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Making a Difference Across the World

Clark experts play a leading role in shaping responses to climate and global change worldwide, with research and expertise that directly inform decisions on local to global stages. We link knowledge to action through engagement with policymakers, service on high-profile panels and advisory boards, hands-on work with stakeholders, and outreach to the broader public.

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Shaping Global Climate Adaptation Efforts

In his role as a scientific adviser to the Global Environment Facility, Ed Carr is creating tools that improve the selection and design of adaptation projects. This work will shape the impact of hundreds of millions of dollars of adaptation funding over the next several years. Carr draws upon experience at organizations like USAID and the World Bank to translate decades of academic research experience into climate action with impacts at a global scale.


Contributing to NOAA’s Annual Arctic Report Card

Since 2010, Karen Frey, a polar scientist and professor of geography, has contributed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Arctic Report Card — 10 times as lead author of an entry. Most recently, she focused on the response of marine algae to climate warming and sea ice decline. In addition, as vice chair of the Marine Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committee, she meets with colleagues as part of the Arctic Science Summit to share data and information that deepens the collective understanding of climate change impacts on the polar region.

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Advising the Environmental Protection Agency

Robert Johnston, director of the George Perkins Marsh Institute and an environmental economist, has a history of work advising and developing models to help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies quantify the economic benefits of environmental protection. Among other contributions, he served on the EPA’s Science Advisory Board from 2012 to 2017 and developed methods that are now a central part of how the agency quantifies water quality benefits for nationwide regulatory impact assessments.

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Leading U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Research

As chair of North American Carbon Program’s Science Leadership Group, Christopher Williams oversees activities of the NACP science community, stimulates and promotes collaborations, advances science coordination across federal agencies and with universities, NGOs, and the private sector. He also serves as the program’s interface and liaison with the federal Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group and the broader U.S. Global Change Research Program, which operates under the aegis of the White House’s Office of Science, Technology, and Policy.

Additional Impacts

Our faculty researchers are involved in multiple research projects, initiatives, and programs to combat climate change, most of it funded through Clark’s George Perkins Marsh Institute. Below are just a few examples.

Blackstone river watershed

Improving the Blackstone River Watershed

The Marsh Institute’s Stefanie Covino is directing regional collaborations to improve the health of the Blackstone River, which feeds into Narragansett Bay. The watershed is vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

About the Collaborative

Aerial view of river

Incentivizing Water Conservation in the Southwest

As part of a $1.6 million multi-university NSF grant, Marsh Institute researchers Dana Bauer and Robert Johnston are developing a framework to promote water sustainability efforts in the Southwest’s Red River basin.

More Marsh Institute Research

Coal mining site in Venezuela

Governing Natural Resources More Fairly

Extractives@Clark focuses on the governance of extractive industries, paying special attention to the implications for community rights under conditions of climate change. The center’s work seeks to avoid projects that may inflict significant harm on local populations and fragile ecosystems.

More on Extractives@Clark

Group of people with umbrellas on a boat

Promoting More Effective Community Adaptation

Through the Humanitarian Response and Development Lab (HURDL), Edward Carr leads work around policy development, program design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of African communities’ efforts to adapt to climate change.

More HURDL Projects

Aerial view of drough land in Africa

Using Remote Sensing to Make Agriculture Climate-Smart

Lyndon Estes leads a project to develop high-resolution, annual maps of African croplands by combining human and machine intelligence with new satellite imaging capabilities. Such cropland maps are critical for analyzing how agriculture is changing, providing crucial insights into how agriculture impacts, and is impacted by, climate change.

Explore Mapping Africa

Boat going through marsh in Florida

Guiding Adaptive Management of Coastal and Urban Ecosystems

Rinku Roy Chowdhury engages with large research programs funded by the National Science Foundation, including in the Florida Everglades, examining how coastal cities and ecosystems are changing due to sea level rise and human activities. This research helps steer us towards more sustainable, equitable, and climate-resilient cities and land management.

Read About Florida Everglades Research

Boat driving through polar sea ice

Highlighting the Decline of Polar Sea Ice

Through NSF- and NASA-funded field research in the Arctic, remote sensing, and GIS science, Karen Frey is shedding light on the impacts of sea ice decline in polar shelf environments and of permafrost degradation across Siberia.

Polar Science Research Laboratory

Dead trees mixed with live trees in fores

Rethinking Forests’ Role in Climate Change

With funding from the Bezos Earth Fund through The Nature Conservancy, Christopher Williams is delivering foundational science on the climate impacts of forests, informing decision-makers about where we get the greatest climate benefit from avoiding forest loss and expanding tree cover worldwide.

Biogeosciences Research Group

Landscape photo of Plum Island

Monitoring the Plum Island Ecosystem

Through an NSF-funded Long-Term Ecological Research program, Robert (Gil) Pontius creates quantitative methods to assess and mitigate the effects of climate change on the Plum Island estuary and watershed in Massachusetts.

Plum Island Ecosystems Research

For more initiatives, visit the George Perkins Marsh Institute