EDF's contributing scientists

Expanding our scientific expertise

EDF integrates world-class scientific talent into our program work via senior contributing scientists, who complement the work of our 40 staff scientists, allowing us to tap the best minds while breaking down barriers between academia, research institutions and EDF.

Each of these scientists works part-time for EDF on specific projects, as described below. They are also involved in policy-relevant scientific projects outside of EDF. Their work, statements, and/or policy recommendations related to those other projects do not necessarily reflect EDF's views.

Ken Adler (Senior Contributing Scientist), president of Eagle Design LLC, is advising EDF on a variety of transportation-related advocacy initiatives. These initiatives include prioritization and dispersion of VW settlement funds, evaluating mobile sources for emissions banking and trading programs, and the development of performance-based metrics for assessing environmental progress at ports. Previously he spent 30 years at US EPA working on regulatory, legislative issues, and voluntary programs with a variety of EPA programs including the SmartWay Partnership Program, Diesel Emission Reduction Grants, transportation conformity, and smart growth.

Dr. Ann M. Bartuska (Senior Contributing Scientist), former deputy under secretary for research education & economics and chief scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), brings extensive experience in forestry, agriculture and ecosystem services to EDF, focusing on climate change mitigation through natural climate solutions with a specific concentration on forest management and soil health practices. Prior to her work at the USDA, she worked at the United States Forest Service, where, in 1999 she was named Director of Forest Management, the first woman and the first ecologist to hold the position. In addition, she also chaired the subcommittee on Global Change Research at the White House Office of Science and Technology in 2016.

Dr. Susanne Brander (Senior Contributing Scientist) is an Associate Professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. Her research encompasses the fields of toxicology, endocrinology, and ecology; integrating molecular approaches with measurements at the organism and population level. Dr. Brander’s main focus is on the effects of stressors such as emerging pollutants, plastics, and changing climate on aquatic organisms, but her research and teaching also spans the links between ecological and human health. Her work at EDF focuses on TSCA and Healthy Communities.

Dr. Jane Long (Senior Contributing Scientist), former principal associate director-at-large for energy and environment at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has been instrumental in our work on geoengineering, evaluation of nuclear power, and wastewater from the oil and gas industry. Dr. Long advises our participation in the Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative — a joint effort of the Royal Society, The World Academy of Sciences and EDF — that seeks to promote good governance of research addressing solar radiation management, a form of geoengineering. She is a co-principal investigator on a joint project with Cornell designed to understand the possible strategic aspects of solar radiation management combined with carbon removal and mitigation. She also played a key role in helping EDF evaluate the role of nuclear power in the world's energy mix, by connecting EDF to experts on various issues related to advanced nuclear power and nuclear waste. In addition, Dr. Long has provided valuable expertise and networking in our work to accelerate the characterization and treatment of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. Finally, she has provided advice and technical evaluations for EDF's legal defense of the Clean Power Plan and connected our team to other expertise to help bolster our arguments in court.

Dr. Michael Oppenheimer (Senior Contributing Scientist), professor of geosciences and international affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University, and former EDF chief scientist, provides us with advice and guidance on issues related to climate science. This year, he assisted in the development of a new approach to "global warming potentials," the key metric for comparing the relative importance of different greenhouse gases. He was a co-author with EDF staff scientists and others on a Science article describing this approach. Dr. Oppenheimer also worked closely with EDF to organize a meeting of leading climate scientists and economists to better integrate the issue of climate tipping points into models that evaluate the economics of climate. He is currently helping EDF follow up on the ideas from the workshop.

Dr. Chris Portier (Senior Contributing Scientist), former director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is advising us on the collection, analysis, and interpretation of air quality data, in order to determine the sources of air pollution and its impact on health outcomes. Dr. Portier has also worked on our efforts to address lead in drinking water and communicate the health impacts of natural gas operations on surrounding communities. Finally, he has been instrumental in analyses to clarify the impact of environmental exposures on human health, starting with chemical agents associated with natural gas.

Dr. Stefan Schwietzke (Senior Scientist), research scientist at the Global Monitoring Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado, Boulder, supports our science team working on international methane field studies in cooperation with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. In this role, Dr. Schwietzke contributes to the planning, design, and coordination of the oil and gas related field studies as well as their data analysis. Through previous research, he has become an expert in using aircraft to detect and quantify methane emissions from oil and gas operations as well as in modeling the global methane cycle.