Glasgow Calling: In a crucial year for climate, The Nature Conservancy appoints renowned climate scientist and communicator Professor Katharine Hayhoe
Hayhoe brings rigor, awareness, and advocacy to Conservancy’s proud record of applying science for a sustainable future
Riding a wave of optimism about renewed global climate action, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Professor Katharine Hayhoe as its new Chief Scientist.
Widely recognized as one of the world’s most effective and engaging climate scientists and science communicators, Prof. Hayhoe’s body of work at the cutting edge of climate research and human impacts has earned tremendous recognition. The United Nations selected her for its prestigious UN Champions of the Earth accolade in 2019; TIME Magazine featured her on its 100 Most Influential People list (2014); and the World Evangelical Alliance named her their climate ambassador this past year. A frequent media commentator known for engaging diverse audiences around the world, her TED talk has nearly 4 million views. She is also author of the forthcoming book Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, which looks at how all of us can, and must, play a role in saving our future (One Signal/Simon & Schuster, September 2021).
Commenting on Prof. Hayhoe’s appointment, The Nature Conservancy’s CEO, Jennifer Morris said: “With Glasgow calling, and a momentous need for concerted global leadership on climate change never greater, Katharine joins The Nature Conservancy at the perfect time. As the climate emergency and biodiversity loss continue to affect our health, economies and very way of life, Katharine doesn’t see these challenges as ‘environmental issues,’ but rather, ‘everything issues.’ And she’s right. As we race to address these interrelated crises, Katharine’s ability to galvanize audiences beyond the usual environmental bubble is monumental. Her impeccable academic record, energetic leadership, and grounded optimism will help motivate us all into action for this critical decade ahead. We are thrilled to welcome her as our new Chief Scientist.”
An expert in assessing and communicating the potential threats and policy implications of climate change on human societies and natural ecosystems, Prof. Hayhoe has served for many years as a lead author of the U.S. National Climate Assessments during the administrations of U.S. Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump. She has published over 85 peer-reviewed journal articles, co-authored a forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press on high-resolution climate projections, and has authored many other publications covering themes ranging from agriculture, energy and public health to greenhouse gas mitigation, ecology, and education. She also serves as co-Principal Investigator for the U.S. Department of Interior’s South-Central Climate Science Center.
Regarding her new role, Prof. Hayhoe said: “I’ve long admired The Nature Conservancy’s combination of mission-driven values, science-based strategies, and pragmatic, solutions-focused approaches to reconciling the needs of human development with those of the wider ecosystems of which we are all part. With a year of major climate and environmental policy moments ahead, effective science communication has never been more important. Being invited to represent and steer TNC’s research at a global level is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I cannot wait to get started.”
Prof. Hayhoe currently serves on advisory boards for a broad range of organizations, from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to the Earth Science Women’s Network and is an Oxfam Sister of the Planet. She also helped launch Science Moms, a nonpartisan group of climate scientists and mothers striving to demystify climate change for children and families. A native of Canada, Prof. Hayhoe holds a B.Sc. in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Toronto and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has also been awarded honorary doctorates from Colgate University and her alma mater, Victoria University at the University of Toronto.
Prof’s Hayhoe’s appointment follows a rigorous, externally audited hiring process that saw 82 high-quality scientific applicants eventually whittled down to a final shortlist of six candidates. Prof. Hayhoe will commence her new role on June 1, 2021 and report directly to Jennifer Morris. She joins TNC from Texas Tech University, where she currently serves as Professor and Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Public Law within the Department of Political Science, as well co-directing the University Climate Center; and was recently named a Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor. In addition to assuming the role of Chief Scientist and retaining an academic appointment at Texas Tech, she will also take responsibility for the Conservancy’s wider portfolio of global climate advocacy and adaptation work.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.