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Peter C. Frumhoff

Harvard University

Based in

United States
North America

Peter C. Frumhoff teaches environmental science and public policy at Harvard University and is the senior science policy advisor at the Woodwell Climate Research Center. A global change ecologist, his research extends from the role of forests in climate mitigation to the climate responsibilities of fossil fuel companies to the responsible governance of solar geoengineering research.

Dr. Frumhoff serves on the Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the 2022 Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life at Brandeis University.

Through 2021, he was the longtime director of science and policy and chief climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. There, he led strategies and initiatives to bring robust climate science to bear on informing public understanding and motivating public policies; guided science, equity and innovation post-doctoral fellowships; and served as senior liaison with the scientific community, policymakers, funders and the media.

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, and lead author of the IPCC Special Report on Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry. He has guided multiple regional climate impacts assessments, including the 2007 Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment.

Dr. Frumhoff has taught at Stanford University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the University of Maryland. He was AAAS Science and Diplomacy Fellow at the US Agency for International Development. He received a PhD in ecology and an MA in zoology from the University of California, Davis, and a BA in psychology magna cum laude from the University of California, San Diego.

Country(ies) of Specialty

United States

Focus areas of expertise

Climate policy and politics Climate law and litigation Geoengineering Fossil fuels

How to Connect



Wentz, J., Merner, D., Franta, B., Lehmen, A., & Frumhoff, P. C. 2023. Research priorities for climate litigation. Earth’s Future, 11, e2022EF002928. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022EF002928

Phillips, C., B. Rogers, M. Elder, S. Cooperdock, M. Moubarak and P.C. Frumhoff. (2022). “Escalating carbon emissions from North American boreal forest wildfires and the climate mitigation potential of boreal fire management.” Science Advances in press.

Merner, D. B. Franta, and P.C. Frumhoff. (2022). “Identifying gaps in climate-litigation-relevant research: An assessment from interviews with legal scholars and practitioners.” The Climate and Social Science Network.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2021). “Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance.” Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Member, consensus study committee.

Talati, S. and P.C. Frumhoff (2020). “Strengthening Public Input on Solar Geoengineering Research: What’s Needed for Decisionmaking on Atmospheric Experiments.” Union of Concerned Scientists.

Licker, R., B. Ekwurzel, S C Doney, S R Cooley, I D Lima, R Heede and P C Frumhoff, (2019). “Attributing ocean acidification to major carbon producers.” Environmental Research Letters14.

Lo, Y.T.E., D. Mitchell, A. Gasparrini, A.M. Vicedo-Cabrera, K. L. Ebi, P.C. Frumhoff, R. J. Millar, W. Roberts, F. Sera, S. Sparrow, P. Uhe and G. Williams (2019). “Increasing mitigation ambition to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal avoids substantial heat-related mortality in U.S. cities.” Science Advances 5 (6).

Stephens, J.C., Frumhoff, P.C. and Yona, L. (2018). “The role of college and university faculty in the fossil fuel divestment movement.” Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 6(1), p.41.

Frumhoff, P.C. and J.C. Stephens 2018. “Towards legitimacy of the solar geoengineering research enterprise.” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 376:20160459.

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.

Frumhoff, P.C. and J.C. Stephens 2017. Commentary on “Toward a Responsible Solar Geoengineering Research Program.” Issues in Science and Technology 33, no. 4.

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.

Frumhoff, P. C., R. Heede and N. Oreskes (2015). “The climate responsibilities of major industrial carbon producers.” Climatic Change 132:157-171.