Global climate solution leaders to participate in Drawdown conference

Sept. 16-18 conference at University Park will bring together climate solutions experts from around the globe

"Research to Action: The Science of Drawdown," which takes place from Sept. 16–18, 2019, at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, will feature climate solutions experts from around the globe, including 15 members of the conference's steering committee. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A group of international leaders on solutions to climate change have advised the creation of an upcoming conference, “Research to Action: The Science of Drawdown.” The event will take place Sept. 16-18 at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center on Penn State's University Park campus.

The Research to Action conference will bring together 15 of these steering committee members plus other experts from around the globe 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. The eight sectors are built environment, electricity generation, food, land use, materials and waste, oceans, transportation, and women and girls. Project Drawdown’s 100 solutions across these sectors are detailed at

Tom Richard, director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment and steering committee member, said Drawdown’s approach demonstrates that a broad portfolio of strategies can not only stop but actually focus on reversing climate change.

“One of the most exciting aspects of this analysis is that almost all of the solutions will rapidly pay back the investments in innovation, create jobs and provide a new impetus for economic growth,” Richard said. “The analysis also highlights how greater equity and broad access to education and credit can contribute to climate solutions in a variety of ways. Important co-benefits in the food and land-use sectors include improved soil and water quality, as well as biodiversity.”

Jon Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown and a leading expert on global food systems, and Chad Frischmann, vice president and research director of Project Drawdown, who led the development of the global modeling framework and analysis, will present during multiple sessions of the conference.

Frischmann will join Sandrine Dixson-Declève, co-president of the Club of Rome; Kirsten Dunlop, chief executive officer of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, Climate-KIC; and Shloka Nath, head of sustainability and special projects at Tata Trusts, for a plenary on transition pathways that can achieve both economic and environmental benefits across these tightly coupled human and natural systems.

Other plenary talks by steering committee members include Johan Falk, co-lead author and program manager for Exponential Roadmap; Veerle Vandeweerd, policy director for Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Conference Series; and Michelle Wyman, executive director of the National Council for Science and Environment, who will participate in a plenary that focuses on climate-solution case studies from around the world. Katharine Hayhoe, professor at Texas Tech University, will participate in a plenary and share her experience and observations about climate communications; and Amanda Ravenhill, executive director for the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and Benjamin Houlton, professor and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of California Davis, will introduce and facilitate a panel on Systems Integration within the Drawdown Framework.

Break-out sessions will provide opportunities for participants to discuss scientific challenges and prioritize future research needs. Steering committee members participating in these sessions include John Fernandez, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a working session titled “Built Environment — Enhancing Building Performance for People and the Environment,” and Dennis Garrity, senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, in a working session titled “Food — Feeding the World in 2050: An Introduction to the Drawdown Food Sector.”

Andreas Kuhlmann, chief executive at Deutsche Energie-Agentur, and Marilyn Brown, Regents' and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems at Georgia Tech, will participate in a working session titled “Electricity Generation — Transforming the Grid to Achieve Drawdown.”

Penn State President Eric Barron will kick-off the conference, and Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones will close the first day with a presentation on Penn State’s commitment to climate solutions.

For more information, registration and the most up-to-date agenda, visit

Last Updated August 19, 2019