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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Members' Biographical Sketches


Richard Moss (Chair) is senior research scientist with the Joint Global Change Research Institute at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/University of Maryland, visiting senior research scientist at the Earth Systems Science Interdisciplinary Center, and senior fellow with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). He has served as director of the Office of the US Global Change Research Program/Climate Change Science Program (2000-06), vice president and managing director for Climate Change at WWF (2007-09), and senior director of the U.N. Foundation Energy and Climate Program (2006-2007). He also directed the Technical Support Unit of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) impacts, adaptation, and mitigation working group (1993-1999) and served on the faculty of Princeton University (1989-91). He was a coordinating lead author of Confronting Climate Change and Realizing the Potential of Energy Efficiency, led preparation of the U.S. government’s 10-year climate change research plan, and has been a lead author and editor of a number of IPCC Assessments, Special Reports, and Technical Papers. Moss remains active in the IPCC and currently co-chairs the IPCC Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis. He serves on the U.S. National Academy of Science’s standing committee on the “human dimensions” of global environmental change and the editorial board of Climatic Change. He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2006, a Distinguished Associate of the U.S. Department of Energy in 2004, and a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program in 2001. Moss’ research interests include development and use of scenarios, characterization and communication of uncertainty, and quantitative indicators of adaptive capacity and vulnerability to climate change. He received an M.P.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University (public and international affairs) and his B.A. from Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

Joseph Arvai is the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise in the School of Natural Resources & Environment, and the Ross School of Business, at the University of Michigan. He is also the Director of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. In addition to his position at the U of M, Joe is a Senior Researcher at the Decision Science Research Institute in Eugene, OR, and he is an Adjunct Professor in Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Joe is an internationally recognized expert in the risk and decisions sciences; his research has two main areas of emphasis: First, his research is focused on advancing our understanding of how people process information and make decisions, with a specific emphasis on how people make tradeoffs. Second, Joe and his research group conduct research focused on developing and testing decision-aiding tools and approaches that can be used by people to improve decision quality across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic contexts. Joe’s research is applied, and accounts for decision-making by a broad spectrum of public and stakeholder groups, as well as by technical experts, business leaders, and policy makers. His work also focuses on choices made by people individually, and when working in groups. Likewise, he conducts his research across a wide range of contexts, ranging from environmental risk management to consumer choice and policy-making.

Anthony Bebbington (NAS) is Professor and Director, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University, USA. He was previously Professor of Nature, Society and Development in School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, UK. He is a geographer whose work focuses on international development studies. He previously held academic positions as associate professor of geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1999-2203), and research officer at the Centre for Latin American Studies at Cambridge (1989-1992). He has been a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (1992-4) and International Institute for Environment and Development (1994-5) and a social scientist in the World Bank's Social Development Department (1995-6, 1999-2000). He is also a member and research affiliate of the Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES) in Peru. He has collaborated with a wide range of Latin American and other institutions, including CEPES (Peru), the Grupo de Investigaciones Agrarias (Chile), RIMISP-Latin American Centre for Rural Development (Chile), PRISMA-the Salvadoran Programme for Research in Development and the Environment (El Salvador), Comunidec (Ecuador), Oxfam UK-Peru (Peru), the Colombian-DfID programme for NGO strengthening (Colombia), and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America. Internationally his recent collaborations have included the World Bank (Social Development Department and World Development Report teams), the International Food Policy Research Institute, and Oxfam US. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009. Dr. Bebbington graduated with a bachelor’s degree with honors in geography-land economy from the University of Cambridge and he earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University.

