Selin and Najam in The Conversation: Assessing Paris

Najam, Adil Najam, Selin, Henrik Selin, COP21, Climate, Paris Climate Conference, Pardee School, BU, Boston University

Adil Najam, Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, collaborated with Associate Professor of International Relations Henrik Selin to run down the good, bad, and the ugly of the 2015 UN Climate Conference agreement.

The agreement reached in Paris, France on Saturday, Dec. 12, the culmination of two weeks of negotiations collectively termed COP21 saw the vast majority of the world’s nations pledge to reduce global warming, but without setting actionable commitments for doing so.

Najam and Selin went into great detail on the implications in a Dec. 14 article on The Conversation entitled “Paris Agreement on Climate Change: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

From the text of the article:

At 7:27 pm local time Saturday, December 12th, 2015, a new Paris Agreement on global climate change was born after four years of taxing labor. Its much-anticipated birth was quickly followed by copious self-congratulations by many of the parents in the room who almost all were overcome by joy and bursting with pride.

Praise heaped upon newborns should be taken with a grain of salt. “Historic” is a term often thrown about too cavalierly, and a “new era” does not start every time government bureaucrats pull a few all-nighters. But, what has come out of Paris clearly marks a new direction for global climate cooperation.

We wish the newborn well, but upon some post-natal reflection, it is clear that the birth of the Paris Agreement should be cause for both hope and caution. Certain political developments are principally good and welcome. Other changes are largely bad. And some purposeful omissions may be plain ugly.

The OpEd from Selin and Najam has since been re-published in various publications, including Down to, The Epoch Times, and

You can read the entire article here. The article was reprinted by the Boston Herald on Dec. 15; view it here.

Najam was a co-author for the Third and Fourth Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); work for which the scientific panel was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the public understanding of climate change science. In 2008 he was invited by the United Nations Secretary General to serve on the UN Committee on Development (CDP). Learn more about him here. 

Prior to his current faculty position, Selin was a Wallenberg Research Fellow in Environment and Sustainability in the Environmental Policy and Planning Group, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001-04), an Associate with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2001-03), and an Associate with the Center for International Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2003-04). Learn more about him here.