Stanford, CA—Director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, Christopher Field, has been elected co-chair of Working Group 2 of the Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He was formerly a coordinating lead author on the 2007 IPCC report, Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability to Climate Change and was one of two Americans to represent the IPCC at the 2007 Nobel Prize ceremonies.


The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme established the IPCC 20 years ago to provide objective information about climate change. Working Group 2 assesses the vulnerabilities of social, economic, and natural systems to climate change and suggests alternative ways that humankind can adapt to it. Field will lead the group as they develop their next major report on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, due in 2014.


“Chris Field has an unparalleled reputation as an excellent scientist, innovator, mentor, and liaison between the scientific community and policymakers seeking to solve this pressing global problem,” remarked Carnegie president Richard Meserve. “He is a natural choice for this critically important position.”


Field has been a pioneer and leader in developing new techniques and integrating them to understand the large-scale function of the Earth system for more than 20 years. He has made major contributions to physiological ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and climate science.  


Among his many results, Field recently showed that global warming has already had a negative impact on agricultural productivity, indicating that warming  reduced the global harvest in 2000 by approximately 40 million tons per year—a $5 billion in lost value.


In addition to his role at Carnegie, Field is also the director of Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve—a world-renowned, natural laboratory for researchers to conduct experiments to test and refine concepts used in models that simulate responses of ecosystems to climate change and a range of human impacts. He is a faculty member at Stanford University.


Field has authored more than 200 scientific publications. He has briefed U.S. Congressional committees on climate-change impacts. He is on the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; he was awarded the 2006 Stanford Sidney and Skippy Prize for Outstanding Research in the Prevention or Reduction of Global Warming; he is a member of the U.S National Academy of Sciences and he a leader in a wide range of other national and international organizations.

News Topic: 
Climate Change