With the United Nations in the midst of a leadership change, we spoke with two climate experts, Sherri Goodman and Ruth Greenspan Bell, about the critical role that institution plays in addressing security challenges connected to a warming planet. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.


Sherri Goodman is an executive, lawyer, former defense official and Senate Armed Services Committee staff professional based in Washington DC. She is currently a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Most recently she served as the President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, which manages large federally funded science and technology programs and whose members are the 90 premier oceanographic research institutions, aquaria and industry. Goodman previously served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of CNA, a research organization for national security leaders and public sector organizations. She is the founder and Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board, whose landmark reports include National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (2007), Powering America’s Economy: Energy Innovation at the Crossroads of National Security Challenges, 2010, and National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change (2014), among others. Goodman served as the first Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security), responsible for global environmental, safety and occupational health programs and policies of the Department of Defense. She was the first female professional staff member on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Goodman is a member of the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board. She serves on the boards of the Atlantic Council, Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Museum,  the Joint Ocean Leadership Initiative, the Marshall Legacy Institute,  and the US Water Partnership. She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her media and speaking appearances include CNN, National Public Radio, BBC, and Al Jazeera. She has appeared in numerous documentaries, including the “Journey to Planet Earth” Series on PBS, narrated by Matt Damon.  Her articles have appeared in newspapers, including The Washington Post, Politico, The Hill,  and Defense News. She was also profiled in Buzzfeed  http://www.buzzfeed.com/danvergano/the-threat-multiplier.

Ruth Greenspan Bell is Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Research Associate, Center for Decision Sciences, Columbia Business School and Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute. With a long-standing focus on the governance issues inherent in managing greenhouse gas emissions, domestically and internationally, she is co-leader (with Elke Weber of Columbia University) of a program to harvest insights from behavioral social science research to demonstrate how to re-motivate how humans engage with energy. Previously, she was Senior Fellow and Director of the US Climate Policy Objective at World Resources Institute; directed International Institutional Development and Environmental Assistance at Resources for the Future (working to build more effective systems of environmental protection globally, producing, for example, a highly acclaimed study of the policy process and changes -- including the switch of all commercial vehicles from petrol and diesel to CNG -- that led to improvements in air quality in Delhi); Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; and before that, in various domestic management positions in U.S. EPA's Office of General Counsel. In 2007-2008, Bell established the conditions under which the Polish Foreign Ministry appointed an experienced diplomat to the position of Climate Ambassador, in preparation for the Polish hosting of the UNFCCC negotiating meeting (COP 14) in Poznan; to support the work of the Ambassador, she built and managed a Polish Task Force. Bell publishes extensively about environmental governance and climate change, addressing policy and environmental audiences (Foreign Affairs, Issues in Science and Technology, Environment, Environmental Forum, Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, Environmental Law Reporter and Harvard International Review among the periodicals; chapters in various books; and as co-author of Building International Climate Cooperation, Lessons from the weapons and trade regimes for achieving international climate goals). Her publications are widely-republished and often translated. Bell serves on several boards (currently the International Senior Lawyers Project and previously chairing The Mountain Institute) and is a long-standing member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming. Previously he served as host and producer of Dialogue at the Wilson Center and Close Up on C-SPAN. He also teaches a course on politics and media for Penn State’s Washington Program.