UC Irvine Professor
Author of Climate Change from the Streets
Michael Méndez’ keynote will discuss his recent book “Climate Change from the Streets,” where he explores the perspectives and influence low-income people of color bring to their advocacy work on climate change.The book provides an urgent and timely analysis of the contentious politics of incorporating environmental justice into global climate change policy. Michael tells a timely story of people, place, and power in the context of climate change and inequality. He explores the perspectives and influence low-income people of color bring to their advocacy work on climate change. In California, activist groups have galvanized behind issues such as air pollution, poverty alleviation, and green jobs to advance equitable climate solutions at the local, state, and global levels. Arguing that environmental protection and improving public health are inextricably linked, Michael contends that we must incorporate local knowledge, culture, and history into policymaking to fully address the global complexities of climate change and the real threats facing our local communities. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300232158/climate-change-streets
Lecturer, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Former Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Rob Klee’s keynote will discuss the importance of sub-national action to address climate change. Klee is the former Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and is currently teaching a capstone course at the Yale School of Forestry, “Sub-national playbook for significant greenhouse gas reductions by 2030,” aimed at developing strategies to combat global climate change. Dr. Klee most recently served as the Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), from January 2014 until January 2019, for former Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. DEEP is the state agency charged with conserving, improving and protecting the state’s natural resources and environment; providing first-rate outdoor recreation opportunities; and integrating energy and environmental policies to build a sustainable and prosperous 21st-century economy for Connecticut. Dr. Klee originally joined DEEP in April 2011 as chief of staff to then-Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. Prior to his state service, Dr. Klee was an attorney with Wiggin and Dana LLP, in New Haven, where he specialized in appellate and complex litigation, and energy and environmental law. He also served as a law clerk for both the U.S. District Court in Connecticut and the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.