Our Commissioners

CO-CHAIRS

Fatima Denton

Fatima Denton

Director of the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA)
Fatima Denton

Fatima Denton

Director of the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA)

Prof. Fatima Denton is the Director of the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA). Before joining UNU-INRA, she worked with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) as Director of the largest substantive division, the Special Initiatives Division – and Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre. She is an accomplished senior manager, renowned across the research and implementation branches of the UN and beyond for her in-depth knowledge of natural resource management and extensive experience in research and policy development in the African region. Prof. Denton was Programme Leader for the International Development Research Centre, where she managed high-impact action research, including Africa’s largest climate change adaptation research programme. She held various positions in international organisations as an energy scientist at the UNEP Risoe Centre and Programme Office at Enda Tier Monde. 

The primary focus of Prof. Denton’s research is to understand disparities in power dynamics within the context of climate change and sustainable development, with the primary objective of establishing forums that facilitate discourse on the concept of justice and just transitions. She works on the intersections of adaptation and mitigation, focusing on transition theories, not least green transitions, stranded assets, and minerals and extractives. Political economy, climate finance, and justice are prominent staples of her research. Her research has centred on climate change adaptation, focusing on resilience systems in agriculture, water, and energy, principally in Africa. Prof. Denton has served as a Lead Author and Co-ordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), contributing to reports and special reports over the past two decades. She is currently IPCC Vice Chair for Working Group II.  She is a holder of the Prince Claus Chair on Equity and Development and has been awarded an honorary professorship by the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Prof. Denton has written more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, reports, and books and holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Birmingham, UK. She is active on a number of advisory committees and scientific boards, including the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), the Global Economic Transformation (CGET), the Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG), and the Earth Commission.

Johan Rockström

Johan Rockström

Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Professor, University of Potsdam
Johan Rockström

Johan Rockström

Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Professor, University of Potsdam

Johan Rockström is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor in Earth System Science at the University of Potsdam. He is an internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues and led the development of the Planetary Boundaries framework for human development in the current era of rapid global change. Professor Rockström is a leading scientist on global water resources, with more than 25 years experience in applied water research in tropical regions, and more than 150 research publications in fields ranging from applied land and water management to global sustainability. He is i.a. member of European Commission expert group: Mission Board for adaptation to climate change including societal transformation, chair of the Earth Commission, Chief Scientist of Conservation International, and elected member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

COMMISSIONERS

Xuemei Bai

Xuemei Bai

Distinguished Professor, Australian National University
Xuemei Bai

Xuemei Bai

Distinguished Professor, Australian National University

Xuemei Bai is a Distinguished Professor at Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University. She was awarded the Australian Research Council’s Laureate Fellowship in 2023. Her research focuses on the science and policy of rapid urbanization and urban system sustainability, including: understanding the structure, function and processes of urban social ecological systems, the drivers and impacts of urbanization, evolution of urban systems, urban metabolism, cities and climate change, urban sustainability experiments and transition, and more recently on Anthropocene futures and Earth system boundaries. She has published extensively on these topics, with many appearing in journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Sustainability, Nature Climate Change etc.

Prof. Bai is a member of the Earth Commission, leading its Working Group 5 on methods of cross-scale translation from planetary limits to local actors. She serviced as a member of the inaugural Science Committee of Future Earth, and led the development of Future Earth Urban Knowledge-Action Network, which was launched at the 2016 UN Habitat III Conference in Quito. She has served as a Lead Author for four major global assessments, i.e. the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Global Energy Assessment, IPBES Global Assessment, and the IPCC AR6 WGIII.

Prof. Bai is a Fellow of Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia since 2017, and was named as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Change Policy in 2019 and 2022. She is the Laureate of the Volvo Environment Prize 2018, and the Global Economy Prize 2021.

Govindasamy Bala

Govindasamy Bala

Professor, Indian Institute of Science
Govindasamy Bala

Govindasamy Bala

Professor, Indian Institute of Science

Prof. G Bala is a Professor at the Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India. He received his PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences in 1994 from McGill University, Canada. After two years of Post-doc at the Princeton University, he served as a Physicist (Climate Scientist) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), USA between 1996 and 2008.

