Faculty Spotlight for June 2008
Michael Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. He is also Director of the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) at the Woodrow Wilson School and Faculty Associate of the Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences Program, Princeton Environmental Institute, and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.
He joined the Princeton faculty after more than two decades with Environmental Defense Fund, a non-governmental, environmental organization, where he served as chief scientist and manager of the Climate and Air Program. Oppenheimer is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, serving most recently as a lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report.
He is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Panel on Alternative Liquid Transportation Fuels. He is also a science advisor to Environmental Defense Fund. His interests include science and policy of the atmosphere, particularly climate change and its impacts. Much of his research aims to understand the potential for “dangerous” outcomes of increasing levels of greenhouse gases by exploring the effects of global warming on ecosystems such as coral reefs, on the ice sheets, and on sea level,. He also studies the role played by nongovernmental organizations in the policy arena, the role of scientific learning and scientific assessment in decisions on problems of global change, and the potential value of precautionary frameworks.