William U. Chandler is president of Transition Energy, a private-sector organization focused on clean energy development globally, with a primary focus on China. He was the founder and first director of Advanced International Studies at Battelle Memorial Institute’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He retired in 2005 to pursue other opportunities in energy and environmental policy. Chandler has authored or coauthored 11 books, including Energy: The Conservation Revolution (New York: Plenum, 1981), coauthored with John H. Gibbons; The Myth of TVA: Conservation and Development in the Tennessee Valley, 1933-1983 (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1983); State of the World (Vols. 1985-1989) (New York: W.W. Norton); and Energy and Environment in the Transition Economies (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2000). His international work has included institution building, policy development, and project finance. He led the creation of independent, not-for-profit energy efficiency centers in six nations, including Russia and China, drawing on support from governments and foundations. He has led case studies of energy and climate in several transition economies (e.g., W.U. Chandler, ed., Carbon Emissions Control Strategies: Case Studies in International Cooperation (Washington: Conservation Foundation, 1990)]. He has been a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, most recently focusing on technology transfer. His earlier work concentrated on domestic U.S. energy policy. In 1988, he led a study involving 30 U.S. energy experts, resulting in the publication of Energy Efficiency: A New Agenda (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 1988). He served from 1998-2000 on the international energy panel of the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In 1999, he received one of two individual awards for global leadership from the Climate Technology Initiative, administered by the International Energy Agency. Chandler holds a B.S. from the University of Tennessee, and an M.P.A. from Harvard University.

F. Stuart Chapin III (NAS) is a professor of ecology at the Department of Biology and Wildlife of the Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska. In August 2010, he became president of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Chapin also serves as principal investigator of the Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, and has a background in plant physiological ecology and ecosystem ecology. His current research interests focus on the resilience of social-ecological systems. As director of the graduate educational program in Resilience and Adaptation at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Chapin studies human-fire interactions in the boreal forest. As President of ESA, he plans to address the “critical issue” of planetary stewardship. With Mary Power and Steward Pickett, Chapin is leading a Planetary Stewardship initiative “whose goal is to reorient society toward a more sustainable relationship with the biosphere.” He received his B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College in 1966, and his Ph.D. in biological sciences from Stanford University in 1973.

Ruth DeFries is a professor at Columbia University. She is an environmental geographer who specializes in the use of remote sensing to study Earth’s habitability under the influence of human activities, such as deforestation, that influence regulating biophysical and biogeochemical processes. Her research investigates the relationships between human activities, the land surface, and the biophysical and biogeochemical processes that regulate the Earth's habitability. Dr. DeFries is interested in using remotely sensed data to observe land cover and land use change at regional and global scales, and in exploring the implications of those changes for such ecological services as climate regulation, the carbon cycle, and biodiversity. She and her collaborators have developed a more precise approach to mapping land cover, which has significantly enhanced researchers’ ability to make more plausible projections. Previously, she worked at the National Research Council with the Committee on Global Change and taught at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. She is a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and received a MacArthur “Genius Award” in 2007. Dr. DeFries is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and her B.S. in earth science from Washington University.

Hallie C. Eakin is an associate professor in Sustainability Science with the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University. Her research focuses on the adaptability, resilience and sustainability of households in face of global environmental and socioeconomic change. Her research has largely focused on the livelihoods of rural smallholders in Latin America and on food system sustainability and resilience. Recently, Dr. Eakin has investigated processes of change and vulnerabilities in the Mexican maize system, and the adaptive capacity of Mesoamerican coffee farmers. Currently she is coordinating an international initiative exploring the sustainability and resilience implications of adaptation to social-hydrological risk in Mexico City. Dr. Eakin has consulted with the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency on projects in agricultural development, the use of seasonal forecasting in drought risk mitigation, and adaptation to anticipated climate-change impacts on urban water availability. She earned a B.A. in environmental studies from Brown University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in geography and regional development from the University of Arizona.

Richard G. Newell is the President and CEO of Resources for the Future (RFF), an independent nonprofit that improves environmental, energy, and natural resource decisionmaking through rigorous economic research and analysis. He has held senior government appointments as the administrator of the US Energy Information Administration and as the senior economist for energy and environment on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Dr. Newell is an adjunct professor at Duke University, where he was previously the Gendell Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics and Founding Director of its Energy Initiative. He has published widely on the economics of markets and policies for energy and the environment, including issues surrounding global climate change, energy efficiency, and energy innovation. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the National Petroleum Council, advisory boards of the National Academy of Sciences, and several other institutions. Dr. Newell holds a PhD from Harvard University and an MPA from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Jonathan Overpeck is a founding co-director of the Institute of the Environment, as well as a professor of geosciences and a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. Dr. Overpeck has published over 130 papers in climate and the environmental sciences, and recently served as a coordinating lead author for the Nobel Prize winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment (2007). He has also been awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze and Gold Medals, as well as the Walter Orr Roberts award of the American Meteorological Society, for his interdisciplinary research. Overpeck has also been a Guggenheim Fellow, was the 2005 American Geophysical Union Bjerknes Lecturer, and won, with co-authors, the 2008 NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Outstanding Scientific Paper Award. Peck is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. Before coming to The University of Arizona, Peck was the founding director of the NOAA Paleoclimatology Program and also the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology, both in Boulder, Colorado. While in Boulder, he was also a fellow at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado. He received his B.A. from Hamilton College, followed by a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Brown University.

