Faculty

Director

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Klaus S. Lackner

Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics
Office: 1038D S.W. Mudd
Phone: (212) 854-0304
Email: kl2010@columbia.edu

Klaus Lackner is the Ewing Worzel Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, where he is also the Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Director of the M.S. Program in Carbon Management, and a member of the Earth Institute faculty. From 2006 to 2012 he was the Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering. Lackner’s current research interests include carbon capture and sequestration, air capture, energy systems and scaling properties (including synthetic fuels and wind energy), energy and environmental policy, lifecycle analysis, and zero emission modeling for coal and cement plants.

Lackner’s scientific career started in the phenomenology of weakly interacting particles. While searching for quarks, he and George Zweig developed the chemistry of atoms with fractional nuclear charge. He participated in matter searches for particles with a non-integer charge in an experiment conducted at Stanford by Martin Perl and his group. After joining Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 1983, Lackner became involved in hydrodynamic work and fusion-related research. He was a scientist in the Theoretical Division, but also an active part of the Laboratory’s upper management. He was instrumental in forming the Zero Emission Coal Alliance and was a lead author in the IPCC Report on Carbon Capture and Storage. In 2001, Lackner joined the faculty at Columbia University. In 2004, he became a member of Global Research Technologies, LLC, which is now known as Kilimanjaro Energy, Inc.

Lackner earned his degrees from Heidelberg University, Germany: the Vordiplom, (equivalent to a B.S.) in 1975; the Diplom (or M.S.) in 1976; and his Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics, summa cum laude, in 1978. He was awarded the Clemm-Haas Prize for his outstanding Ph.D. thesis at Heidelberg University. Lackner held postdoctoral positions at the California Institute of Technology and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center before beginning his professional career, and he attended Cold Spring Harbor Summer School for Computational Neuroscience in 1985. Lackner was also awarded the Weapons Recognition of Excellence Award in 1991 and the National Laboratory Consortium Award for Technology in 2001.

Affiliated Faculty

sbarrettScott Barrett

Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics, Department of International and Public Affairs
Office: 1427 Room International Affairs Building
Phone: (212)851-5861
Email: sb3116@columbia.edu

Scott Barrett is the first Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics. Prior to joining Columbia in the fall of 2009, Professor Barrett served on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

His research focuses on institutional remedies to transnational challenges, including global climate change and the control of infectious diseases.

Barrett is the author of Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making, published by Oxford University Press in paperback in 2005. His most recent book, Why Cooperate? The Incentive to Supply Global Public Goods, was published by Oxford University Press in September 2007.

He has been an advisor to many organizations, including the European Commission, the International Task Force on Global Public Goods, the OECD, the World Bank, and the United Nations. He was a lead author of the second assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was previously a member of the Academic Panel of Environmental Economists to the UK’s Department of Environment.

Prof. Barrett taught at London Business School for over a decade before teaching at Johns Hopkins University and was Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization in 2006. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics.

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Michael B. Gerrard

Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice
Office: Jerome Greene Hall, Room 517
435 West 116th Street
New York NY 10027
Phone: 212-854-3287
Fax: 212-854-7946
Email: michael.gerrard@law.columbia.edu

Michael B. Gerrard teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy law, and is director of the Center for Climate Change Law. He is also Associate Chair of the faculty of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. From 1979 through 2008 he practiced environmental law in New York, most recently as partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter LLP. Upon joining the Columbia law faculty in 2009, he became Senior Counsel to the firm. His practice involved trying numerous cases and arguing many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals, handling the environmental aspects of numerous transactions and development projects, and providing regulatory compliance advice to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors.

A prolific writer in environmental law and climate change, Gerrard twice received the Association of American Publishers’ Best Law Book award for works on environmental law and brownfields. He has written or edited eleven books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the leading work in its field and the twelve-volume Environmental Law Practice Guide. His ninth book, The Law of Clean Energy: Efficiency and Renewables, was published in 2011. His tenth book, The Law of Adaptation to Climate Change: U.S. and International Aspects, was published in September 2012. His eleventh book, Threatened Island Nations: Legal Implications of Rising Seas and a Changing Climate, was published in 2013. Since 1986 he has been an environmental law columnist for the New York Law Journal.

