February 22, 2012 Retrospective Program: Dr. Margaret Leinen CEO & Founder – Climate Response Fund

February 22, 2012 Retrospective Program: Dr. Margaret Leinen CEO & Founder – Climate Response Fund

The Climate Response Fund was founded in 2009 to foster discussion of climate intervention research (sometimes called geoengineering or climate engineering) and to decrease the risk that these techniques might be called on or deployed before they are adequately understood and regulated. The Climate Response Fund urges immediate and extensive emissions reductions to address the threat of climate change and its impacts.  This is the most important response to climate change that individuals, organizations and governments can make. However, progress on reducing emissions has been slow.  Scientists fear that without faster progress, there could be large impacts to economies and societies that result in calls for greater intervention to actively remove CO2 or other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere on a large scale or to offset the effects of greenhouse gases.  Many prominent scientists and scientific societies have called for research into these climate intervention techniques and we agree.  It would not be wise to wait until we find ourselves in a climate emergency to explore the potential responses to unacceptable climate change.

Such research must be carried out safely and responsibly, however, after thoughtful consideration of the most appropriate norms and guidelines for experimentation.  The Climate Response Fund was formed to encourage and enable such deliberation.


CRF is led by Dr. Margaret Leinen, internationally known oceanographer, biogeochemist and paleoceanographer and science administrator. Dr. Leinen was the Assistant Director for Geosciences of the US National Science Foundation from 2000-2007, where she was responsible for earth, atmosphere, ocean and environmental science at the agency responsible for much of the academic research funding in these fields. In that position she chaired the US Global Change Research Program from 2000-2001 and was Vice-Chair of its successor, the US Climate Change Science Program from 2002-2007. This program coordinated all US federal climate science investment.


During her research career Dr. Leinen served as the Vice-Chair of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program; member of the US National Research Council Climate Research Committee, member of the Scientific Committee of the Ocean Drilling Program, President of the Oceanography Society, and in many other national and international positions.


Dr. Leinen was the Dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography, the Interim Dean of the College of Environment and Life Sciences, and the Vice-Provost for Marine and Environmental Programs of the University of Rhode Island.


Dr. Leinen is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the National Council for Science of the Environment (NCSE) and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.).  She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Geological Society of America (GSA).  She is the past Chair of the Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a former President of The Oceanography Society.  She is also a member of the Board on Development of the American Geophysical Union.


Prior to joining CRF, Dr. Leinen was the Chief Science Officer of Climos, Inc.

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