Newswise — University of Oregon faculty members who research climate change and the environment are available to talk about what’s happening at COP27.

Our faculty experts:

Law professor Michael Fakhri is the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (2020-2026), which means he is the leading independent UN expert on matters of hunger, malnutrition and famine from a human rights perspective. He reports regularly to the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly. He has also advised the Security Council, UN Food and Agricultural Organization, Committee on World Food Security, and International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Quote on COP27
“It is good that food is more prominent on the climate change agenda especially since food systems generate about one-third of the world’s greenhouse gases. The question is whether COP27 will generate a just transition to agroecology with a focus on land rights, workers’ rights, and curtailing corporate power.”

Adrian Parr is an internationally recognized environmental, political, and cultural thinker and activist, author, and filmmaker. Parr served as a UNESCO Water Chair from 2013-2021. Her 2016 documentary, “The Intimate Realities of Water,” won more than a dozen awards, including Best Documentary at the 2016 United International Independent Film Festival. She curated an extensive exhibition on Watershed Urbanism as part of the 2021 European Cultural Center's Venice Architecture Biennale. Parr has published ten books, the most recent, Earthlings: Imaginative Encounters with the Natural World is a transdisciplinary exploration of the myriad ways in which climate change and environmental degradation impacts all species on earth. The is the coordinator of the recently formed UNESCO international research network: UNITWIN on water and resilient human settlements.

Quote on COP27 
"Climate change is a transenvironmental challenge that requires the integration of transgenerational, transpeciesist, and transnational practices and knowledge.

Leigh Johnson is an economic and human environment geographer with specialties in the politics of climate change, financial risk, and global development. She has published extensively on the relationship between climate change and financial risk, and the global development sector’s turn to risk management and insurance. She has contributed to national and international expert conversations on managed retreat, loss mitigation, disaster risk and resilience, and green climate finance.

Quote on COP27
“The past year has exacerbated the deep inequities between people and places that are more or less able to cope with climate impacts. This year we witnessed growing debt traps in countries devastated by extreme climate events, from protracted extreme drought in East Africa to flooding in Pakistan. COP negotiations on Loss & Damage have sidelined countries’ original demands for reparation and compensation in favor of loans and “climate risk insurance”. Insurance is not a substitute for repair. More than ever, vulnerable countries need unrestricted grant funding, not loans or insurance, to shore up gaps in social provisioning and capacity.

Mary Christina Wood is known worldwide for her climate expertise and speaks to national and international audiences on climate issues. The faculty director of the University of Oregon’s nationally acclaimed Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center, she is also a co-author of leading textbooks on natural resources law and public trust law. She originated the legal approach called Atmospheric Trust Litigation, now being used in cases brought on behalf of youth throughout the world, seeking to hold governments accountable to reduce carbon pollution within their jurisdictions. She has developed a corresponding approach called Atmospheric Recovery Litigation, which would hold fossil fuel companies responsible for funding an Atmospheric Recovery Plan to draw down excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere using natural climate solutions. Her book, Nature's Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age (Cambridge University Press), sets forth a new paradigm of global ecological responsibility.

Yekang Ko
[email protected]
Yekang Ko directs the Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Hub of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a global network of 60 leading research universities across the Pacific Rim. She also holds a joint appointment with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as a senior scientist. Her research focuses on place-based renewable energy landscapes, green infrastructure planning, and climate actions for resilience and justice. An associate professor of landscape architecture, she teaches design for climate action and landscape planning and analysis. Her work is highly interdisciplinary, based on community service-learning and outreach, collaborating with governments, non-profits, professionals, and educators locally and internationally. She is also the co-founder of the Landscape for Humanity (L4H) Lab, which supports social and environmental justice through design research and education.

Quote on COP27
“The clock is ticking. We are witnessing climate-induced disasters and victims every year. The whole world is watching COP27 to mobilize political will to make a meaningful step in cutting emissions and protecting vulnerable communities worldwide.”