty sponsors have been Nicholas Institute Faculty Fellow Billy Pizer and Duke Law School Professor Jonathan Wiener, will attend the conference to assist stakeholder organizations and developing country parties with their work during negotiations and blog about their experience. Monast will serve as an informal adviser for the Duke student delegation, a role filled the last two years by the Nicholas Institute’s Brian Murray. 


Nicholas Institute Environmental Economics Program staff are also aiding the U.S. State Department in its negotiations during the conference on the issue of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). Through a new, $1 million grant from the department, the Nicholas Institute, Winrock International, Climate Focus and the Meridian Institute are developing a series of fact-and science-based analytical papers as well as workshops on the main REDD+ issues under debate. The first paper, which focuses on how countries will verify emissions reductions from deforestation, is expected to be used in Warsaw.

“REDD+ is a system by which developed countries pay developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation,” said Brian Murray, director of the Nicholas Institute’s Environmental Economics Program. ”Dependable and practical verification systems, consistent with international norms, are necessary to ensure that the payment system is fair to both payers and recipients of REDD+ funds.”

Although the topics for other papers that will inform future United Nations’ climate conversations aren’t yet known, they are expected to cover how the scope of REDD+ could be expanded to include other types of agriculture or wetlands and the role of public and private sectors in the financial models.