Side on view of large storm wave hitting manmade structure in Portreath Cornwall, United Kingdom


AAG’s role

Action on Climate Change

Geographers have a vital role in addressing climate change. AAG members bring together the questions, answers, and actions for climate solutions that are multidisciplinary and rooted in specific places where people need place-specific remedies. AAG supports our members’ work on climate change in all facets: through research, applied science, and teaching the next generation.

For many years, through AAG’s events and publications, and most of all through the work of many dedicated members, we have maintained a presence in discussions and action addressing climate change, including participation in The March for Science and in policy advocacy. In recent years, AAG as an organization has taken additional actions to address the organization’s own carbon footprint while also raising its voice on climate action.


Our dedicated work

From the Meridian
Image of the word ACT spray-painted on cement by Mick Haupt for Unsplash
Taking Responsibility: AAG Acts on Climate Change

Collective Concerns, Governance and Policy, Living within Ecosystems
President's Column
Wind turbines in a field
Moving Forward on Climate Change and Professional Ethics

Changing Human Populations, Governance and Policy, Qualitative Data and Analyses
Reports and White Papers
AAG Climate Action Task Force [2021 REPORT]

In response to the current climate crisis, Pam Martin and Joe Nevins circulated a petition in spring 2019 to various geography listservs requesting that the AAG Council take significant action “to reduce CO2 emissions related to the Annual Meeting.”

Reports and White Papers
AAG Climate Action Task Force [2020 REPORT]

In response to the current climate crisis, last spring Pam Martin and Joe Nevins circulated a petition among various geography listservs requesting that the AAG Council take significant action “to reduce CO2 emissions related to the Annual Meeting.”

Members spoke: AAG listened

The member-led AAG Climate Action Task Force, established in 2019, has advised on key AAG activities regarding climate change. One of the major focal points of the Task Force’s work with AAG has been reducing emissions from the Annual Meeting. AAG and the Task Force also conducted a survey of AAG members in 2021, which revealed broad areas of priority for AAG to continually address.

An overwhelming majority of responding members called upon AAG to be a leader on climate change, not only in its public actions but also in every aspect of our operations. The member response provided AAG with clearly defined priorities for transforming its policies and practice, as well as an important measure of AAG’s progress so far.

Bar chart showing climate member responses
Results from a survey of AAG members. Among the 93% who urged AAG to take leadership on climate change, the top suggestion was that AAG take a role in policy and advocacy for climate action.

Creating carbon-conscious meetings

From 2020 until now, AAG renewed its approaches not only to the annual meeting, but to all of its convening activities. The result is much less carbon-intensive meetings, with more progress planned for the future. We have adopted a peer-reviewed method to estimate carbon emissions from meeting participation, which helps us to forecast and plan in ways that avoid emissions. The goal is to reduce emissions from the annual meeting by 45% by 2030 and by 100% by 2050.

The work to create less carbon-intensive meetings has provided unanticipated benefits: in terms of broader worldwide access to events, new ways to present and network, and less pressure on hosting communities.  As AAG continues to learn and innovate, it will enhance its offerings in ways that help it meet its commitment to address climate change.

Download our special report on estimating the carbon impact of AAG meetings
Climate Policy and Advocacy

Giving our membership a voice

AAG works to give its membership a strong voice on the climate emergency, from support of the Inflation Reduction Act’s passage to the related issue of protecting access to science. On global climate action, AAG has participated in COP26 and COP27, as well as participating in joint statements and events that shine light on the climate and biodiversity emergencies.


Learn more


Recent activity

Tell Your Member of Congress to Support the Climate Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

In the past decade scientists and policymakers have proposed sweeping initiatives to reduce global emissions and avert a climate catastrophe. Despite this, continued and unmitigated burning of fossil fuels has propelled the world toward the 1.5° C threshold of irreversible impacts to global environmental and biological systems at an alarming rate, with the U.S. playing a proportionally outsized role. Addressing this emergency requires immediate action. That is why I am asking you to vote in support of the Inflation Reduction Act (H.R. 5376) for its environment and energy provisions, which represents the single-largest investment in meeting our country's low-carbon goals.

Changing Human Populations, Collective Concerns, Governance and Policy
AAG Call for Executive Action on Climate Change

In light of the Supreme Court's recent, unprecedented curtailment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate coal plant emissions in West Virginia v. EPA, the American Association of Geographers (AAG) urges the Biden Administration to use its executive powers to rapidly mitigate the present and severe threats of climate change. Geographers and other geoscientists have developed a robust body of conclusive research demonstrating that climate change is real, is happening now, and already causes human suffering, particularly to the most vulnerable.

Changing Human Populations, Collective Concerns, Governance and Policy
IGSG Joint declaration final

Geographers have unique opportunities and responsibilities in the face of the global biodiversity and climate crises.

AAG Climate Statement April 22 2021

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) is a scholarly, non-profit organization that seeks to advance professional studies in geography, and to encourage the application of geography in education, business, and government.

Photo of exterior facade of new AAG office at 1701 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington DC

Climate-forward operations

AAG is aligning its operations with its stance on climate action, from where the organization is headquartered to how it invests in the future. In 2022, AAG moved to a new, LEED-Gold building that provides significant efficiencies over its former headquarters, and committed to being a fully hybrid office, promoting remote work and telecommuting for all of its staff.

In addition, AAG  has fully divested from fossil-fuel investments, and has retargeted all of its investments to socially just and environmentally friendly options.

Past dedication

march for science
AAG Kicks Off Earth Day with the March for Science

Changing Human Populations, Geography Essentials, Networks and Connections
President's Column
shutterstock_1935619261 journal magazine
Telling Our Stories, Speaking Out and Being Heard as Geographers

Changing Human Populations, Governance and Policy
President's Column
Sign with message, "System change not Climate Change"; Photo by Ma Ti, Unsplash
Finally, a commitment to mitigate climate change and its effects

Collective Concerns, Governance and Policy, Living within Ecosystems
President's Column
The 2020 Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado, the largest wildfire in the state’s history. Credit: Phil Millette, National Interagency Fire Center
Do Look Up

Changing Human Populations, Collective Concerns, Spatial Narratives
President's Column
The Long, Hot Summer

Governance and Policy, Living within Ecosystems, Spatial Narratives
Photo of Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux by Sally McCay, courtesy of University of Vermont
Member Profile: Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux

Evolving Earth, Living within Ecosystems

Continue the conversation

AAG’s notable progress on climate action is only the beginning. There will always be room for improvement and new opportunities to do more. Our leadership and staff continue to work to be responsive and adaptable—not only to the demands of climate change, but also to our members’ ideas, insights, and priorities for the Association. We thank the Climate Action Task Force members for their partnership on this critical issue. Please continue to send your suggestions for AAG’s approach to addressing climate change.


We want to hear from you