Climate change impacts on cultural heritage: Facing the challenge

Andrew Potts

Potts Andrew

Andrew Potts is the coordinator of the International Council on Monuments and Sites’ Climate Change and Heritage Working Group (CCHWG).  In December 2017, the Triennial ICOMOS General Assembly meeting in New Delhi, India adopted Resolution 19GA 2017/30 entitled Mobilizing ICOMOS and the Cultural Heritage Community To Help Meet the Challenge of Climate Change.  The CCHWG was formed to advance the Resolution’s ambitious mandate.

In July 2019, the CCHWG released its report The Future of Our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action.  Potts served as a lead author and helped manage the publication process. The Future of Our Pasts Report scoped hundreds of ways in which cultural heritage can drive the transitions in land use, buildings, and other sectors that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said are required to meet Paris Agreement targets. It also catalogued the myriad climate change impacts that are already testing the adaptive capacity of every heritage typology.

ICOMOS also serves as the Secretariat for the Climate Heritage Network and Potts coordinates that work. The Climate Heritage Networks links hundreds of agencies, ministries, organisations, businesses and universities which share a commitment to the role arts, culture and heritage can play in tackling the climate emergency.

A lawyer by training, for 20 years Andrew practiced in the Tax Credit Finance & Syndication group of Nixon Peabody LLP, where he focused on the intersection of historic preservation and sustainable development finance. Andrew holds a J.D. from Indiana University. He previously served as Associate General Counsel of the US National Trust for Historic Preservation and is the recipient of the National Trust’s John H. Chafee Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy.

Andrew is a member of the ICOMOS international committee on Heritage Law, Administration and Finance (ICLAFI) and previously served as ICOMOS Focal Point for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).