Prof. Bala uses Earth System Models to understand the climate and carbon and water cycle changes to external forcings such as greenhouse gases and land cover change, His main research interests are modelling of climate change, carbon and water cycles, solar geoengineering, land cover change, and the global and regional monsoon systems. He has published about 125 peer-reviewed journal papers on climate change, carbon cycle, solar geoengineering and monsoons.

Prof. Bala is the recipient of the 2008 Scopus young scientist award for Earth Sciences. He and his collaborators from China and USA won the prestigious World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Norbert Gerbier MUMM International Award for 2014 for their research paper on fast climate system adjustments.

Prof. Bala has served as a Lead and contributing Author in the 5th (2013) and 6th (2021) scientific assessment of climate change by the IPCC, and is currently a member of the Earth Commission, Future Earth. He was a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the AIMES (Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System) global research project of Future Earth during 2016-2021. He has also served on the editorial boards of “Earth System Dynamics” and “Environmental Research Letters”.

StuartBunn

Stuart Bunn

Professor, Griffith University
StuartBunn

Stuart Bunn

Professor, Griffith University

Stuart Bunn is a senior member of the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia and, until July 2022, was the founding Director. His major research interests are in the ecology of river and wetland systems with a particular focus on the science to underpin river management.  This work has resulted in over 300 technical publications, most of which are in peer-reviewed journals.  Stuart Bunn has extensive experience working with international and Australian government agencies and industry on water resource management issues. He has led the development and implementation of several major collaborative research programs in partnership with State government agencies, industry and universities. He has also been an active member and chair of several state and national science advisory committees. Professor Bunn is currently a member of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and has previously served as a National Water Commissioner and as a Director of Land and Water Australia. He was initially appointed to the Earth Commission in 2019 and in 2022 was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.   

FabriceDeClerk

Fabrice DeClerck

Director of Science at EAT
FabriceDeClerk

Fabrice DeClerck

Director of Science at EAT

Dr. Fabrice DeClerck is an ecologist and geographer. He specializes in biodiversity and environmental function with a focus on food systems. In his current role as the EAT Director of Science his focus and leadership has broadened to food systems and their impacts on human health, environmental sustainability and social justice. In this role, Dr. DeClerck leads the development of EAT’s research and synthesis science including the EAT-Lancet Commission (both 1 and 2). He holds a joint position with the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT of the CGIAR where he is a Principal Scientist. Fabrice is a member of the Earth Commission which proposed safe and just Earth System boundaries and is a member of the French Academy of Agricultural Science. He works closely with EAT’s partners and programs as the interface between science and practice.

Dr. DeClerck’s professional background is in agricultural and environmental sciences with more than a decade focusing on sustainable development in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. His collaborations with the health and nutrition community date back to 2004 focusing on dietary and environmental health in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. His engagements enable him to engage closely with UN Agencies such has FAO, UNDP, UNICEF and UNEP; progressive private sector partners; and individuals farmers and farming communities on the radical food transformation needed in support of human health and environmental sustainability. He has contributed to several IPBES Assessments and is a Coordianting Lead Author of the IPBES Nexus Assessment on Biodiversity, Food, Health, and Water where he leads the food chapter.

Joyeeta Gupta

Joyeeta Gupta

Professor, University of Amsterdam
Joyeeta Gupta

Joyeeta Gupta

Professor, University of Amsterdam

Joyeeta Gupta is the 2023 winner of the Spinoza Prize, the highest prize in the Netherlands for academic work (Euro 1.5 Million). She is full professor of environment and development in the global south at  the University of Amsterdam and professor at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. She is also the Faculty Professor on Sustainability (2019-2024). She leads the programme group on Governance and Inclusive Development. She co-chaired UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook-6 (2016-2021), published by Cambridge University Press, presented to governments at the United Nations Environment Assembly in 2019, and won the Association of American Publishers PROSE award for Environmental Science. She had a plenary presentation to the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2023; and is member of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water (2022-2024). In 2022, she was awarded the 2022 Piers Sellers Prize for world leading contribution to solution-focused climate research, recent world-leading research outputs and evidence of resulting impacts; application of an interdisciplinary approach; and focus on climate solutions, Priestley International Centre for Climate, Leeds University. She is presently working on climate change under a European Research Council Advanced Grant (Euro 2.5 million). Professor Gupta was co-chair of the Earth Commission during its first phase (2019-2023).