Gerrard was the 2004-2005 chair of the American Bar Association’s 10, 000-member Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. He also chaired the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. He is a member of the executive committees of the boards of the Environmental Law Institute and the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Several independent rating services ranked Gerrard as the leading environmental lawyer in New York and one of the leading environmental lawyers in the world.

Gerrard has taught courses at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and New York University Law School, and was a visiting distinguished scholar at Vermont Law School. He has also lectured on environmental law in Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Denmark, China, India, Japan, Chile, Canada and throughout the United States.

Gerrard earned his B.A. in political science from Columbia University in 1972 and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1978 where he was a Root-Tilden Scholar.

Kelemen

Peter Kelemen

Office: 211 Comer
61 Route 9W – PO Box 1000
Palisades, NY 10964-8000
Phone: (845) 365-8728
Fax: (845) 365-8155
Email: peterk@ldeo.columbia.edu

Peter Kelemen has recently added mineral carbonation and hydration in peridotite and mafic rocks to my research program. This is a reactive transport problem, very similar to the work he has done on reactive transport of melt in the upper mantle and lower crust, there are fantastic field areas where active, ongoing mineral carbonation and hydration can be observed, and the physical mechanisms that control key processes are not well understood. He is focusing on understanding processes in natural systems, particularly “reaction driven cracking”, with relevance to engineered geological capture and storage of CO2, stimulation of geothermal reservoirs, in situ mining, and extraction of hydrocarbon resources from tight formations.

For decades, Kelemen’s primary research interest has been in the genesis and evolution of the Earth’s crust in the ocean basins, in arcs, and in continents. He approaches this topic from the perspective that reactions between melt and rock during transport through the upper mantle are as important as melting, mixing, and crystal fractionation processes in producing different crustal bulk compositions in different tectonic settings. He has been fascinated by the stark compositional difference between oceanic and continental crust, and in his research Kelemen has gravitated toward end-member examples of magmatic processes: oceanic spreading ridges, and subduction-related volcanic arcs such as the Aleutians where the composition of average lavas and exposed plutonic rocks closely resembles continental crust. In an ongoing effort, he has tried to develop a general theory that explains how reactive melt transport varies along different geothermal gradients, with, 1. mineral dissolution and focusing of flow into high permeability channels in hot, upwelling mantle, 2. diffuse flow where there is a low melt flux into conductively cooled, shallow mantle, and, 3. hydrofracture where high melt flux and crystallization due to cooling clog porosity, leading to ponding of magma and increasing melt pressure. He has also become very interested in gravitational instabilities that can remove dense lithologies from the base of the crust, and transport buoyant subducted sediments and felsic igneous rocks from subduction zones back into the crust, and he hopes to pursue investigations of metasediments in lower crustal granulite terrains: how do they get down there?

In studying layered intrusions and lower oceanic crust, Kelemen has tried to understand a few of the many possible mechanisms for forming both compositional and modal layering in gabbros, via injection of layer parallel sills, and via sudden changes in pressure that can modify the assemblage of minerals precipitating from a cooling magma. This research led to general ideas about formation of oceanic crust, via a “sheeted sills” mechanism in which the lower crust crystallizes from many small sills, injected at depths throughout the crust. This end-member process stands in contrast to the “gabbro glacier” hypothesis, in which all oceanic plutonic rocks crystallize in a single, shallow melt lens and undergo ductile flow downward and outward to “fill” the lower crust. A related issue is the mode of cooling of the oceanic lower crust; via conduction with limited, diffuse fluid flow, or via rapid, focused hydrothermal convection. Trying to quantify and constrain these hypotheses, and to determine which processes predominate in different tectonic settings, has motivated a lot of research over the past 15 years.

