Brian McDermott is a Politics, Policy, and Law Scholar at American University in Washington, DC. At a young age, Brian discovered a passion for serving other people and tackling the public problems that hold us all back from a just and prosperous society. Originally from greater Boston, Brian first immersed himself in the fight for climate justice as a senior in high school. As an Action Fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), Brian gained a grasp of how deeply intersectional climate change is, exacerbating nearly every other issue worthy of our attention, from racial justice to public health to poverty. With ACE, Brian lobbied government officials to divest Massachusetts’ pension fund from fossil fuels, held the media accountable for poor coverage of climate change in two op-eds for Common Dreams, and delivered a number of speeches at rallies and other events in support of strong climate action. Brian found that youth can carry significant power in affecting policy change and have a powerful voice in the struggle for climate justice.
Now in his second year at American University, Brian is actively engaged in environmental justice work in DC. He is the Energy & Environment Policy Coordinator for the Roosevelt Institute, the nation’s largest student-run, student-led think tank. In his role, Brian supports students across the country crafting and advocating for progressive energy and environmental policies. He has also served as a Summer Fellow with Roosevelt, advocating for Massachusetts to transition to 100% renewable energy. He has been published in Roosevelt’s undergraduate policy journal 10 Ideas, in which he proposed that the federal government should implement a carbon tax that would fund community college educations and a temporary jobs program for displaced fossil fuel workers.
Since coming to DC, Brian has been deeply engaged in international climate policy. Last August, he attended a meeting at the State Department with Jonathan Pershing, who served as Special Envoy for Climate Change during the Obama administration, along with a delegation from SustainUs to talk about youth in the climate movement. In December, he joined ACE at the World Bank’s Law, Justice, and Development Week, where he had the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of lawyers and development professionals, and interview several figures of international climate policy, such as former UN Environment Programme Director Achim Steiner. In April, he attended the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings as a member of a youth delegation to learn about international energy policy and to lobby the World Bank to take stronger action to address climate change.