Stephen Polasky is the Fesler-Lamper Professor of Ecological/Environmental Economics at the University of Minnesota. He previously held faculty positions in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Oregon State University and the Department of Economics at Boston College. Dr. Polasky was the senior staff economist for environment and resources for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers 1998-1999. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009 and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007. His research interests include ecosystem services, natural capital, biodiversity conservation, endangered species policy, integrating ecological and economic analysis, renewable energy, environmental regulation, and common property resources. His papers have been published in Biological Conservation, Ecological Applications, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, International Economic Review, Land Economics, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science and other journals. He has served as co-editor and associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, as associate editor for International Journal of Business and Economics, and is currently serving as an associate editor for Conservation Letters, Ecology and Society and Ecology Letters. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

J. Timmons Roberts is Ittleson Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at Brown University, where he was Director of the Center for Environmental Studies from 2009 to 2012. During 2012-13 he is Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He taught at the College of William and Mary and directed its Program in Environmental Science and Policy from 2001 to 2009, and before that he held a joint appointment in Latin American Studies and Sociology and co-directed the Environmental Studies program at Tulane University from 1991 to 2001. Timmons was a James Martin 21st Century Professor at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute in 2006-2007, and a Research Fellow at William and Mary's Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations in 2008-2009. Co-author and editor of eight books and edited volumes, and of over sixty articles and book chapters, Timmons' current research focuses on climate change and international development, with a core focus is on how equity affects our ability to address this complex global problem. His 1992 Ph.D. was from Johns Hopkins University in Sociology's Program in Comparative International Development. His B.A. was in Biology (with research in tropical and temperate ecology) from Kenyon College.

Maxine L. Savitz (NAE) is a retired general manager, Technology/Partnerships at Honeywell, Inc. formerly Allied Signal. She is also member and current vice president of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Savitz was employed at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies (1974-1983) and served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Conservation. Dr. Savitz serves on the board of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, and on advisory bodies for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She serves on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology visiting committee for sponsored research activities. In 2009, Dr. Savitz was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology. Past board memberships include the National Science Board, Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, Defense Science Board, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRU), Draper Laboratories, and the Energy Foundation. Dr. Savitz’s awards and honors include: the Orton Memorial Lecturer Award (American Ceramic Society) in 1998; the DOE Outstanding Service Medal in1981; the President’s Meritorious Rank Award in 1980; recognition by the Engineering News Record for Contribution to the Construction Industry in 1979 and 1975; and the MERDC Commander Award for Scientific Excellence in 1967. She is the author of about 20 publications. Dr. Savitz has served on numerous National Research Council committees and participated in multiple NAS activities. She is a member of the Division Committee on Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Robyn S. Wilson is an associate professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. She is a behavioral decision scientist, focusing primarily on the individual decision making process under risk and uncertainty. Specifically, she studies the interplay between intuitive and analytic information processing and the influence this has on risk perception and ultimately individual preferences or choices. Dr. Wilson is also interested in the development of strategic communication efforts aimed at correcting for deficiencies in information processing, as well as the use of decision support tools that assist individuals in making more informed and value-consistent choices. She pursues these interests across multiple land and resource management contexts (e.g., forests, wildlife, water), multiple hazards (e.g., wildfire, agricultural runoff, climate change), and types of decision makers (e.g., laypeople and experts). Dr. Wilson is the behavioral sciences faculty leader for the Sustainable and Resilient Economy program at Ohio State where she focuses on integrating behavioral mechanisms into integrated assessments of the sustainability of policies and technologies. She is also a council member for the Society for Risk Analysis, and a member of the International Joint Commission's Water Quality Board. She received her B.A. in environmental studies from Denison University and M.S./Ph.D. in natural resource management from The Ohio State University.


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