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The Paris Agreement & Leveraging Religious Support for Climate Policy

415 Summit Street, Boston, MA

In recent years, there has been a growing chorus of religious voices framing climate change as a moral issue, with an associated moral imperative for action. The role that religious communities can play was clearly demonstrated at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015, when representatives of 196 countries pledged to take steps to keep global warming to within 2°C above preindustrial levels -- the likely threshold necessary to prevent the most disastrous climatic outcomes. The relative failure of previous global summits to adequately address climate change, such as at Copenhagen in 2009, demonstrates that data alone is not enough to motivate action. Many leaders in the science and policy communities and in the news media argued that the success in Paris was due in part to the input of religious leaders and corollary interfaith activities, including a petition with 1.8 million signatories. Exploring COP21 and the Paris Agreement as a case study for fruitful religious engagement in science policy, this 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting symposium also looks ahead to the many steps needed in the coming years to meet the agreement’s ambitious goals. Speakers will discuss how scientific and religious communities can foster constructive relationships to ensure a just and sustainable future.

Organizer and Moderator:
Se Y. Kim, AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion
Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University
Jessica Hellmann, University of Minnesota 
The Science of the Paris Agreement and Future Climate Impacts
Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith: Interfaith Partners for the Environment 
Religious Support for Climate Action: Motivations, Challenges, and Opportunities
Matthew Nisbet, Northeastern University 
Moral Framing and Religious Opinion Leaders: Lessons for Science and Policy Leaders

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