Carl Folke

Carl Folke

Director, Beijer Institute at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Professor, Stockholm University
Carl Folke

Carl Folke

Director, Beijer Institute at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Professor, Stockholm University

Professor Carl Folke is Director of the Beijer Institute, Founder and Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Anthropocene Laboratory, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and Founder and Chair of the Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden. He is a systems thinker in integrative science for sustainability with a focus on social-ecological systems, resilience, and how progress, prosperity and wellbeing will benefit from reconnecting development to the biosphere foundation. He has a long record of science, policy, and practice collaboration, working with key actors from local landscapes to international bodies and transnational corporations, and is genuinely engaged in the arts-science interface. He is elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and has received international recognitions, like the Planet and Humanity Medal, the Gunnerus Sustainability Science Award, and the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences.

Timothy Lenton

Timothy Lenton

Professor, University of Exeter
Timothy Lenton

Timothy Lenton

Professor, University of Exeter

Professor Lenton is founding Director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter and Chair in Climate Change and Earth System Science. He has more than 25 years research experience, focused on modelling of the biosphere, biogeochemical cycling and climate, and associated tipping points. His books ‘Revolutions that made the Earth’ (with Andrew Watson) and ‘Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction’ have popularized a new scientific view of our planetary home. Tim Lenton co-authored the widely used ‘Planetary Boundaries’ framework and is renowned for his work identifying climate tipping points, which informed the setting of the 1.5C climate target and associated net zero targets and nationally determined contributions.

As a member of the Earth Commission, Tim is part of a select international research group that has been setting safe and just ‘Earth system boundaries’ for climate, aerosols, biodiversity, land use, water use and nutrient use, which are now being translated to city and company level targets by the Science Based Targets Network.

Professor Lenton works actively with policymakers and businesses helping them assess the risks of climate change and nature loss and highlighting the opportunities for ‘positive tipping points’ that can accelerate desired changes. His positive tipping points framework, initially developed with Simon Sharpe of the COP26 team and informing the ‘Breakthrough Agenda’, is gaining increasing traction with policy and business. As part of this, Tim directs the Economics of Energy Innovation and System Transition (EEIST) project funded by BEIS.

Tim Lenton’s research has won a Philip Leverhulme Prize 2004, European Geosciences Union Outstanding Young Scientist Award 2006, Times Higher Education Award for Research Project of the Year 2008, Geological Society of London William Smith Fund 2008, and Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award 2013. Tim is a member of the Earth Commission, an ISI Highly Cited Researcher, and in the top 100 of the Reuters ‘Hot List’ of the world’s top climate scientists. He has published over 200 academic papers with over 55,000 citations and an h-index of 86. 

David Obura

David Obura

Director CORDIO East Africa; IPBES Chair
David Obura

David Obura

Director CORDIO East Africa; IPBES Chair

David Obura is a Founding Director of CORDIO East Africa, a knowledge organization supporting sustainability of coral reef and marine systems in the Western Indian Ocean. CORDIO takes research to management and policy, builds capacity, and works with stakeholders, managers and policy makers. David’s primary research is on coral reef resilience, biogeography and climate change impacts, and turning now towards sustainability science using coral reefs as a model and earth systems science framing. David works from the local scale, through fostering innovative action to promote sustainability, through regional scale alignment and integration, to global scales, bringing knowledge and local-regional practice into decision-making contexts. 

David Chairs IPBES (2023-2026), was a Co-Chair of IPBES’s Nexus Assessment (2022-2024), is on the Earth Commission (2019-2026), and was active in bringing sustainability science into the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. In these he brings coastal, African and societal realities and priorities into global conservation and sustainability planning, to build towards a safe and just future. David Obura was awarded Kenya’s national honour, Moran of the Burning Spear in December 2021, and the Coral Reef Conservation Award of the International Coral Reef Society in 2022. 

Steven Lade

Steven Lade

ARC Future Fellow, Australian National University; Associate Professor, Stockholm University
Steven Lade

Steven Lade

ARC Future Fellow, Australian National University; Associate Professor, Stockholm University

Dr. Steven Lade is an ARC Future Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University; Associate Professor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University; Research Cluster Co-lead for Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience at the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions (ICEDS), Australian National University; and Researcher at the Institute for Water Futures, Australian National University.

