Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation

June 8, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and the Princeton Environmental Institute. Director, Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment


Ramón J. Cruz *02, President, Sierra Club

Andrew Eil *09, Partner, Climate Finance Advisors

William Bohnett ’70, Chair, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Cheryl LaFleur ’75, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy

Katie Arkema ’00, Lead Scientist, Natural Capital Project, Stanford University




Michael Oppenheimer
Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and the Princeton Environmental Institute. Director, Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment.

Michael Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School, the Department of Geosciences, and the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University. He is the Director of the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE) at the Woodrow Wilson School and Faculty Associate of the Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences Program and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.

Oppenheimer joined the Princeton faculty after more than two decades with The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a non-governmental, environmental organization, where he served as chief scientist and manager of the Climate and Air Program.  He continues to serve as a science advisor to EDF.

He is the author of over 180 articles published in professional journals and is co-author (with Robert H. Boyle) of a 1990 book, Dead Heat: The Race Against The Greenhouse Effect. He is coauthor of the book Discerning Experts: The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy, published in 2019 by the University of Chicago Press.

Oppenheimer is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, serving recently as a Coordinating Lead Author on IPCC’s Special Report on Oceans, Cryosphere, and Climate Change and currently as a Review Editor on the Sixth Assessment Report. Oppenheimer served previously as a member of several panels of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the National Academies’ Board on Energy and Environmental Studies. He is also a winner of the 2010 Heinz Award and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Oppenheimer is also co-editor of interdisciplinary scientific journal, Climatic Change.

His interests include science and policy of the atmosphere, particularly climate change, the risks and impacts climate change entails, and adaptation and other human responses. His research aims to understand the potential for “dangerous” outcomes of increasing levels of greenhouse gases by exploring the effects of global warming on the ice sheets and sea level, on the risk from coastal storms, and on patterns of human migration. He also studies the process of scientific learning and scientific assessments and their role in understanding problems of global change.

In the late 1980’s, Dr. Oppenheimer and a handful of other scientists organized two workshops under the auspices of the United Nations that helped precipitate the negotiations that resulted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (signed at the 1992 Earth Summit) and the Kyoto Protocol. During that period, he co-founded the Climate Action Network. His research and advocacy work on acid rain also contributed to the passage of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. Dr. Oppenheimer has been a guest on many television and radio programs, including ABC’s This Week, CBS’s 60 Minutes,The News Hour, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the Colbert Report.

Prior to his position at The Environmental Defense Fund, Dr. Oppenheimer served as Atomic and Molecular Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Lecturer on Astronomy at Harvard University. He received an S.B. in chemistry from M.I.T., a Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Chicago, and pursued post-doctoral research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.





Ramón J. Cruz *02
President, Sierra Club

Ramón Cruz has over 20 years of experience intersecting the fields of sustainability, environmental policy, urban planning, energy and climate change. He has worked in the public sector in his native Puerto Rico as the Deputy Director of the Environmental Quality Board, the state environmental regulatory agency and as Commissioner of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission.  He has also worked in the non-governmental sector in senior positions at the Environmental Defense Fund, the Partnership for New York City and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. He has been a consultant for the World Bank, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). In May 2020, he was elected President of the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest environmental organization with 3.8 million members and supporters in 63 chapters across the United States.


Andrew Eil *09
Partner, Climate Finance Advisors 

Andrew Eil is a partner at Climate Finance Advisors (CFA), a boutique consultancy focused on aligning financial decision-making with climate change imperatives and directing resources to climate solutions.  He focuses on the intersection of international development, public policy, and sustainable investing. At CFA, Andrew has developed strategies for the World Bank, ClimateWorks Foundation, and NRDC focused on sustainable cooling; is supporting the U.S. Government-funded Private Investment for Enhanced Resilience program; and supported COFIDE, the national development bank of Peru, to mainstream climate risk considerations into strategy and operations. His recent co-authored publications include a paper for UNEP-FI and the Global Commission on Adaptation on financing climate adaptation and climate-proofing the financial system and two reports on financial incentives and structures for efficient cooling and climate-friendly refrigerants.

