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Michael Oppenheimer

Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and the High Meadows Environmental Institute. Director, Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment
313 Robertson Hall


Michael Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), the Department of Geosciences, and the High Meadows Environmental Institute at Princeton University. He is the Director of the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE) at SPIA 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 200 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 as an author during all six IPCC assessment cycles, including most recently as a Coordinating Lead Author on IPCC’s Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019) and as a Review Editor on the upcoming Sixth Assessment Report.

Recent Publications

Articles in Professional Journals

  • 2024 A machine learning approach to model over-ocean tropical cyclone precipitation (Lockwood et al). Journal of Hydrometeorology, 
  • 2024 Pro-Social Preferences Improve Climate Risk Management in Subsistence Farming Communities (Chocquette-Levy et al). Nature Sustainability, in press
  • 2024 Cooperative food bank: a collective insurance regime to govern food insecurity and nitrogen pollution under risk (Liao, et al). Submitted to Environ. Res Letters
  • 2024 Models of Sub-national U.S. Quasi-Governmental Organizations: Implications for Climate Adaptation Governance (Nix et al), Submitted to Climatic Change
  • 2024 Hurricane Ida’s blackout-heatwave compound hazard in a changing climate (Feng et al). Submitted to Science Advances.
  • 2024 Uncertainties Inherent from Large-Scale Climate Projections in the Statistical Downscaling Projection of North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Activity (Xi et al). Submitted to Journal of Climate
  • 2024 Increasing flood hazard posed by tropical cyclone rapid intensification in a changing climate (Lockwood et al). Geophys. Res. Letters, 
  • 2024 Investigating Large-Scale Environmental Control of Landfalling Tropical Cyclone - Heatwave Compound Events in Coastal United States (Xi et al). Submitted to JGR - Atmospheres
  • 2024 ‘Tipping points’ confuse and can distract from urgent climate action (Kopp et al). Submitted to Nature Climate Change doi: 10.22541/essoar.170542965.59092060/v1
  • 2024 Reinforcement learning-based adaptive strategies for climate change adaptation: An application for flood risk management (Feng et al). Submitted to PNAS
  • 2024 “Hunkering Down" under Climate-Driven Risks in Subsistence Farming Communities (Choquette-Levy et al). Submitted to Population and Environment
  • 2024 The Curve: an ethnography of projecting sea level rise under uncertainty (O’Reilly J, Oppenheimer M). Submitted to Global Environmental Change

Working Papers

  • 2023 Concerted efforts of politics, society and science mitigate climate tipping risks in a coupled human-Earth system model (Wunderling et al)
  • 2024 Late Season Shift of Future Tropical Cyclone Genesis in North Atlantic and East Pacific Basins (Xi et al). Submitted to PNAS.

Books, Journal Volumes 2019 to Present

  • 2019 Discerning Experts: The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy (Oppenheimer et al), University of Chicago Press, March 2019

Book Chapters

  • 2022 The Discovery of Climate Change, in The Climate Book, Greta Thunberg (Penguin, 2022)
  • 2022 Adaptation: Necessity vs. Reality, in Climate Change and What Must Be Done
  • Philip Clayton, ed. Sponsored by Templeton Foundation, submitted
  • 2023 The Challenge, in Democracy in a Hotter Time, David Orr, ed. (MIT Press, 2023)
  • 2023 Foreword, in Climate Change and Estuaries (H Paerl and M Kennish, eds), Taylor and Francis (CRC Press)

Other Publications 2019 to Present

  • 2019 Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change (Oreskes, Oppenheimer, Jamieson). Scientific American, August 19
  • 2022 Scientists’ Amicus brief to US Supreme Court in the matter of WVa v. EPA
  • 2022 Scientists’ Amicus brief to US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in the matter of Concerned Household Electricity Consumer Council et al v. EPA