Dr. Lade takes a complex systems approach to studying sustainability across multiple scales. At the local scale, his research includes social-ecological modelling and quantification of social-ecological resilience in water resources, agricultural communities and fisheries. At the regional to global scale, his research includes interactions among planetary and Earth system boundaries and development of an Earth System Impact (ESI) score for companies and investors.

Pablo Marquet

Pablo Marquet

Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Pablo Marquet

Pablo Marquet

Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Pablo A. Marquet is Full Professor in the Department of Ecology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and Associate Scientists at the Center for Mathematical Modeling. Originally trained as an ecologist, his career has been marked by transdisciplinary collaborations with physicists, mathematicians, and social scientists to tackle questions in different systems, from ecological to social ones.

Professor Marquet has devoted most of his research to the search for the general principles that underlie the structure and dynamics of ecological systems using different theoretical approaches and models. He has worked on the relationship between the size of organisms and their abundance in local communities, the evolution of body size on landmasses, connecting body size to area, evolution, and fitness. He pioneered the development of Metapopulation models in dynamic landscapes uniting concepts from epidemiology and ecology and the emergence of power laws in ecological systems, being among the first to provide empirical evidence of Self-Organized Criticality in ecological systems using the extinction record of birds in Hawaii. During the last years he has turned his interest to the distribution of abundance and richness, the analysis of fluctuations in the fossil record, the role of temperature in affecting biological dynamics, the integration of theories in ecology, and the emergence of diversity, social complexity, and innovations in simple biological systems and human groups.

Pablo A. Marquet is member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences, International member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS, USA), The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AmAcad) and the The World Academy of Science (TWAS). He is the author of more than 250 scientific publications.

Aditi Mukherji

Aditi Mukherji

Director of the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Impact Action Platform of the CGIAR
Aditi Mukherji

Aditi Mukherji

Director of the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Impact Action Platform of the CGIAR

Dr. Aditi Mukherji is a Director, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Impact Action Platform of the CGIAR. Earlier, she was a Principal Researcher at the International Water Management Institute based in India, and before that she led the Water and Air Theme at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal. Aditi was a Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of the Water Chapter in the Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in February 2022, and is a member, Core Writing Team of  the IPCC’s AR6 Synthesis Report published in March 2023.

Mukherji’s areas of specialization are groundwater governance, energy-irrigation nexus, climate change adaptation and community management of water resources.  She has worked in South Asia including the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, Nile basin and in Central Asia. She has published over 80 peer reviewed research papers, including four edited books. In 2012, she was awarded the Inaugural Norman Borlaug Field Award, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation and given by the World Food Prize Foundation, USA. Aditi is a human geographer by training and has a PhD from Cambridge University, United Kingdom where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She has been widely quoted by the media, including New York Times, BBC, DW International,  CNN, Al Jazeera and various news outlets in South Asia.

Taikan Oki

Taikan Oki

Professor, The University of Tokyo
Taikan Oki

Taikan Oki

Professor, The University of Tokyo

Prof. Taikan Oki is a Special Advisor to the President, and a Professor at Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo. His previous academic positions include Associate Professor with the Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo and Associate Professor with the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature. He was also affiliated as the Senior Vice-Rector, United Nations University, Japan, and an Assistant Secretary-General, UN for 2016-2021. His areas of expertise are global hydrology and the sustainability of world water resources including the virtual water trade and water footprint. He was one of the coordinating lead authors for the chapter “Freshwater Resources” of the IPCC WGII AR5.

Professor Oki has received many awards such as the Biwako Prize for Ecology in 2011, and the Japan Academy Medal in 2008. He is the first Japanese AGU Fellow in its Hydrology Section (2014). He became a full member of the Club of Rome and the Science Council of Japan since October 2020. 2021 International Hydrology Prize (Dooge medal) winner, 2023 John Dalton Meal (EGU) winner. He was President of the Japan Society for Hydrology and Water Resources 2022-24.

Peter Verburg

Peter Verburg

Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Peter Verburg

Peter Verburg

Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Peter Verburg is a professor of Environmental at the Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Peter is also a visiting professor at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research.

