Our Impact

Turning climate research into urgent action.

At Woodwell Climate Research Center, we want everyone to understand how climate change is affecting the planet and take action to safeguard the future of life on Earth. Today, as we experience the effects of climate change in real-time, around the globe, we are more dedicated than ever to advancing scientific discovery and seeking science-based solutions for the world’s environmental challenges—ensuring that policy and decision-making at every level is informed by world-class climate research.

From the field to the congressional floor, we are built for impact.

Climate change is an interconnected and multidimensional problem. Our work must be holistic in order to address it. Right from the start, we bring together researchers and stakeholders to establish a research agenda that will produce science with the power to affect policy change on the largest possible scale.

At the same time, we cultivate partnerships at every level—from international organizations and national governments, to public and private institutions, and local communities and Indigenous peoples—ensuring that the knowledge we gain is widely shared and effectively applied.

Workshop held in Brasilia in May 2019.
Dr. R. Max Holmes speaks to legislators on Capitol Hill

Left: A breakout group meets during a Woodwell Climate-led workshop in Brasilia, Brazil in May 2019.

Right: Woodwell Climate President & CEO Dr. R. Max Holmes speaks with lawmakers and their staff in Washington, DC in September 2023; photo by Eric Lee.

We bring the science to the table.

Woodwell researchers and policy experts are actively involved in creating policy briefs and risk assessments, providing expert testimony, and working with government offices to share directly relevant climate science. Our work is designed to help leaders understand the implications of their policies, to guide their decisions, and to shape more positive climate outcomes.

Where we're focused

Since 1985, Woodwell Climate Research Center has been dedicated to ensuring that climate policy is informed by climate science. Our founder, Dr. George Woodwell, took part in one of the first congressional hearings on climate change in 1986. Our scientists helped to launch the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, and have contributed to every annual assessment report that has followed.

More recently, Woodwell Climate scientists have testified about climate change before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and we provide frequent briefings to congressional staff. In 2019, when Brazilian leadership spread misinformation about the catastrophic Amazon fires, Woodwell Climate’s Dr. Paulo Brando testified to the Brazilian Congress on the threat of deforestation in the Amazon.

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Woodwell Climate’s Dr. Jennifer Francis testifies at Congressional hearing on climate change.

Photo courtesy of House Science Committee, 2019

Woodwell Climate partners with public and private institutions to conduct research and to incorporate climate science into decision-making. Some partnerships include: Working with Wellington Management to amplify the impact of pivotal environmental research and climate risk assessments in the private sector; developing a comprehensive carbon monitoring and projection system with the Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; and providing climate research data, visualizations, and tools to support the innovative Probable Futures movement.

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Dr. Kyle Arndt and Patrick Murphy installing the inaugural first carbon flux tower of Permafrost Pathways in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Woodwell is committed to leaving a strong educational legacy and to providing training for government officials and community leaders around the world who manage and monitor local conservation efforts. We’re fostering hands-on, experiential programs like the Polaris Project and the Solaris Project to train a new generation of climate science leaders; building collaborations with academic partners like Tufts University to expand our ability to link cutting-edge research and immersive education; and developing training programs for state and regional environmental managers, educators, journalists, and corporate sustainability officials.

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Above: 2019 Polaris Project student Aqua Sanders conducting research at the field site in Alaska.

Given the urgency of the climate crisis, it is not enough to simply do good research. We take this science and work with government officials at the local, national, and international levels to inform climate policy. Dave McGlinchey, Chief of Government Relations