Project: Technical Summary of IPCC Report

Leah is a Senior Science Officer at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I (WGI: Physical Science) Technical Support Unit (TSU) for the 6th Assessment Report. Her interests lie in translating science into action: ensuring that we direct research to be in service of society. Before joining the IPCC TSU in 2019, Leah worked within the International Science Council; the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research; and the Office for Climate Education on international science policy and educational initiatives. She has a PhD in physical and atmospheric chemistry from the University of Colorado.  


Leah’s project is to develop a first draft of the IPCC’s Technical Summary (TS), with user needs at the forefront. The TS follows the better-known Summary for Policy Makers (SPM); it provides a link between the technical science contained in the full IPCC report and the highly condensed SPM. The international education community; city planners; and NGOs primarily use the technical summary, amongst others. It is translated into six UN languages. Leah plans to shape the TS so that it responds to such users, in addition to following IPCC government guidelines. The Women4Climate program offers an opportunity to interact with a wider user community to maximise the impact of the IPCC report.


At an early age, I learned the importance of our energy choices.  When I was in primary school, my father, who was a scientist, decided to evacuate my family after the nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island. Since that time, I have worked to ensure that science and facts inform environmental decisions. Also, I have two boys who will are coming of age during the Anthropocene. Every action we take matters today and provides a more sustainable future for them and future generations.

I have been working on international sustainability issues since 2002. The pace of action has not kept pace with the needs. My decision to accept the offer to work at the TSU in Saclay was prompted by the opportunity to work with people like Valérie Masson-Delmotte (Co-Chair of the IPCC WG1) and Anna Pirani (Head of the TSU). We are taking a bottom-up and participatory approach to translating science into action. The urgency is clear; our team is working on providing the science for climate action now.

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