A Discussion on Climate Change with World Experts from Columbia’s Climate School

Dr. Alex Halliday
Dr. Christian Braneon
Dr. Melissa C. Lott
Dr. Frederica Perera
Dr. Jacqueline Klopp

A Discussion on Climate Change with World Experts from Columbia’s Climate School

Run Time: 120 min.
May 10, 2023 at 7pm
Main Theater

Join us for a unique conversation on climate change and environmental issues with experts from Columbia University’s Climate School, followed by an audience Q&A. Hear from the experts in their fields on the topics that matter the most.

Columbia University has long been the world’s premier private research organization on climate and the environment.  Professor Wallace Broecker, known as “the Prophet of Climate Change” introduced the phrase climate change into the scientific lexicon in the 1970’s.  Alex Haliday, Dean of Columbia’s Climate School, on behalf of the Playhouse, has assembled a panel of faculty experts who will focus the evening’s discussion on solutions. Many have called climate change an existential issue for humankind and solutions are extremely important so please come and join in the discussion. 

Presented in partnership with Bedford2030 and the Columbia University’s Climate School.


Dr. Alex Halliday is the Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Founding Dean of the new Columbia Climate School. He joined Columbia in April 2018, after spending more than a decade at the University of Oxford, during which time he was dean of science and engineering. With over 400 published research papers, Halliday has been a pioneer in developing mass spectrometry to measure small isotopic variations in everything from meteorites to seawater to living organisms, helping to shed light on the birth and early development of our solar system, the interior workings of the Earth, and the processes that affect Earth’s surface environment. His scientific achievements have been recognized through numerous awards, including the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society, the Bowen Award and Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Urey Medal of the European Association of Geochemistry, the Oxburgh Medal of the Institute of Measurement and Control, and a Knighthood for services to science and innovation. As a professor in Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Halliday divides his time between Columbia’s Morningside campus and his isotope geochemistry lab at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The main focus of his current activities is establishing the Columbia Climate School, a major new initiative in transdisciplinary research, education and societal engagement, focused on climate and related sustainability issues.


Dr. Christian Braneon co-leads the Environmental Justice and Climate Just Cities Network (EJCJC) at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and serves as Co-Chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change. He has a broad background in Earth science and civil engineering, with a further focus on climate and environmental justice. Dr. Braneon recently joined Carbon Direct as Head of Climate Justice. He previously served as a climate scientist in the Climate Impacts Group of NASA GISS and as Co-Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s inaugural Environmental Justice Academy for community leaders. With NASA, as part of its partnership with Microsoft, he developed novel applications of satellite data that aim to enhance resilience to urban heat stress. His work on urban heat islands and environmental justice has been featured in broadcast and print media outlets such as CNN, CNBC, and Science. In 2020 he co-authored America’s Zero-Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP), a comprehensive policy report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) that presents a strategic plan to create a carbon-neutral economy for the United States by 2050. He received an AXA Award for Climate Science in 2021 for his contributions to the understanding of climate change and related adaptation strategies. He holds a B.S. in applied physics from Morehouse College as well as B.S., M.S., and PhD degrees in civil engineering from Georgia Tech.

Dr. Melissa C. Lott is the Director of Research and a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy. She currently serves as a member of the United Nations Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET) and the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Economics of Equitable Transition. Dr. Lott has worked as an engineer and advisor for nearly 20 years in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her work focuses on increasing our understanding of the impacts of energy systems on climate change and public health. She applies this understanding to help decision-makers mobilize solutions to support the transition to net-zero. Dr. Lott has authored hundreds publications and been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, PBS, the BBC World Service, The Guardian, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, and the Wall Street Journal. She currently hosts The Big Switch podcast.

Dr. Frederica Perera (MPH, DrPH, PhD) is professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is the founding director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health and now directs the Center’s Translational Research Program. Dr. Perera is internationally recognized for pioneering the field of molecular epidemiology, utilizing biomarkers to understand links between environmental exposures and disease. Frederica’s research has focused on the adverse effects of prenatal and childhood exposure to air pollution, toxic chemicals, and the impacts of climate change. Her current areas of specialization include the multiple and joint impacts on children’s health and neurodevelopment of toxic air pollutants and climate change due to fossil fuel combustion, and the corresponding large benefits of climate mitigation policies. She is the author of over 370 peer-reviewed articles and several books, including Children’s Health and the Peril of Climate Change. Dr. Perera has received many awards, including the Heinz Award for the Environment, the Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Award, the Environmental Advocate Award from Environmental Advocates of New York, the NIEHS Spirit Award, and the West Harlem Environmental Action Award for Leadership and Service.

Dr. Jacqueline Klopp is an action-oriented research scholar at the Columbia Climate School who focuses on safe, low emission transport, resiliency and equity in cities. She is the author of over a hundred academic and popular articles on sustainability, governance and policy as well as the application of new technologies for improving transportation, air pollution, climate and land- use in cities. She also directs the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at the Climate School and teaches in the Sustainable Development undergraduate program. She is a founding member of the Resilient Coastal Communities Project which works with the New York Environmental Justice Alliance to foster actionable, equitable solutions to flood risks along with benefits like habitat restoration, job creation and more empowered communities in the New York region.  She is also a core member of the Clean Air Toolbox for Cities an inter-disciplinary network centered at Columbia University that aims to support cities with emissions, source and health impact data to address air pollution and climate change. Dr. Klopp has worked as an expert for the World Bank, USAID, the United Nations and World Resources Institute among others. In 2021, she was honored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and her peers as one of the “Remarkable Women in Transport.”