Wake Foresters attend international climate change conference

Miles Silman




Justin Catanoso


An important international conference on climate change is taking place in Lima, Peru and Wake Forest University has three distinguished voices in attendance.

The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its 20th annual Conference of the Parties (COP 20) is taking place Dec. 1-12.

Justin Catanoso, director of Wake Forest’s journalism program, is a freelance journalist who covers environmental and climate change issues. His reporting is sponsored in part by the Wake Forest Center on Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES), and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington, D.C. He is producing stories for WFDD, National Geographic NewsWatch, BusinessInsider.com and the Pulitzer Center.

He was interviewed before his departure by WFDD about the negotiations, what’s expected to come out of them and issues related to the politics of climate change and global warming. The audio story is here. Stories from the conference posted by National Geographic can be viewed here and here.

Biology professor Miles Silman, who also serves as the director of CEES, presented at the conference. Silman’s work centers on understanding biodiversity distribution and the response of forests ecosystems climate and land use changes past and future. He has more than 20 years of experience in the Andes and Amazon and is a founding member of the Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group.

Also at the conference is law professor John Knox, an internationally recognized expert on human rights law and international environmental law. He serves as a U.N. independent expert on human rights and the environment. Some of his insights from the conference can be viewed in this Scientific American story.

The COP is the main decision-making body of the UNFCCC and the conference is a critical opportunity for countries to make progress on establishing an international climate agreement.