Special Events

Keynote Speakers and Special Topic Plenaries at AESS 2018

Wednesday, Keynote


Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Bob Perciasepe is President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change.

Mr. Perciasepe has been an environmental policy leader in and outside government for more than 40 years, most recently as Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where he oversaw stricter auto emissions standards and carbon emissions standards for power plants.

Previously, he served as chief operating officer of the National Audubon Society, Secretary of the Environment for the state of Maryland, and as a senior planning official for the city of Baltimore.

Join us Wednesday evening, June 20 at American University for the opening reception, welcome by AESS President and Keynote speech.

Thursday, Plenary

Inclusion and Legitimacy

Read AESS President David Hassenzahl’s explanation about the formation of this plenary.

Patricia DeMarco, moderator

Patricia M. DeMarco is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. with a doctorate in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. She  has spent a thirty -year career in energy and environmental policy  in both private and public sector positions, including Commissioner of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and Demand Side Manager for the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative. She was the Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association and Director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University. read more

Join us Thursday morning, June 21 at American University for a panel offering stimulating perspective on the challenge and promise of inclusion and legitimacy. We expect that this plenary will establish conversations that continue through the conference and serve to shape environmental studies and sciences programs for decades to come.

Teresa Lloro-Bidart

Teresa is faculty at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and a member of the AESS Board. She brings academic expertise in human-environment-animal relationships and first-hand experience with cyberbullies’ attempts to undermine academic legitimacy through targeted faculty harassment.


Jaqueline Patterson

Jaqueline directs the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program, and she brings broad international experience in women’s rights, economics, health, food access, and the environment.

Ian Zabarte

Ian is a member of the Western Shoshone, board member of the Native Community Action Council, and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Environmental Studies program. He brings years of experience challenging governmental and industry claims about risks to numerous western U.S. tribes associated with uranium mining, nuclear weapons testing, and nuclear waste disposal.

Saturday, Closing Plenary

The Triumph of Ideology: Climate Denial in the US

A conversation about how civil servants and government officials can do their job, let alone serve a climate-related public interest, if people cannot even talk about climate.

Simon Nicholson, moderator

Dr. Simon Nicholson is the director of the Global Environmental Politics program in the School of International Service and Assistant Professor of International Relations. His work focuses on global environmental governance, global food politics, and the politics of emerging technologies, including climate engineering (or “geoengineering”) technologies. He is co-founder of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, a scholarly initiative of the School of International Service. read more

Join us for lunch and the AESS 2018 closing plenary, Saturday, June 23 at American University.

The panel will feature experts in the environmental field and be moderated by Simon Nicholson, AU Director of the Global Environmental Politics Program in the School of International Service.

Sue Biniaz, panelist

Sue Biniaz is a Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School.  She served for over thirty years in the State Department’s Legal Adviser’s Office, where she was a Deputy Legal Adviser, as well as the lead climate lawyer and a lead climate negotiator from 1989 until early 2017.  She is a Senior Fellow at the UN Foundation and is on the adjunct faculty at Columbia Law School.  During the winter 2017 quarter, she was a Distinguished Fellow at the Energy Policy Institute of  Chicago and taught at the University of Chicago Law School.  She attended Yale College and Columbia Law School, and clerked for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. read more

 Dan Fiorino, panelist

Daniel J. Fiorino is the Director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Distinguished Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University. As faculty member in the Department of Public Administration and Policy, he teaches courses on environmental policy, energy and climate change, environmental sustainability, and public management.
Dan is the author or co-author of seven books and some fifty articles and book chapters. According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited some 4,000 times in the professional literature. His most recent books are A Good Life on a Finite Earth: The Political Economy of Green Growth (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy (with James Meadowcroft, MIT Press, 2017). read more

Dana Fisher, panelist

Dana R. Fisher is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland.  Her research focuses on environmental policy, civic participation and activism more broadly.  She has written extensively on climate politics in the US and comparatively across nations, including in her first book: National Governance and the Global Climate Change Regime (Rowman & Littlefield 2004). In addition to five books, she has also published her work in numerous peer-reviewed journals.  Recent publications in Nature Climate Change, Environment & Planning C, and Climatic Change employ social network methods to understand the policy actors engaged in climate policy-making in the United States at the federal and sub-national levels. Fisher is currently leading the Climate Constituencies Project that studies climate and clean energy policy networks at the US federal and sub-national levels, which is funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Professor Fisher’s work has been featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and various programs on National Public Radio.  Her work has been presented to federal agencies, foundations, and other organizations.  Among others, she has presented her work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office, the Let’s Move Campaign at the White House, and the Brookings Institution.  read more


Peter Jacques, panelist

Peter Jacques is the President-Elect of AESS and has written a book and many articles on the organized rejection of environmental science. He is Managing Executive Editor for the Journal of Environmental Studies and Science, the flagship journal for the Association of Environmental Studies and Science and published by Springer as well as a Professor of Political Science at University of Central Florida. Peter has been working in global environmental politics and sustainability for over a decade. read more