ACLS19 Climate Leader Q&A: Ellen R. Stofan, PhD

The American Climate Leadership Summit 2019 (ACLS19) on May 1-2 will feature conversations with prominent climate experts and advocates. This year’s theme is “Breakthrough,” and we’re looking for just that — breakthrough strategies and ideas to help transform the climate action into a true national priority. ecoAmerica offered some of this year’s guest speakers the opportunity to answer climate-related questions, including how they think we can make a breakthrough on climate change in the U.S.  

Ellen R. Stofan, Ph.D., a former chief scientist at NASA, is the first woman to be named John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. With over 25 years of experience in space-related sciences and extensive research into planetary geology, Dr. Stofan brings a level of expertise when speaking on climate change that few can match.  

Having addressed groups like the World Economic Forum at Davos, Dr. Stofan has demonstrated a knack for bridging the gap between complex scientific data and principles with interesting, captivating communication, which will be on full display during day 1 of ACLS19.

What is/was your climate breakthrough moment?

I spent my early career studying the geology of Venus — the planet with the runaway greenhouse. From the beginning, I looked at some of the early climate modeling, and understanding that we understood the role of greenhouse gases in part from our studies of planets like Venus, realized this was real, and a big concern.

What do you wish more Americans knew about climate change?

That it is not something for the future — it is something for now. And that a response is required now, but that it can be about economic growth — not just a cost. The cost of doing nothing is much, much higher.

What are current climate breakthroughs or initiatives that inspire you/give you hope that we will effectively address climate change?

I think the fact that so many companies around the world are changing their behavior, disclosing their carbon footprint and water use, makes me hopeful that we can enact change.

What do you hope/believe the ACLS19 will accomplish in moving the needle on climate action/breakthroughs?

I am hoping that everyone who attends will come away energized at the solution space, and ready to contribute. We have to be all in.

Why should you/others join you at ACLS19?

I think hearing the range of solutions, seeing who is working on climate challenges, and seeing the broad range of communities participating is energizing for all. Learning new ways to commit to be part of the solution and help jump-start addressing climate change.

Hear more from Dr. Stofan this May at the American Climate Leadership Summit 2019 in Washington, DC. Click Here to Register

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