Professor Verburg has established a leading position in the field of land use analysis and modelling. His work focuses on both the drivers and impacts of land use change. Land use change is in his work shown as a consequence of global change, a driver of global change, but also as a potential leverage point to mitigate and adapt to global change.

He has developed and applied a wide range of methods to analyze spatial dynamics of land use at scales ranging from local to global. Methods used in his research originate from different disciplines, including social sciences, econometrics, geography and earth sciences. Peter is named a Highly Cited Researcher, his publications being amongst the top 1% most cited in the Web of Science. Peter Verburg is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

Having worked with collaborators from this wide variety of fields, Professor Verburg has established insight in the different disciplinary traditions and vocabularies which facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration. His work on regional and global scale land use modeling has resulted in one of the most frequently used land use models worldwide (CLUE). Peter Verburg is the former chair of the Global Land Programme of Future Earth and is actively involved in several EU-level research projects in the field of land use, sustainable city planning, climate change adaptation, rural development, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Ricarda Winkelmann

Ricarda Winkelmann

Professor, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Ricarda Winkelmann

Ricarda Winkelmann

Professor, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Ricarda Winkelmann is founding director at the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology in Jena, Germany, and Professor of climate system analysis at University of Potsdam and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Her scientific expertise covers a broad range of topics related to the theory and modelling of complex dynamics in the Earth System, including Greenland and Antarctic ice dynamics, ecosystem resilience and tipping dynamics.

For her research, Ricarda Winkelmann has developed innovative approaches and numerical models to foster our understanding of Earth system dynamics from the deep past to the far future. She is co-developer of the open-source ice sheet model PISM and one of the initial developers of the pycascades framework for simulating tipping cascades on complex networks. She has also participated in several research expeditions to Antarctica and was co-speaker of the ‘Expedition Anthropocene’ project by the German Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and National Academy of Science Leopoldina. Ricarda Winkelmann is initiator and scientific lead of the Tipping Point Modeling Intercomparison Project (TIPMIP) that systematically examines the stability and impacts of our planet’s climate tipping elements. 

In recognition of her work, Ricarda Winkelmann has received numerous awards, including the Young Scientist of the Year award by Academics and ZEIT Publishing Group, the E-Learning Award UP for innovative teaching approaches, the Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award by the Cryospheric Division of the European Geosciences Union, as well as the Karl-Scheel-Prize by the German Physical Society. 

In addition to her world-leading scientific expertise, Ricarda Winkelmann is also a passionate science communicator and seeks to make research accessible to the public through a broad range of channels. 

MiriamDiamond

Miriam Diamond

Professor, University of Toronto
MiriamDiamond

Miriam Diamond

Professor, University of Toronto

Professor Miriam L. Diamond is an international expert in chemical contaminants from sources to management, gained from over three decades of conducting research and teaching at the University of Toronto. Prof. Diamond’s research goal is to reduce impacts from chemical contaminants by understanding their releases through to human and ecological exposure and to translate this into preventative measures. She is also deeply involved in chemicals management efforts in national and international arenas. Her science and policy research has been published in over 200 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, in addition to receiving extensive media attention. 

Miriam L. Diamond is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. In 2007, she was named Canadian Environmental Scientist of the Year and was a finalist for 2018 the Nature Inspiration Award from the Canadian Museum of Nature. Prof. Diamond was the co-chair of the Canadian Chemical Management Plan Science Committee from 2017 to 2021, is the Vice-Chair of the International Panel on Chemical Pollution, and is the chemicals and waste expert on the Scientific and Technical Panel of the Global Environment Facility.

Prof. Diamond was an Associate Editor of the leading journal Environmental Science and Technology for over 10 years and sits on the Editorial Review board of Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.  She received her Doctorate in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from University of Toronto, a master’s of Mining Engineering from Queen’s University (Canada), a master’s in zoology from University of Alberta.

