Rachel Licker

Principal Climate Scientist

Media Contact

Rachel Licker is principal climate scientist with the Climate & Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In her role, she provides strategic thinking and technical and analytical expertise across the organization, analyzes new developments in climate science, and communicates climate science to policymakers, the public, and the media.

Prior to joining UCS, Dr. Licker completed an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. For her fellowship, Dr. Licker served as a foreign affairs officer with the U.S. Department of State, where she managed its work with the Global Environment Facility trust fund.

Before that, Dr. Licker completed postdoctoral training at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. During that time, she also served as a chapter scientist and contributing author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II.

Dr. Licker earned her Ph.D. in environment and resources, and her B.S. in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also holds an M.S. in environmental studies and sustainability science from Lund University in Sweden. Dr. Licker has been quoted in BuzzFeed News, CleanTechnica, CNN, the Las Vegas Sun, NBC News, NPR, and the Orlando Sentinel, among other outlets.

Selected publications

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

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 Letters, 14 (12): 124060. Available here.

Dahl, K., R. Licker, J.T .Abatzoglou, and J. Declet-Barreto. 2019. Increased frequency of and population exposure to extreme heat index days in the United States during the 21st century. Environmental Research Communications, 1:075002. Available here.

Licker, R. and M. Mastrorillo. 2018. Chapter 16: Climate and Risk of Migration in South Africa. Routledge Handbook on Environmental Displacement and Migration. (R. McLeman & F. Gemenne, editors). Routledge University Press, London, England, 11 pp. ISBN 13: 978- 1138194465. Available here.

Oppenheimer, R. Warren, J. Birkmann, M. Campos, S. Hallegatte, B. Kopp, R. Licker, G. Luber, K. Mach, P. Marbaix, M. Mastrandrea, H. Poertner, J. Price, B. Scholes, K. Takahashi, J.-P. van Ypersele, and G. Yohe. 2017. IPCC reasons for concern regarding climate change risks. Nature Climate Change, 8: 28-37. Available here.

Licker, R., C.J. Kucharik, T. Doré, M. Lindeman, and D. Makowski. 2013. Climatic Impacts on Winter Wheat Yields in Picardy, France and Rostov, Russia: 1973-2010.” Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 176: 25-37. Available here.

Licker, R., M. Johnston, J.A. Foley, C. Barford, C.J. Kucharik, C. Monfreda, and N. Ramankutty. 2010. Mind the Gap: How do climate and agricultural management explain the ‘yield gap’ of croplands around the world? Global Ecology and Biogeography, 19(6): 769-782. Available here.