Monday, May 9, 2016

URSP Student Beverly Harp Researches the U.S.-India Bilateral Climate Treaty

I started my research when I became a part of George Mason’s cohort of Global Problem Solving Fellows. My initial research question was on the U.S.-India bilateral climate treaty and how the quality of U.S. climate finance would influence India’s willingness to pursue carbon reductions. While in Rajasthan, India this past summer I was able to speak with the state’s Renewable Energy Corporation as well as with a few non-profit organizations working on energy issues in Rajasthan. These conversations shifted my research to how climate finance could be more receptive to local energy needs and dynamics. Gender and energy was a reoccurring theme in my interviews and since returning my research has focused on ways in which U.S. climate finance can be more gender sensitive. This semester as an Undergraduate Research Scholar I have been synthesizing my research on the high-level U.S.-India relations and the local impacts of climate finance.

Long term I hope to work in global governance policy with a focus on climate change mitigation and adaption. My research has already given me the foundation necessary for my current internship with the Heinrich Boell Foundation. Most of my work for URSP this semester has consisted of literature reviews and going through reports on climate finance and successful climate mitigation projects in South Asia, but I did get a chance to travel with my research. A few weeks ago I participated in the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women as a youth delegate. During this week I attended over a dozen panels on energy access and rural development hosted by women’s NGOs from around the world. This type of learning has been crucial to my research. I learned about everything from the Philippines’ Department of Energy gender toolkit to successful attempts at including rural women in the creation of international development goals. It was also a space to share my research: I sat on a panel on gender and climate change at the first ever Youth Commission on the Status of Women.