Juan Camilo Cardenas

Juan Camilo Cárdenas

Professor, Universidad de los Andes; Director, Sustainable Development Goals Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CODS)
Juan Camilo Cardenas

Juan Camilo Cárdenas

Professor, Universidad de los Andes; Director, Sustainable Development Goals Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CODS)

Professor of Economics at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA) and Director of the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CODS). He earned his Ph.D. in resource and environmental economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is a member of the WWF Colombia board of directors, the Advisory Board of the Center for Behavior and the Environment RARE (USA) and former Scientific Board member at the Beijer Institute for Ecological Economics in Stockholm. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, UCL, the Santa Fe Institute, and Indiana-Bloomington. He obtained the Alejandro Angel Escobar award in the environment and development category in 2009 with his book “Dilemas de lo Colectivo” and in 2022 he received the Colombian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation award in the category of “Social Sciences and human development with equity” for the number of citations of his work. His research explores the potential of human groups to solve problems of collective action and cooperation, especially for the self-governed management of ecosystems that support life and the economy.

Laura Pereira

Laura Pereira

Associate Professor, University of Witwatersrand
Laura Pereira

Laura Pereira

Associate Professor, University of Witwatersrand

Laura Pereira is an Associate Professor in Sustainability Transformations and Futures at the Global Change Institute at Wits University and a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. She is an interdisciplinary sustainability scientist, having been trained in ecology, law, zoology and human geography. Following her undergraduate at the University of Witwatersrand, she went on to complete her DPhil in Geography at Oxford University in 2012, before undertaking post-docs in sustainability science at Harvard’s Kennedy School and at the University of Cape Town. She has subsequently worked at Stellenbosch University, City University of London and Utrecht University.

Dr. Pereira is interested in the interface between indigenous and local knowledges and innovation, the role of futures techniques and visioning in enabling transformative change and developing innovative methods for knowledge co-production in Global South contexts. Her work is now extending into how equity and justice can be incorporated into discussions of transformative interventions to stay within safe and just earth system boundaries. She is passionate about inter and trans-disciplinary research processes and works closely with artists and writers in her current research, specifically in operationalizing the Nature Futures Framework. Laura sat on the IPBES Task Force on scenarios and models, a review editors for the IPBES Values assessment and is a lead author for the IPBES Transformative change assessment. She was a contributing author to the Africa chapter of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment report and has been both a coordinating lead author and a lead author for various UNEP GEO Assessments. 

Keywan Riahi

Director, Energy, Climate, and Environment Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Keywan Riahi

Director, Energy, Climate, and Environment Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Keywan Riahi is the Director of the Energy, Climate, and Environment Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). He holds faculty and teaching positions at the Graz University of Technology, Austria, the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the University of Victoria, Canada. He has extensive experience in the fields of climate change, sustainable energy systems and policy analyses. He has been working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a Lead Author since the late 1990s and is providing policy advice at the international as well as national level. In 2021, Dr. Riahi was appointed to the 10-Member Group by the United Nations Secretary-General Guterres to advise on Science, Technology and Innovation for the implementation of the Agenda 2030. In the same year he was ranked first by Reuters as the most influential climate scientist worldwide. Keywan Riahi is a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change of the European Union as well as member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Vienna, Austria. He was recognized by Clarivate in 2012 as one of 23 researchers worldwide in the list of Highly Cited Researchers in three categories: Geosciences; Social Sciences; and Environment and Ecology.

Rashid Sumaila

Rashid Sumaila

Professor, University of British Columbia
Rashid Sumaila

Rashid Sumaila

Professor, University of British Columbia

Professor Rashid Sumaila is a University Killam Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Interdisciplinary Ocean and Fisheries Economics at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia. He specializes in bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, illegal fishing, climate change and oil spills.

Professor Sumaila is one of the most internationally recognized interdisciplinary ocean and fisheries economists, and one of the world’s most innovative researchers on the future of the oceans, integrating the social, economic and fisheries sciences to build novel pathways towards sustainable ocean and fisheries. Rashid Sumaila has won several prestigious awards, including the 2023 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement; the 2022 RSC Miroslaw Romanowski Medal for Scientific Work Relating to Environmental Problems; 2021 SSHRC Impact Award, Partnership Category; and the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize. He was inducted into the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada in 2019, and named a AAAS Fellow in 2023. Sumaila received his Ph.D. (Economics) from the University of Bergen and his B.Sc. (Quantity Surveying) from the Ahmadu Bello University.

