Climate conference to feature Penn State researchers Sept. 16-18

The conference, titled "Research to Action: The Science of Drawdown," will occur on Sept. 16-18, 2019. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — More than 20 Penn State researchers are participating in the upcoming climate solutions conference Research to Action: The Science of Drawdown. Overall, more than 70 speakers will be presenting at the event, which will take place Sept. 16-18 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.

The Research to Action conference is designed to analyze and review the science behind a broad portfolio of existing and emerging solutions that together have the goal of reversing climate change in the next few decades. Plenary, poster and breakout session participants also will discuss synergies and interactions among eight global sectors and evaluate implementation pathways.

“Penn State is interested in Drawdown because it’s a framework by which we can organize our teaching, research, outreach and operations across the full breadth of climate solutions,” said Tom Richard, director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment and conference steering committee member. “Penn State has tremendous capacity and expertise in many of the areas that contribute to climate solutions, including in low carbon and renewable energy, managing energy systems for energy efficiency, high-performance buildings and transportation.”

Richard said Penn State also has considerable strength in what are called the natural solutions to climate change, such as storing carbon in soils and plants through regenerative agriculture, soil management and sustainable forestry.

“Drawdown’s framework also highlights the importance of human systems, from education and the behavioral sciences to business, law, culture and the arts, all of which influence our individual and collective choices about the future,” Richard said.

With Penn State’s wide range of expertise, multiple researchers will be sharing their insights at the conference. Penn State researchers from the College of Agricultural Sciences, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Eberly College of Science, College of Engineering, College of the Liberal Arts, and School of International Affairs will be speaking at Research to Action.

Senorpe Asem-Hiablie, the Drawdown initiative lead at Penn State, hopes that conference participants will leave with a call to action both in their individual capacities as well as in a collaborative effort.

“For the first time since its inception, a core team of Project Drawdown’s researchers will be presenting the science behind their portfolio of solutions to reverse climate change,” said Asem-Hiablie. “A multidisciplinary team of experts and practitioners from around the world will discuss the current status and emerging opportunities related to these solutions, as well as offer their insights on potential pathways to move them rapidly into action.”

The conference also will discuss the science and art of communications related to climate solutions. Juliet Pinto, an Institutes of Energy and the Environment faculty member, will take part in a session on communications on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 17.

“Communication processes are central to so much of why we perceive of and respond to climate change issues as we do,” said Pinto, associate professor of communications at Penn State. “I’ve explored how and why news is constructed and presented about climate change and associated impacts, and because I am part of a science communication team, we can use each other’s research to provide more comprehensive understanding of the complex processes involved.”

Below is a list of Penn Staters participating in the conference:

To view the full agenda for the conference, visit

Last Updated September 05, 2019