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AAG leads the way in every aspect of its operations
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
AAG’s Climate Action Task Force created the road map
AAG’s member-led Climate Action Task Force began in 2019 advising AAG council on key activities to help the organization and its membership reduce CO2 emissions. One of the major focal points was reducing emissions from the annual meeting. The task force set out to gather recommendations from members, other organizations and known efforts on further steps AAG could take to blaze a trail in innovative and impactful ways.
AAG Climate Action Task Force Committee Members
- Dydia DeLyser
- John Hayes
- Wendy Jepson
- Rebecca Lave
- Pam Martin
- Joe Nevins
- Betsy Olson
- Tom Ptak
- Shaina Saidal
- Ryan Stock
- Farhana Sultana
- Emily Yeh
- Oscar Larson
- Elin Thorlund
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.”
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
AAG and its Climate Action Task Force conducted a survey of AAG members in 2021, which revealed broad areas of priority for the organization to continually address.
An overwhelming majority of responding members called upon AAG to be a leader on climate change. 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.
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.
2023 Climate Change & Society Cohort
Meet the inaugural members of our Elevate the Discipline program who are leveraging the media and other public channels as voices for public policies, and advocates for change.Learn more
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.
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.
Geographers have unique opportunities and responsibilities in the face of the global biodiversity and climate crises.
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.
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.
AAG has a history of dedication to climate change efforts
Focus: Rethinking Professional Geographical Practice in a Time of Climate Crisis
AAG’s Climate Action Task Force initiated a special section in The Professional Geographer that was designed to advance debate by presenting diverse perspectives on a low carbon or carbon neutral annual meeting.Login and read the full issue
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