Detlef van Vuuren

Detlef van Vuuren

Project lead, IMAGE integrated assessment modelling team, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency; Professor, Utrecht University
Detlef van Vuuren

Detlef van Vuuren

Project lead, IMAGE integrated assessment modelling team, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency; Professor, Utrecht University

Detlef van Vuuren is the project leader of the IMAGE integrated assessment modeling team at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency  and professor in Integrated Assessment of Global Environmental Change at the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University. He focuses on global sustainability issues. With his team, Professor van Vuuren develops models with which future climate and environmental changes can be explored by means of scenarios, taking into account the interaction between climate, environment, living environment and economy. Among other things, Van Vuuren worked on the climate scenarios of the IPCC, UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook and the IPBES biodiversity assessment.

Detlef van Vuuren is a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and the Arts in the Netherlands. He is listed by Reuters as the world’s 4th most influential climate scientist. He has published more than 450 articles in refereed journals including high profile journals like Nature and Science. He is one of the editors of Climatic Change, and member of, among others, the Scientific Steering Committee of the Integrated Assessment Modelling Consortium, the Global Carbon Project, the EAT-Lancet Commission, the Climate Modelling Intercomparison Project.’

The work on integrated assessment modeling that Detlef van Vuuren contributes to can support policy making by exploring different possible futures in terms of socio-economic development and environmental impacts. The key objective here is understanding the evolution of relevant systems as best as we can under different assumptions. For this, it is necessary to integrate information of different scientific disciplines.

Cunde Xiao

Cunde Xiao

Director, State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University
Cunde Xiao

Cunde Xiao

Director, State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University

Dr. Cunde Xiao has worked in the fields of polar glaciology and meteorology since 1997. His major research focus has been ice core studies relating to paleoclimate and paleoenvironment, and present day cold region meteorological and glaciological processes that impact environmental and climatic changes. He has undertaken observational scientific programs in the high mountains of the Himalayas; the Tibetan Plateau, at Dome A, the highest point of the Antarctic ice sheet, and other regions of the Antarctic; and at the North Pole, Alaska and Greenland.

Cunde Xiao was Deputy-Director of the Institute of the Climate System, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, vice-Director of State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and is now the Director of State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University. He served as Vice President of International Association of Cryospheric Science of International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IACS/IUGG), member of WCRP/CliC Scientific Steering Group, WMO Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW), WMO Expert Committee of Polar and High Mountain Observation, Research and Services (EC-PHORS). He was Review Editor of IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), SROCC, and Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of Chapter 9 (Ocean, cryosphere and sea level), Working Group 1, AR6.

Dr. Xiao is now a member of Earth Commission, as well as the Secretary-General of China Society of Cryospheric Science (CSCS). He is Vice-Chair of the Chinese Association of Scientific Adventure. He published a total of more than 280 science papers (including more than 100 in English), with ~50 as first-author or as corresponding-author.

AMBASSADORS

The Earth Commission Ambassadors are former commissioners (or Ex-Officio Earth Commissioners) that have been appointed to provide strategic advice on, and/or promote the Commission’s work. Earth Commission Ambassadors may contribute as co-authors.

Dahe Qin

Dahe Qin

Director, Academic Committee of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Dahe Qin

Dahe Qin

Director, Academic Committee of Chinese Academy of Sciences

Dahe Qin is a Professor, Doctorate Tutor, CAS Member and TWAS Member. Professor Qin has held many academic positions in China and aboard, including Vice President and President of the glaciology working group of Scientific Committee on International Antarctic Research, Director of the International Glaciological Society, Vice President of the International Commission on Snow Ice, member of the working group of Science Guidance of CliC, the main author and the chief umpire of chapters in the third assessment report of IPCC, and the co-chairman of the first working group in the fourth assessment report.

Prof. Qin has engaged in the cryosphere and global change research for a number of years, organizing scientific investigations of the South Pole, North Pole, Inner Asia and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. He studied the physical processes and the climate and environmental record of snow layer of the ice sheet surface in South Pole, the processes of snow layer metamorphism, the relation of the ratio of stable isotope and the temperature, the source and delivery of the water vapor and impurities. Prof. Qin’s research on the change of glacier and the record of ice core in Everest regions revealed recent climate change in Earth’s highest altitude regions.

