New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 12, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Pamela McElwee are available for interviews on how President-elect Joe Biden and his incoming administration could strengthen efforts to address climate change and protect the environment.

Kopp, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences, can talk about climate adaptation, climate research and the social cost of carbon, as well as the linkages between democratic reforms and climate action.

“The Biden-Harris administration should mobilize the entire federal government to tackle the climate crisis. The single greatest opportunity will come with their stimulus proposals,” said Kopp, director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “There are also small but crucial steps the administration can undertake to ensure that climate is mainstream in federal decision processes. For example, they can integrate an updated social cost of carbon into regulatory design and environmental impact statements. They can restore the requirement for annual agency sustainability and climate adaptation plans, and ensure that these plans have strong advocates within each agency. They can strengthen climate risk reporting requirements for publicly traded companies.”

“Another key task will be using federal leaderships, through the U.S. Global Change Research Program, to mobilize the nation’s universities and research labs to work in partnership with states and communities to advance climate adaptation and mitigation goals,” Kopp said. “But perhaps the most fundamental task the new administration can take on to advance climate action is to push forward a democracy reform agenda that ensures that the small minorities that dismiss the need for climate action do not have overly strong voices in our political system and that also helps reestablish a common understanding of reality in our country.”

McElwee, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, can speak to how the Biden administration can focus on global engagement around the biodiversity crisis, and on what the United States will need to do to make sure 2015 Paris Agreement’s long-term targets are reached. She was an environmental advisor in the White House Office on Environmental Policy for President Clinton and also worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Persian Gulf Task Force.

“The Biden Administration has a tremendous opportunity to rebuild bridges with the rest of the world to move climate action forward again,” McElwee said. “A quick rejoining of the Paris Agreement, followed by a new and much strengthened Nationally Determined Contribution (national climate plan highlighting climate actions) that aims to cut emissions dramatically over the next decade, would go a long way towards jump-starting global action in time to keep our emissions below 2 degree Celsius targets.”


Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at [email protected]

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has an internationally acclaimed faculty, 12 degree-granting schools and the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse student body.