Five renowned experts join robust OSTP climate and environment team, highlighting urgency of Administration’s efforts to tackle climate change and loss of biodiversity

Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced five key additions – Dr. Patrick Gonzalez, Kate Dargan Marquis, Dr. Heather Tallis, Dr. Ann Marie Carlton, and Haley Case-Scott as world experts in biodiversity, climate change, disaster preparedness and response, and environmental justice – to its first-ever Climate and Environment Division, underscoring the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis and biodiversity loss with sound science that draws from a wide range of perspectives.

More on these additions:

  • Assistant Director for Climate and Biodiversity Dr. Patrick Gonzalez, a forest ecologist and climate change scientist, comes to OSTP from the U.S. National Park Service, where he served as Principal Climate Change Scientist, and from the University of California, Berkeley, where he is an Associate Adjunct Professor. His research revealed previously unreported tree death across the African Sahel due to climate change, carbon losses in California forests due to wildfire, and heating due to climate change in U.S. national parks at double the national rate. These results prompted new actions and policies of natural regeneration of native trees in Africa, forest carbon protection in California, and climate change-focused conservation in U.S. national parks. He has served as a lead author for four Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. 
  • Assistant Director for Disaster Preparedness and Response Kate Dargan Marquis, a national fire service leader and technology entrepreneur, comes to OSTP from her own public safety startup, where she served as Chair of the Board and Chief Strategy Officer. She spent more than 30 years as a pioneering firefighter and fire chief, ultimately serving as the first woman State Fire Marshal for California. As Fire Marshal, she developed fire prevention codes, fire training for fire fighters, oversaw policy planning, and coordinated with the California Governor’s office to develop strategy and policy for fire safety issues. As an entrepreneur, she has built innovative software that focuses on mapping technology for public safety and develops wildland-urban interface risk assessments. 
  • Assistant Director for Biodiversity and Conservation Science Dr. Heather Tallis, a conservation and biodiversity expert, comes to OSTP from her own consultancy and the University of California, Berkeley, where she serves as a Visiting Professor in the School of Public Health. She has vast experience bridging nature, the economy, and human health, especially through her previous work with The Nature Conservancy. In India, she drove a collaboration to support agricultural technology that helped farmers stop burning their fields – which helps the country to avoid national health emergencies caused by the smoke and helps farmers to rebuild their soils and contribute to stabilizing the climate. She has brought biodiversity and conservation expertise to the U.S. National Climate Assessment and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. 
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Revelle Fellow Dr. Ann Marie Carlton, an atmospheric chemist and air quality expert, comes to OSTP from the University of California, Irvine, where she serves as a Professor in the Department of Chemistry. As a licensed professional engineer and federal enforcement officer, she’s worked with a number of communities to mitigate water pollution from wastewater treatment plants and air pollution from industrial facilities. Building on her earlier experience as a research and physical scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, she developed a national air quality forecast system that is still used by the National Weather Service today. AT OSTP, she’ll work to bridge the gap of understanding on air pollution from agriculture.
  • Junior Policy Advisor Haley Case-Scott, an experienced environmental justice leader, comes to OSTP from Beyond Toxics and NAACP Eugene/Springfield, where she served as a Climate Justice Grassroots Organizer. An enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, she has worked to ensure that equity and community resilience principles are implemented into climate policy and legislation. During her time as an intern with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and Pacific Northwest Tribal Climate Change Project, she supported efforts to engage Tribal communities to better inform climate policy.

Gonzalez, Dargan Marquis, Tallis, Carlton, and Case-Scott join OSTP on the heels of two recent international scientific assessments. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reinforced the need for more ambitious climate action ahead of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services documented accelerating impacts to people from the loss of biodiversity and nature and called for more effective international action at the upcoming 15th United Nations Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties.

“The science is clear – climate change and the loss of species and natural habitats are threatening human wellbeing around the world.  The time is ripe for science-based solutions,” said OSTP Deputy Director for Climate and Environment Dr. Jane Lubchenco. “That’s why we are delighted to welcome these five stellar additions to our team.  They will help drive integrated solutions that reduce carbon pollution, conserve nature, and enhance the resilience of communities and economies.”  

More on the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Climate & Environment (C&E) Team: Gonzalez, Dargan Marquis ,Tallis, Carlton, and Case-Scott join a team of climate and environment experts at OSTP led by Deputy Director Dr. Jane Lubchenco, that already includes: U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Executive Director Dr. Mike Kuperberg; National Climate Assessment Director Allison Crimmins; Climate Science Advisor Dr. Phillip Duffy; Arctic Executive Steering Committee Executive Director Ambassador David Balton; Arctic Executive Steering Committee Deputy Director Raychelle Aluaq Daniel; Climate & Environment Chief of Staff and Assistant Director for Climate Resilience, Dr. Laura Petes; Assistant Directors Dr. Eli Fenichel (Natural Resource Economics & Accounting), Dr. Larry Hinzman (Polar Sciences), Dr. Maria Honeycutt (Resilience Science & Technology), Dr. Annarita Mariotti (Climate Science, Modeling, & Predictions), Dr. Gretchen Goldman (Environmental Science, Engineering, Policy and Justice), Deerin Babb-Brott (Ocean Policy), and Dr. Amanda Netburn (Ocean Sciences).

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