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Catherine McKenna is a former Canadian Minister for Environment and Climate Change. She joins Columbia University

Catherine McKenna is a former Canadian Minister for Environment and Climate Change. She joins Columbia University

catherine mckenna headshot

Catherine McKenna is a former Canadian Minister for Environment and Climate Change. She joins Columbia University

Catherine McKenna is joining Columbia University as a Distinguished Fellow with the University. Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP). She will be working with CGEP and Columbia Climate School to find practical solutions to scale climate action. She will be focusing on the following areas: Accelerating the transition from coal-to-clean energy, supporting women’s climate leadership, and advancing work on carbon pricing and border carbon adjustments.

catherine mckenna headshot

Catherine McKenna, Canada’s former Minister of Environment, will join Columbia University as a distinguished Visiting Fellow with The Center on Global Energy Policy

“The climate threat is the greatest crisis facing humanity today. McKenna said that we need new models of thinking to address climate change. I am excited to work with Columbia Climate School and the Center on Global Energy Policy, which is the first school of its type in the US to collaborate with its amazing students and faculty on practical solutions for the climate crisis. We need to accelerate the global shift from coal to renewable energy and ensure a fair transition for workers, communities, and citizens. We must also increase carbon pricing and work on border carbon adjustments to improve competitiveness and create more efficient carbon markets. Importantly, we must empower and support girls and women who are leading the fight against climate changes.

McKenna was the founder and principal at Climate and Nature SolutionsRecent Launch Women Leading on ClimateLast November, at COP26 in Glasgow. As Canada’s first Minister for Environment and Climate Change, she was a key negotiator in the Paris Agreement (in particular Article 6 about carbon markets), before introducing and successfully protecting landmark legislation that established a national carbon price. She was also instrumental in efforts to eliminate coal, establish Canada’s first Just Transition Taskforce for workers, communities, reduce plastics, and double the protection of Canada’s natural resources in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

Jason Bordoff, CGEP director, said that Catherine is a tour de force. If we are to make a real impact on the climate crisis, our team needs her energy, spirit, leadership, and practical experience. We are glad she chose Columbia to bring all of these qualities to the Columbia students and faculty who are working on these important issues.

McKenna, as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, helped to establish many international initiatives including the Powering Past Coal Coalition with Canada, the UK and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ministerial on Climate Action and the Women Kicking it on Climate Summit. McKenna was co-chair of the World Bank’s Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, and helped develop the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter. She has been closely involved with members of the Obama, Biden administrations in Canada-US and international climate, infrastructure and policy agreements.

Later, she was appointed Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. She made significant investments in public transit and green and durable infrastructure. She also leveraged private sector investment to build more public infrastructure through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

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She is a mother to three children and is currently focusing on scaling climate and natural-based solutions to dramatically reduce global emissions by 2030. This includes empowering women and public-private partnerships.

Listen to the latest Columbia Energy Exchange podcastMcKenna discusses her life, and the new stage in her career.

Read Catherine McKennas full bio Here.

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