Rebecca Shaw

Associate Vice President & Senior Lead Scientist

Areas of expertise: Climate change and risk reduction, ecosystem resilience, ecosystem services, land and freshwater conservation, agricultural sustainability, natural infrastructure, marine conservation.


Rebecca Shaw, Ph.D., is a leading scientist and recognized thought leader on climate change, biodiversity and ecosystems services. She is a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was a lead author on the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group 2, released in 2014.

As associate vice president of EDF’s Ecosystems Program, Rebecca oversees the development and implementation of major market and policy initiatives to:

  • Increase U.S. agricultural productivity in ways that benefit farmers and improve the environment,
  • Secure water resources and restore rivers,
  • Restore habitat and biodiversity, and
  • Restore coastal ecosystems to protect communities from rising sea level and storm surges.

Prior to EDF, Rebecca directed land, water and marine conservation strategies for The Nature Conservancy in California and served as chief scientist on the ambitious Santa Cruz Island Restoration Project, widely seen as an innovative model for successful conservation. She also lead TNC’s Climate Change adaptation research and project development.

Rebecca joined EDF in 2011.


  • Environmental Defense Fund, Associate Vice President & Senior Lead Scientist
  • U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Lead Author, Chapter 16, "Adaptation, Opportunities, Constraints and Limits," Working Group 2, Fifth Assessment Report
  • The Nature Conservancy, Director of Conservation & Associate State Director, California
  • California Energy Commission Climate Change Team, Lead Author & Researcher
  • Stanford Natural Capital Project, Director, Sierra Nevada Demonstration Project
  • Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, Stanford University, Postdoctoral Fellow & Visiting Scholar


  • Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California at Berkeley
  • MA in Environmental Policy from U.C. Berkeley
  • BA in biology from UC Santa Barbara.

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Media Contact

Cristina Mestre
(212) 616-1268 (office)
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