Mason Professor Appointed to India Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change

Jagadish Shukla, Professor/Director, Climate Dynamics Program, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences. Photo by Evan Cantwell.

Jagadish Shukla, Professor/Director, Climate Dynamics Program, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences. Photo by Evan Cantwell.

George Mason University climate professor Jagadish Shukla was appointed last month to the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change for his native India.

The prestigious appointment means he’ll be advising a country on the science behind climate change and will be attending the United Nation’s Conference on Climate Change in Paris this fall.

“I think it will be one of the biggest climate-related events ever held,” Shukla said of the conference scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in Paris.

A contingent of George Mason University experts will attend the UN conference, which promises to be pivotal turning point on this crucial issue.

Shukla joins a George Mason delegation that includes Andrew Light,Thomas Lovejoy, Paul Schopf, Michael Shank, and Neil Ransom, an environmental science and policy graduate student.

Logo Paris Conference Climate Change“The purpose of the upcoming UN climate summit in Paris is to try to finally create a comprehensive, global agreement on climate change which will include all of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas polluters,” said Light, who is on leave from Mason to serve in the U.S. Department of State as the senior climate advisor in the Office of the Special Envoy on Climate Change and Secretary’s Office of Policy.

Countries have different concerns about the planet’s warming trend, Shukla noted. India’s citizens overwhelmingly believe that climate change is happening but must find a way to balance reducing poverty with creating ecologically sound development, he said.

“It is incomprehensible as to why in the developed United States, entire segments of the population don’t believe climate change is a factor or that people are contributing to the globe’s rising temperature and sea levels,” Shukla said.

Light said there’s a lot at stake heading into the conference.

“This process has been going on for 20 years, with limited success,” Light said. “If the 194 parties attending this meeting can’t come to an agreement, then it will be extremely difficult to create a clear path forward to respond to the climate crisis.”

This article originally appeared on Mason News

Write to Michele McDonald at mmcdon15@gmu.edu

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