Michael Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. He is the Director of the Program in Science,Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) at the Woodrow Wilson School and Faculty Associate of the Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences Program, Princeton Environmental Institute, 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.
Oppenheimer is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, serving recently as a lead author of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report and now as a coordinating lead author of the Fifth Assessment Report as well as a Special Report on climate extremes and disasters. Oppenheimer has been a member of several panels of the National Academy of Sciences and is now a member of 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.
His interests include science and policy of the atmosphere, particularly climate change and its impacts. Much of his research aims to understand the potential for "dangerous" outcomes of increasing levels of greenhouse gases by exploring the effects of global warming on ecosystems such as coral reefs, on the ice sheets and sea level, and on patterns of human migration. He also studies the process of scientific learning and scientific assessments and their role in developing public policies to respond to global change.
In the late 1980s, 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, Nightline, Alcove, The News Hour, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Charlie Rose, ABC News 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.
Oppenheimer is the author of over 100 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.
Recent awards and honors
- 2000: League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Leadership Award
- 2001: Environmental Action Coalition Green Star Award
- 2005–2006: Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar
- 2007: New Species Award, African Rainforest Conservancy
- 2009-2010: Russell Sage Foundation Associate Scholar
- 2010–2013: National Science Foundation Grant: Assessing Assessments
- 2010: Named as a AAAS Fellow
- 2010: Recipient, 2010 Heinz Award
- Google Scholar search on author:M-Oppenheimer in physical sciences
- S.Gerber et al. (2010) Nitrogen cycling and feedbacks in a global dynamic land model,Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 24, GB1001, doi:10.1029/2008GB003336.
- S.Feng, A. Krueger, M.Oppenheimer (2010) Linkages among climate change, crop yields and Mexico–US cross-border
- migration, Proc Natl Acad Sci DOI 10.1073/pnas.1002632107
- BA Bradley, M. Oppenheimer, and DS Wilcove (2009) Climate Change and Plant Invasions: Restoration Opportunities Ahead?, Global Change Biology, 15, 1511–1521, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01824.x
- RE Kopp et al. (2009) Probabilistic assessment of sea level during the Last Interglacial stage, Nature 462, 963-868, doi:10.1038/nature08686
- J. Smith et al. (2009) Assessing dangerous climate change through an update of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reasons for concern, PNAS doi 10.1073_pnas.0812355106
- D Morrow, R Kopp, M Oppenheimer (2009) Toward ethical norms and institutions for geo-engineering research, Environ. Res. Lett. 4 (2009) doi:10.1088/1748-9326/4/4/045106
- T. Searchinger et al. (2009) Fixing a critical climate accounting error, Science 326, 527–528, doi:10.1126/science.1178797
- M.Oppenheimer, BC O'Neill and M Webster (2008), Negative learning, Climatic Change 89, 155-172 doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9405-1
- Donner et al. (2006) "Global Assessment of Coral Bleaching and Required Rates of Adaptation under Climate Change", Global Change Biology, 11, 1–15, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.01073.x
- M Oppenheimer 1998. "Global warming and the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet" Nature Vol. 393, pp. 325 – 332. 28 May 1998. full text PDF
- CB Epstein, M Oppenheimer 1986. "Empirical relation between sulphur dioxide emissions and acid deposition derived from monthly data" Nature v. 323, 245-7
- TW Hartquist, A Dalgarno, M Oppenheimer 1980. "Molecular diagnostics of interstellar shocks" Astrophysical Journal v. 236, no. 1.
- M Oppenheimer, A Dalgarno 1974. "The Fractional Ionization in Dense Interstellar Clouds" Astrophysical Journal v. 192, no. 1, pp. 29–32.
- Michael Oppenheimer & the Science of Climate Change ABC Big Ideas 2010
- Princeton biography page
- Michael Oppenheimer Charlie Rose, 2 Feb. 2007
- Michael Oppenheimer discusses the psychology of global warming with ABC News
- Climate Central biography page
- "Michael Oppenheimer". The Heinz Awards. Retrieved 18 August 2013.