Kelemen was a founding partner of Dihedral Exploration, mineral exploration consultants specializing in field work requiring technical climbing skills. Searching for ore deposits took me to British Columbia, Alaska and Greenland. He recently started teaching a new course, Earth Resources for Sustainable Development, which covers some of that field, as well as energy resources, water, soil and fertilizer. He has also been writing general articles and giving public presentations on this topic.

Kelemen received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, his M.S. from the University of Washington and his B.A. from Dartmouth.

marx_bioSabine Marx

Managing Director, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions
Office: 419 Schermerhorn Hall, MC 5501
Phone: (212) 854-8760
Email: sm2234@columbia.edu

Sabine Marx is the Managing Director at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University. She joined CRED in 2005 after two years of post-doctoral work at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia’s Earth Institute. She has received her Ph.D. in medical history from Carnegie Mellon University, and holds a Masters degree in Sociology and Pedagogy, with a minor in Psychology and Art Therapy from the University of Cologne, Germany.

The work of Sabine Marx falls in the area of decision making under uncertainty. Her research focuses on the use of climate information in agriculture, public health, and disaster preparedness and management. She is especially interested in the integration of climate science and social science, communication of climate information, and outreach to decision makers.

At CRED, she is responsible for the coordination of 20 plus research projects and for building synergy among the various projects.

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Christoph Meinrenken

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Associate Research Scientist, Earth Institute
Office: 1038 S.W. Mudd
Phone: (212) 854-5194
Email: cmeinrenken@ei.columbia.edu

Christoph Meinrenken is an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering and associate research scientist at the Earth Institute. His research focusses on computational tools and system analysis applied to green tech. Recent projects include large scale, data-intensive life cycle assessments and carbon footprinting (PepsiCo), algorithms for demand response in smart grid applications (NIST), and low-carbon synthetic fuels. Before focusing on green tech, Meinrenken worked on modeling molecular spectra (MSE, Princeton University, 1996) and computational neuroscience (PhD Physics, Max Planck Institute, 2001). In addition to academic research and teaching, Meinrenken spent several years in the private sector, specializing in financial engineering and risk management.

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Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park

Lenfest Associate Professor in Applied Climate Science
Office: 1038A S.W. Mudd
Phone: (212) 854-8989
Email: ap2622@columbia.edu

Professor Park is the Lenfest Junior Professor in Applied Climate Science at Columbia University and is also the Associate Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, where she researches issues in energy, environmental engineering and particle technology. Some of Park’s areas of research interest are carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); sustainable energy conversion systems; synthesis of hydrogen and liquid fuels from alternative energy sources; particle technology; electrostatic charging penomena in multiphase flows; and electrostatic tomography.

Park has received numerous honors and distinctions throughout her career as a researcher. Recently she has been appointed as a member of the International Committee at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, where she has also been elected as the Vice-Chair (2009-2011) and Chair (2011-2013) of the Fluidization and Fluid-Particle Systems Group and Treasurer (2010-present) of the Particle Technology Forum. She has also recently received the James Lee Young Investigator Award, the NSF Career Award, and a nomination for the Packard Fellowship. In 2011, she was the distinguished speaker at the Womensphere Emerging Leaders Global Summit. A more complete list of her many accomplishments can be found on her website.

A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Professor Park received a Bachelor of Applied Science with distinction and a Masters of Applied Science, both in Chemical and Biological Engineering. She received a PhD degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the Ohio State University.

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Stephanie L. Pfirman

Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College
pfirman@ldeo.columbia.edu
Office: 404C Altschul Hall
Phone: (212) 854-5120
Phone at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory: (845) 365-8475
Email: spfirman@barnard.edu

Stephanie L. Pfirman, Professor of Environmental Science and Alena Wels Hirschorn ’58 and Martin Hirschorn Professor of Environmental and Applied Sciences, joined the faculty of Barnard College in 1993, and serves as co-Chair of Barnard’s Department of Environmental Science. She holds a joint appointment with Columbia University where she is a member of the faculties of the Earth Institute and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Adjunct Research Scientist the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Prior to joining Barnard, Professor Pfirman was a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and co-developer of the award-winning exhibition, “Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast,” produced jointly with the American Museum of Natural History.