In China, Professor Dahe has been Director of the CAS Earth Sciences Division, Chief Science of “the cryosphere dynamic process and its influence mechanism and adaptation countermeasures on climate, hydrological and ecological in China” (2007-2011), Prof. Qin presided over the Chinese Climate Change Assessment, and held the post of Director of the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science. He was co-chair of the Earth Commission during its first phase 2019-2023.

Kristie Ebi

Kristie Ebi

Professor, University of Washington
Kristie Ebi

Kristie Ebi

Professor, University of Washington

Kristie L. Ebi, Ph.D., MPH has been conducting research and practice on the health risks of climate variability and change for 25 years, focusing on understanding sources of vulnerability; estimating current and future health risks of climate change; designing adaptation policies and measures to reduce risks in multi-stressor environments; and estimating the health co-benefits of mitigation policies. She has supported multiple countries in Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific in assessing their vulnerabilities and implementing adaptation policies and programs.

Christopher Gordon

Christopher Gordon

Associate Professor, University of Ghana
Christopher Gordon

Christopher Gordon

Associate Professor, University of Ghana

Professor Christopher Gordon is an Environmental Scientist with special interests in the biodiversity and functioning of coastal, wetland and freshwater systems, and many years of experience as a limnologist and aquatic resource management advisor. He has considerable experience working with international bodies such as the GEF, UNEP, FAO, UNDP, DFID (former ODA) DANIDA, IDRC, DGIS, as well as national and international NGOs.

Over the past 30 years, Prof. Gordon has been invited to serve on several institutional, project review and think tank bodies in the role of an invited expert. These include the UNEP Foresight Expert Group, World Climate Science Programme, and the Scientific and Technical Review Panel of the Ramsar Convention.

Norichika Kanie

Professor, Keio University

Norichika Kanie

Professor, Keio University

Norichika Kanie is a Professor at the Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan. He is also a visiting associate professor of the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies and Visiting Researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies. He serves as a committee member of the Central Environmental Council of Japan and a member of environmental council of Nakano ward in Tokyo, Japan.

Before joining Tokyo Tech, Professor Kanie was an associate professor at the Faculty of Law and Policy Studies, The University of Kitakyushu. He received his Ph.D. in Media and Governance from the Keio University in 2001, after studying in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (Erasmus University Rotterdam). He was also a Ph.D. Fellow at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies. His research interests include governance, global environmental politics and multilateral diplomacy with particular focus on climate change.

Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Professor, former Deputy Director General, IIASA
Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Professor, former Deputy Director General, IIASA

Nebojsa Nakicenovic is the former Deputy Director General/CEO of IIASA, and former tenured Professor of Energy Economics at Vienna University of Technology. Among other positions, Prof. Nakicenovic is the Executive Director of The World in 2050; Member Ad Hoc Informal Multi-stakeholder Technical Group of Advisors on Sustainable Development Goal 7, UN; Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Aerospace Center Institute for Networked Energy Systems Analysis; Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Potsdam Institute from Climate Impact Research; Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei; Member of the Panel on Socioeconomic Scenarios for Climate Change Impact and Response Assessments; Steering Committee Member of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century; Member of the International Academy for Systems and Cybernetic Sciences; Member of the International Advisory Board of the Helmholtz Programme on Technology, and Member of OMV Advisory Group on Sustainability.

Among Professor Nakicenovic’s research interests are the long-term patterns of technological change, economic development and response to climate change and, in particular, the evolution of energy, mobility, and information and communication technologies. He is Editorial Board Member of a number of journals including Climate Policy; Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability; Energy, Ecology and Environment; Energy Policy; Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions; Energy Strategy Reviews; Global Perspectives; and Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

Diana Liverman

Diana Liverman

Professor, University of Arizona
Diana Liverman

Diana Liverman

Professor, University of Arizona

Regents Professor in the University of Arizona, School of Geography, Development, and Environment and a Research Fellow at Linacre College, Oxford University. Professor Liverman studies the human dimensions of global environmental change, earth systems, and climate justice, especially the social causes and consequences of climate change. She has worked on climate vulnerability and adaptation, carbon offsets, US-Mexico border environments, planetary boundaries, political ecology, and women in climate change.

Professor Liverman helped build interdisciplinary environmental programs at the University of Arizona, Oxford University, Penn State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison including directing the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona and the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University. In 2020 she was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2022 as a fellow of the British Academy.

Previous Earth Commissioners