Andrew Light is University Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy, and Atmospheric Sciences, and Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University. He is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., and Faculty Affiliate at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at Tufts University.
Andrew has two interrelated careers. One is as an academic where he has worked for twenty years on the normative implications of environmental policy. The other is as a policy expert and advocate where he works on the front lines of international climate and science policy. From 2013-2016 he served as Senior Adviser and India Counselor to the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, and as a Staff Climate Adviser in Secretary of State John Kerry’s Office of Policy Planning in the U.S. Department of State. In this capacity he was Co-Chair of the U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change, Chair of the Climate Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals across all agencies for the U.S. government, and served on the senior strategy team for the UN climate negotiations.
In recognition of this work, Andrew was awarded the inaugural Public Philosophy Award, from the International Society for Environmental Ethics — which has been designated the “Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy” — in June 2017, the inaugural Alain Locke Award for Public Philosophy, from the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy in March 2016, and a shared Superior Honor Award, from the U.S. Department of State in July 2016, for “contributions to the U.S. effort that made the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, where the landmark Paris Agreement was concluded, a historic success.”
Before joining the U.S. government he was also a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he was chief adviser on international climate policy to the center’s founder and chairman, John Podesta. In the last ten years he has contributed to 16 major policy reports, including most recently the Fourth U.S National Climate Assessment, Climate Change Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States, (USGCRP, 2018), and Ramping Up Governance of the Global Environmental Commons (World Resources Institute, 2019). He is currently serving on a new National Academies of Sciences Panel which will produce a report on a research agenda and governance approaches to solar radiation management.
In his academic work Andrew is the author of over 100 articles and book chapters on climate change, restoration ecology, and urban sustainability, and has authored, co-authored, and edited 19 books, including Environmental Values (Routledge, 2008), Controlling Technology (Prometheus, 2005), Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice (MIT, 2003), Technology and the Good Life? (Chicago, 2000), Environmental Pragmatism (Routledge, 1996), and the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics (Routledge). He has previously taught at a variety of institutions, including the Environmental Conservation Program at NYU and the School of Public Affairs and Department of Philosophy at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Podcasts / Webinars
The HDIAC Podcast » Geopolitics of Climate Change: Why India and China Matter for US National Security – Part 1 of 2
In the first installment of a two-part series on the Geopolitics of Climate Change, Ambassador Rich Kauzlarich interviews Dr. Andrew Light, discussing the evolution of climate change diplomacy alongside the emergence of climate vulnerability through the lens of global security. The conversation overviews emerging climate threats to U.S. interests overseas, the future of the global energy economy, and considerations for global cooperation.
The HDIAC Podcast » Geopolitics of Climate Change: Why India and China Matter for US National Security – Part 2 of 2
In the second installment of this two-part series, Ambassador Rich Kauzlarich and Dr. Andrew Light discuss opportunities for global cooperation on energy innovation and climate policy. The conversation includes how the economic and development needs of India and China create opportunity for cooperation, the Paris Agreement, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.