Professor Pfirman’s scientific research focuses on the Arctic environment, in particular on the nature and dynamics of Arctic sea ice under changing climate. Her previous research activities have included melting and surging glaciers and pollution transported by sea ice. In 2010, Pfirman was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences.

Professor Pfirman is currently principal investigator of the Polar Learning and Responding: PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership supported by the National Science Foundation and co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences analysis of Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic. She a member of the National Science Foundation’s advisory committee for Environmental Research and Education, and served as the Advisory Committee’s first chair when it was established over a decade ago. Prior service includes Chair of the Advisory Committee to the Office of Polar Programs at NSF; President of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors; member of the National Academy of Science’s Polar Research Board and the study committee on the Legacy and Lessons of International Polar Year 2007-2008.

Pfirman has a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography and Oceanographic Engineering, Department of Marine Geology and Geophysics, and a B.A. from Colgate University’s Department of Geology.

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Peter Schlosser

Vinton Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering
Deputy Director and Director of Research of The Earth Institute
Office: 842C S.W. Mudd
Phone: (212) 854-0306
Email: schlosser@ldeo.columbia.edu

Peter Schlosser is the Deputy Director and Director of Research of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, Vinton Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He is also a Senior Staff Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, with research interests focusing on the application of noble gases and other isotopes to natural systems with emphasis on the oceans and groundwater. Schlosser’s research is directed towards understanding the Earth’s natural water bodies including oceans, groundwater and continental waters, their perturbation by human activity, and the possibility to design engineering solutions to the problems by their development. Schlosser also chairs the Academic Committee, the Cross-Cutting Initiative and the Earth Clinic at the Earth Institute.

Following his PhD, Schlosser worked as an assistant professor at the University of Heidelberg. He came to Columbia University in 1989 and served as Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering from 2000 to 2003. He was Vetleson Fellow and visiting professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1994. Schlosser is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Oceanography Society, and the European Geophysical Union. He is a past member of the steering committees of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, the Climate Variability and Predictability Program, the Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study, and the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Program. He is also a past member of National Academy of Science panels on the International Polar Year and the Arctic Observing Network. He served as a co-chair of two Arctic Research Commission/NSF Working Groups on Arctic Research Support and Logistics. He is currently the chair of the science steering committee of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change and member of the science steering group of the International Study of Arctic Change. Schlosser has one hundred thirty-three refereed publications and served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans from 1999 to 2002.

Schlosser received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1981, and his Ph.D. in physics from the same institution in 1985.

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Maria Uriarte

Professor
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology
Office: 1111 Schermerhorn Extension
Phone:(212) 854-1494
Email:mu2126@columbia.edu

Maria Uriarte is an Associate Professor in the Department for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. Through an integrated program of empirical and quantitative approaches, research in her lab examines forest ecological dynamics in response to natural disturbance and human land use. Research projects focus on disturbance ecology, forest succession, and community assembly. Field sites span geographic regions where forests have been subject to different forms of anthropogenic disturbance, including fire, hurricanes, fragmentation, and expansion of tree plantations. The methodological thread that unites the diverse research projects housed in the Uriarte lab is the application of spatially-explicit modelling techniques, simulation, and other advanced statistical and modelling tools to understand and forecast the dynamics of tropical forests ecosystems in response to disturbance. Her current projects include studies of the dynamics of deforestation and reforestation in post-agricultural landscapes of Puerto Rico, the effects of fires in agriculture-forest mosaics in the Peruvian Amazon, and seed dispersal processes in fragmented forests in the Brazilian Amazon. Prior to Columbia, Uriarte was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies.

Uriarte received an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Yale University, and her Ph.D in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University.