Global Trade and the Coming Climate Disruption

Center for Global Business Annual Forum

April 20, 2020


The Center for Global Business’ Annual Forum is an event occurring every spring that brings together distinguished voices from the academic, policy, diplomatic, and business communities to speak on a different theme each year. This year we welcomed three experts to speak on Global Trade and the Coming Climate Disruption.


  • Paul Brenton, Lead Economist for Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice, The World Bank
  • Alice Hill, Senior Fellow for Climate Change Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Robert Orr, Dean and Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Kislaya Prasad, the academic director of the Center for Global Business, led the discussion. Experts offered insights on the links between global trade and climate change, how policies regarding either issue will impact the other, and the importance that leadership from both complexities need to work together to achieve any progress.

About the Speakers

Paul BrentonPaul Brenton, Lead Economist in the Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice, The World Bank

Paul Brenton focuses on analytical and operation work on trade and regional integration. He has been leading the implementation of World Bank lending operations such as the $140million Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project in DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. He recently co-authored the joint World Bank-WTO report on The Role of Trade in Ending Poverty and has managed a range of policy-oriented volumes including: De-Fragmenting Africa: Deepening Regional Trade Integration in Goods and Services; Africa can Help Feed Africa; and Carbon Footprints and Food Systems: Do Current Accounting Methodologies Disadvantage Developing Countries? Brenton joined the World Bank in 2002, having previously been senior research fellow and head of the Trade Policy Unit at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. Before that, he lectured in economics at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He has a PhD in economics from the University of East Anglia. A collection of Brenton’s work has been published in the volume International Trade, Distribution and Development: Empirical Studies of Trade Policies. Many of his research and policy papers are available online.

Alice HillAlice Hill, Senior Fellow for Climate Change Policy, Council on Foreign Relations

Alice Hill is a senior fellow for climate change policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her work at CFR focuses on the risks, consequences, and responses associated with climate change. Hill previously served as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council staff where she led the development of national policy to build greater resilience to catastrophic risk, including climate change. Earlier in her career, she was a supervising judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court and chief of the white-collar crime unit in the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, California. Oxford University Press published her co-authored book, Building a Resilient Tomorrow, in the fall of 2019. She currently serves on the boards of the Environmental Defense Fund and Munich Re Group’s U.S. based companies.

Robert OrrRobert Orr, Dean and Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Robert C. Orr serves as UMD School of Public Policy dean, United Nations under-secretary-general, and special advisor to the UN secretary-general on climate change. He also serves as president of NASPAA, the global association of public policy, affairs and administration schools. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, Orr served as the assistant secretary-general for strategic planning in the Executive Office of the United Nations secretary-general from 2004 to 2014 and was the principal advisor to the secretary-general on counter-terrorism, peacebuilding, women’s and children’s health, sustainable energy, food and nutrition, institutional innovation, public-private partnership and climate change. Orr joined the United Nations from Harvard University where he served as the executive director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government. Prior to this, he served as director of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. He has served in senior posts in the government of the United States, including deputy to the United States ambassador to the United Nations and director of global affairs at the National Security Council, where he was responsible for peacekeeping and humanitarian affairs.