Research Projects

CURRENT PROJECTS

Climate and the cultural sector

As a long term member of the board of Julie's Bicycle I plan to document their collaborations with artists and cultural leaders to reduce emissions and communicate climate change. 

Earth Systems Justice

As a member of the Earth Commission I have been collaborating with Joyeeta Gupta (U. Amsterdam), Lauren Gifford, and others to develop a justice approach to setting targets to reduce the risks of global changes. 

Climate change and sustainable development

Through my work with the IPCC I have become interested in the synergies and tradeoffs between responses to climate change and goals for sustainable development.  I have several writing projects around this topic. I was a lead author for Chapter Five of the 2018 1.5C report and the Review Editor for Chapter 18 on Climate Resilient Development in the Sixth Assessment Working Group 2 2022 report.  

Gender and climate science

I was the rapporteur for the IPCC Gender Task Force which is working to make recommendations on gender balance and voice in the IPCC and together with Miriam Gay-Antaki and others have written about our findings. I also help maintain the wiki page on women in climate change

Climate Adaptation

With the University of Arizona Center for Climate Adaptation and through the work of my former graduate students I am working on climate adaptation, especially in Latin America, the governance of adaptation, discourses of adaptation, and how to assess the effectiveness of climate adaptation.

GENERAL RESEARCH INTERESTS

Climate, Poverty and Development

I’ve been interested in climate vulnerability and impacts on the poor for most of my professional career, working with a series of projects, including many graduate student dissertations in both North and South America.   I have also become interested in the impacts of climate policies – both emission reductions and adaptation – on different groups in society. 

Environmental Governance and Political Ecology

While the work on poverty and climate engages with questions of governance I have some broader interests in earth system governance and environmental governance in Mexico and the US-Mexico border region.  I have been affiliated with the ICSU Earth System Governance project since they wrote their science plan and have also worked with  international groups that have been thinking about Planetary Boundaries and about governance in the Anthropocene.  You can see some of our work under my publications.  I wrote a review article on political ecology and climate governance – I tend to work both with the earth scientists (playing a general role as social scientist) and from more critical perspectives.  A decade ago I did a fair bit of theoretical and empirical work on the environmental impacts of neoliberalism in Latin America and NAFTA on the border.  I updated this work in a recent article which provides a retrospective of NAFTA asking whether environmental concerns expressed in the 1990s have come to pass.

Climate Assessment and Climate Services

As a former contributor to IPCC, advisor to NOAA and UKCIP, panel chair for the America’s Climate Choices Informing report and member of the US National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee I have a major research interest in the assessment and communication of climate science to stakeholders and the public.    I have long worked on how to improve collaboration and communication between natural and social scientist on global change.   I have also been studying and writing about the need to study climate impacts on the broader economy including manufacturing and services  and the importance of understanding climate impacts in global contexts.   For example most regions now depend on global supply chain and on prices determined in a globalized economy.

Climate Adaptation

My work on climate adaptation includes several years as chair of the global environmental change and food systems (GECAFS) project –  which was one of the  seeds for the CGIAR  climate change  agriculture and food  security project.   I’ve actually been working on climate and agriculture  for much longer –  beginning with the crop modeling work I did as a graduate student and my doctorate on climate change and  the world food system.    I am also interested in the international governance of adaptation.   I am one of the founders  of the University of Arizona Center for climate adaptation science and solutions (CCASS) which brings together all of us working on climate adaptation and I try in particular to be a good ally to indigenous colleagues at the university.

Finding my public voice

In 2014 I was fortunate to be selected as a Tucson fellow for the national op-ed public voices project which seeks to increase the number of women who  contribute to the media.   Fellows are mentored  and edited to produce and submit short pieces  for the media.   So far I have written pieces on climate change in Southwest, climate and the economy, climate and conflict, optimistic environmental teaching, and connections between feelings for dogs and wolves.