Peter Frumhoff

Director of Science & Policy

Media Contact

Peter C. Frumhoff is director of science and policy and chief climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). He guides organizational-wide strategies to bring robust scientific expertise to bear on strengthening public understanding and public policies; develops new cross-program science and policy initiatives; and serves as senior liaison with the scientific community, policymakers and the media. A global change ecologist, he has published and lectured widely on climate science and policy, the climate responsibilities of fossil fuel companies, the energy-water-climate nexus, and the conservation and management of tropical forests and biological diversity.

He serves on the board of atmospheric sciences and climate of the US National Academy of Sciences, the board of directors of the American Wind Wildlife Institute, the steering committee for the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, and the Board of Editors of Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. Previously, he served on the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science at the US Department of Interior, and the Board of Editors of Ecological Applications.

He was a lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, lead author of the 2000 IPCC Special Report on Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry and Chair of the 2007 Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA).  He was the 2014 Cox Visiting Professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. Previously, he taught at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Harvard University and the University of Maryland, and was a AAAS Science and Diplomacy Fellow at the US Agency for International Development. He is a non-faculty associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment.

Dr. Frumhoff is quoted frequently in print and electronic media and has given congressional testimony on multiple occasions. He received a PhD in ecology and MA in zoology from the University of California at Davis, and a B.A. in psychology from the University of California at San Diego.

Selected publications

Frumhoff, P.C. and J.C. Stephens 2018 Towards legitimacy of the solar geoengineering research enterprise. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 20160459.

Goldman, G.T., K. Mulvey, P.C. Frumhoff, R. Sethi, S. Pferman, and H. Commoss. 2017. A methodology for assessment of corporate responsibility on climate change: A case study of the fossil energy industry. Journal of Environmental Investing 8:160-181.

Ekwurzel B., J. Boneham, M. W. Dalton, R. Heede, M.R. Allen, and P. C. Frumhoff. 2017 The rise in atmospheric CO2, surface temperature and sea level from emissions traced to major carbon producers. Climatic Change 144:579–590

Frumhoff, P.C. and J.C. Stephens 2017 The siren call of US funding for solar geoengineering research. pp 28-31 in Burns, E., DW Keith, E. Parson, and G. Wagner, eds. Report on the Forum on U.S. Solar Geoengineering Research Washington, D.C March 24, 2017

Mitchell, D., C. Heaviside, S. Vardoulakis, C. Huntingford, G. Masato, B. Guillod, P. Frumhoff, A Bowery, D. Wallom and M. Allen. 2016 Attributing human mortality during extreme heat waves to anthropogenic climate change. Environmental Research Letters 11 published online doi10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074006

Frumhoff, P.C., R. Heede, and N. Oreskes. 2015. The climate responsibilities of industrial carbon producers. Climatic Change 132(2): 157-171. doi: 10.1007/s10584-015-1472-5. Available here.

Frumhoff, P.C., V. Burkett, R.B. Jackson, R. Newmark, J. Overpeck, and M. Webber. 2015. Vulnerabilities and opportunities at the nexus of electricity, water and climate. Environmental Research Letters 10:080201. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/8/080201. Available here.

Mera, R., N. Massey, M. Allen, P. Mote, D.E. Rupp, and P.C. Frumhoff. 2015. Climate change, climate justice and the application of probabilistic event attribution to summer heat extremes in the California Central Valley. Climatic Change 133:427-438

Opinion pieces

Big Oil must pay for climate Change. Now we can calculate how much. The Guardian. September 7 2017 (with Myles Allen).

Fossil Fuel Firms Are Still Bankrolling Climate Denial Lobby Groups. Fossil Fuel Firms Are Still Bankrolling Climate Denial Lobby Groups. Available here.

Making Water-Smart Energy Choices in Colorado. Denver Post. Oct 15 2012 (with Alice Madden). Available here.

Toward One America on Climate Change. Multiple newspapers – McClatchy syndicate. February 23 2012 (with Andrew Hoffman). Available here.

Candidates must deal with facts, not wishes, on climate change. Multiple newspapers – McClatchy syndicate. September 16 2011 (with Kerry Emanuel).

The Limits of Doubt-Mongering. The Hill. February 23 2011 (with Naomi Oreskes). Available here.


Peter Frumhoff and a panel discussion (including Gus Speth) on “Who is Responsible for Climate Change?” on October 16, 2015 — watch a video of the event.