Rachel Cleetus is the policy director with the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. She leads the program’s efforts in designing effective and equitable policies to address climate change, and advocating for their implementation.
Dr. Cleetus is an expert in policies to promote clean energy and drive deep cuts in heat-trapping emissions from the power sector, including carbon pricing and complementary sector-based policies. She also does research on the risks and costs of climate impacts and is an expert on policies to promote climate resilience. She has co-authored numerous reports and articles including the recent UCS reports Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate; Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Rising Seas Building Resilience for Communities on the Front Lines of Climate Change; and The US Power Sector in a Net Zero World: Analyzing pathways for deep carbon reductions.
She brings nearly twenty years of experience working on US climate and clean energy policies. She is also an expert on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and has been attending international climate negotiations since 2009.
Prior to joining UCS, she worked as a consultant for the World Wildlife Fund, conducting policy-focused research on the links between sustainable development, trade, and ecosystems in Asia and Africa. She also worked for Tellus Institute in the energy and environment program.
Dr. Cleetus holds a PhD and an MA in economics from Duke University and a BS in economics from West Virginia University.
Dr. Cleetus has been quoted widely, including by the Associated Press, Reuters, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Politico, USA Today, and U.S. News & World Report, and has appeared on Al Jazeera America, The Today Show, and National Public Radio.
Phillips, C.A., Astrid Caldas, Rachel Cleetus, Kristina A. Dahl, Juan Declet-Barreto, Rachel Licker, L. Delta Merner, J. Pablo Ortiz-Partida, Alexandra L. Phelan, Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Shuchi Talati, Christopher H. Trisos, and Colin J. Carlson. 2020. Compound climate risks in the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature Climate Change. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0804-2