As an independent consultant from 2014 to 2018, his clients included the World Bank, U.N. Environment Programme, ICF, C40 Cities Leadership Group, Pisces Foundation, and Bloomberg LLP. As the Coordinator of Climate Change Assistance Programs at the U.S. Department of State from 2010 to 2014, he managed a $75 million portfolio of clean energy programs funded by the U.S. Government’s Global Climate Change Initiative, designed to assist developing countries in accelerating their transition to low-carbon growth pathways. Prior to joining the State Department, Andrew worked for the World Bank and International Finance Corporation on the World Bank Group’s clean energy strategy (2009-2010).

A level II candidate for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) certifications, Andrew holds a certificate in sustainable finance from Columbia University, an MPA from Princeton University, and a BA from Harvard University. He speaks Russian, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.


William Bohnett ’70
Chair, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center 

Bill Bohnett is the Chair of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and served on the Smithsonian National Board from 2009-2018. He additionally is the Chair of Little Sun Inc, a U.S. and German NGO working on renewable energy projects in Africa. He is a board member of American Forests, the nation’s oldest national conservation organization. Also, as an Executive Committee member of the US Council on Competitiveness, he studies competitiveness issues for the US, and globally for its affiliate, the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils.

Bill has maintained a  domestic and international speaking schedule on sustainability and social entrepreneurship and has been a guest lecturer on the same topics at  several universities. He was a partner in the international law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski ( now NortonRoseFulbright), and was a co-founding investor in GeoCities, an early Internet company.  He has served on the boards or in other capacities for a number of different non-profits, including World Resources Institute, Environmental Defense Fund and Synergos.


Cheryl LaFleur ’75
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy

Cheryl A. LaFleur is a nationally-recognized energy leader. On June 1, 2020, she will become a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, focusing primarily on the adaptation of the electric and natural gas sectors to the challenges of climate change. LaFleur also serves on the Board of Directors of the Independent System Operator of New England, which operates the power system and electricity markets for New England.

LaFleur was one of the longest-serving commissioners on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). nominated by President Obama in 2010 and 2014 serving until August 2019. She served as Chairman was 2014-15 and as Acting Chairman from 2013-14 and during 2017. She successfully navigated nearly a decade of change in the nation’s energy industry, power supply, and political leadership, responding to major challenges and opportunities across the electric, natural gas, and oil sectors. LaFleur helped lead the FERC’s work to adapt the nation’s energy markets and infrastructure to changes in the nation’s resource mix to meet climate and environmental goals.

Earlier in her career, LaFleur had more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the electric and natural gas industry, including as executive vice president and acting CEO of National Grid USA.

LaFleur has been recognized with several awards for energy policy and leadership, including the Carnot Prize for leadership in energy policy and a Bipartisan Congressional Award for leadership in addressing emerging hazards to the grid. She a began her career as an attorney at Ropes and Gray in Boston. She has a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and an A.B. from Princeton University.


Katie Arkema ’00
Lead Scientist, Natural Capital Project, Stanford University

Katie Arkema is Lead Scientist for the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, where her 10 years of research focuses on adapting to, planning for, and reducing risks from global environmental change. She is particularly interested in understanding the role of ecosystems in coastal risk reduction and climate adaptation. Katie leads several efforts around the world to quantify the ways in which ecosystems benefit society and to understand how decisions made by key actors, organizations and communities influence ecological dynamics and human well-being. Katie’s research is informing national development, climate adaptation, and restoration investments in the United States, Latin America, and Africa. Most recently, Katie has led IDB-funded ICZM and Sustainable Development Planning in Belize and The Bahamas, using stakeholder engagement, open-source ecosystem-service analytical tools, risk assessment, and non-market valuation to inform how the decisions made today affect the future delivery of benefits from nature. In addition to quantitative modeling and leading multi-year engagements, she has designed, coordinated, and led numerous regional workshops across the Americas to build capacity in key institutions to adapt to climate change. She holds a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a B.A. in ecology with a certificate in Latin American studies from Princeton University. Katie is a Fulbright NEXUS scholar.


June 8, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Event Category:


Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08540 United States
(609) 258 - 3000