The Climate Crisis and the 2020 Election

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29 at 7:00 pm | Zoom

American voters are more concerned about the effects of climate change today than ever before, and a majority of Americans believe that the federal government is doing too little to address it. Extreme weather events over the past year – including tornadoes and rain in the Midwest, fires on the West Coast, and a string of hurricanes – has made the climate particularly relevant during this election year.

How has citizen activism regarding climate policy evolved over the past decade? And how have candidates in 2020 addressed citizens’ views on the environment?

This panel will explore the role climate change is playing in American politics today, the policy choices that this year’s candidates face, and what the election results will mean for America’s involvement in global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.

To register, please email Michelle Sayles at

You can also view the livestream of this event on our NEC Facebook page here.

Panelists include:

Robert G. Boatright, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Clark University and the Director of Research for the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.  His research focuses on the effects of campaign and election laws on the behavior of politicians and interest groups, with a particular focus on primary elections and campaign finance laws and practices. He is currently completing a book manuscript on how American politicians discuss political corruption.  He received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Carleton College.


Dana R. Fisher, Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on questions related to democracy, activism, and environmentalism — most recently studying climate activism, protests, and the American Resistance. Her research employs a mixed-methods approach that integrates data collected through open-ended semi-structured interviews and participant observation with various forms of survey data. She received her Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees from the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her undergraduate degree is in East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies from Princeton University.


Jim Gomes, Senior Advisor to the Vice President for Research at MIT, where he oversees the implementation of MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change. For more than a decade Jim was the founding Director of Clark University’s Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise, a research center dedicated to better connecting academic research with public policy making and implementation. He has taught on political and environmental topics at Clark, Tufts, and Williams and held research appointments at Brandeis and Harvard.  He holds a B.A. in political science from Trinity, a Master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Matto Mildenberger, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research explores the political drivers of policy inaction in the face of serious social and economic threats posed by global climate change. Straddling comparative political economy and political behavior, Mildenberger’s work focusses on comparative climate policymaking and the dynamics of US climate opinion. His current book project compares the politics of carbon pricing across advanced economies, with a focus on the history of climate reforms in Australia, Norway and the United States. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.

Co-sponsored by A new Earth conversation and the Political Science Department through the Francis A. Harrington Public Affairs Fund.