Food Security Session


Weather, Climate and Global Food Security

Session 7, Tuesday, 25 January at 1:30 PM 

(Joint between the Presidential Sessions and the 17th Symposium on Societal Applications: Policy, Research and Practice)

Format: Panel with four/five people from various sectors (science, humanitarian, policy,  etc.) who can talk about how weather and climate impact global food security


No country is immune from food insecurity. However, the world’s poorest countries often face the greatest food-insecurity challenges. Additionally, these countries are the most vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather events and climate change, which only further exacerbate food insecurity. While weather and climate change often trigger humanitarian disasters and lead to food insecurity, the scientific community can play a key role in not only reducing the impacts of extreme weather and climate change on food security but also improving lives and livelihoods. 

This session will consist of a panel of experts from various sectors to discuss the global dimensions of weather, climate and food security and the role meteorologists and climate scientists can play in improving the food security and lives of millions of people across the world. Each panelist will provide a brief presentation on weather, climate and food security from their sector’s perspective and participate in discussion facilitated by a moderator. This format will allow for more discussion and engagement from the audience, which is important in bridging the divide between these often siloed sectors. 


Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig

Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig is a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the co-located Columbia University Earth Institute’s Center for Climate Systems Research. Dr. Rosenzweig’s specific area of expertise is climate change and food systems. At NASA GISS, she heads the Climate Impacts Group whose mission is to investigate the interactions of climate (both variability and change) on systems and sectors important to human well-being. Dr. Rosenzweig is the co-founder and a member of the Executive Committee of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), a globally integrated transdisciplinary study of climate change and the food system at regional, national and global scales, including the participation of over 1000 leading researchers from developed and developing nations. In 2019, Dr. Rosenzweig was Coordinating Lead Author of the Food Security Chapter for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land.


A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Dr. Rosenzweig has developed new methods of detection and attribution of observed changes in physical and biological systems to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and pioneered research on the impacts of and adaptation to climate change and climate variability. She has developed methodologies for the integrated assessment of the climatic and physiological effects of increased CO2 and SO2 on regional, national, and global agricultural production and food security. She has forged scientific knowledge on the role of agriculture in land use and land cover change and advanced critical exploration of teleconnections between the El Niño Southern Oscillation and agriculture at regional and global scales. She has championed innovative research and instituted knowledge networks on global environmental change and urban systems and developed groundbreaking biological and hydrological land-surface processes for global circulation models (GCMs), used in GISS GCM contributions to the IPCC.

Lauren Stuart

Lauren Stuart is an Associate Policy Advisor on the Climate and Energy team at Oxfam America, a global non-profit humanitarian organization that addresses issues such as poverty, inequality and food insecurity – issues deeply intertwined with the climate crisis. At Oxfam America, Lauren focuses on US leadership in international climate policy and diplomacy from a justice and equality perspective. Her work includes building diverse coalitions at the nexus of domestic and international climate policy, educating congressional staff on various climate issues and engaging with the Biden Administration to advocate for ambitious climate action grounded in justice and equity. She leads Oxfam America’s international climate finance work, advocating for scaled up finance to support developing countries hit hardest by climate change. She also leads on policy issues related to adaptation, loss and damage and climate migration and displacement.


With a unique background in meteorology, sustainable development and international climate policy, Lauren is passionate about bridging these often-siloed spaces to address the climate crisis and its impacts on the world’s most vulnerable communities. She holds a BS in Meteorology and a BS in Geography from Florida State University and a MSc in Climate Change and International Development from the University of East Anglia. Before joining Oxfam America, Lauren served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal where she worked on food security issues in a rural village. She previously interned at the Green Climate Fund in Songdo, South Korea where she supported the development of hydrometeorological projects in developing countries and completed a work placement at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany where she worked on loss and damage policy.


Dr. Molly Jahn

Dr. Molly Jahn is the Founding Principal of the Jahn Research Group ( and a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Guest Faculty status at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and the US Naval War College in the Ethics of Emerging Military Technologies Program. Currently, she is on loan to the US Government, serving as a Program Manager at the US Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office.  Previously, she served as the 12th Dean of the University of Wisconsin's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station.  From 2009-10, she served as USDA Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics where she oversaw four USDA research and statistical agencies. Her research groups at UW-Madison and Cornell University have authored >120 peer-reviewed scientific publications, she holds several patents, >60 active commercial licenses for intellectual property from her university research programs and has published a series of high impact reports with Government and private sector collaborators including Lloyd's of London, Thomson Reuters, Cargill, the Wilson Center, Chicago Council of Global Affairs and the Special Operations Combatant Command.  


From 2013-2019, she co-directed the major USDA investment for US dairy sustainability and from 2011-2017, she chaired the Scientific Advisor Board for the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab. In 2016-7, she led a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between the UW-Madison and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency entitled, “Food security, food systems and national security.”  She currently sits on the Advisory Board of the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction working on the Global Assessment Report 22, and leads a global research alliance funded by the Skoll Global Threats Fund managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory aimed at catalyzing decision-relevant science and engineering to better manage systemic risk at the land/water/energy/human security nexus. Recently, she has served on the NASA Applied Sciences Advisory Committee, National Academies of Science Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, chaired the NOAA Data Access and Archiving Working Group and chaired the Oak Ridge National Lab Scientific Advisory Committee for Energy and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Jahn received her B.A. with Distinction in Biology from Swarthmore College, holds graduate degrees from MIT and Cornell University and has been awarded Honorary Doctor of Sciences degrees in both the US and UK. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Crop Science Society of America and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Sciences and Letters.


Dr. Wassila Thiaw

Dr. Wassila Thiaw is the team leader for the Climate Prediction Center International Desks at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Dr. Thiaw came to NOAA from a Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology from the University of Dakar in Senegal and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Meteorology from the Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand II in Paris.

Dr. Thiaw’s international work started in graduate school, with a one-year fellowship with the European Space Agency European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, where he researched the diurnal cycle of African deep convective clouds using satellite observations. After a two-year stint with the Senegal National Meteorological Service, in 1991 he then took a postdoc position at NOAA/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), where he used satellite information to study extreme heavy rainfall events in the U.S and validated the Global Data Assimilation System and Global Forecast System model over West Africa. At this point, NOAA was establishing its African Desk, where Dr. Thiaw worked, first through UCAR and then as a federal scientist. He now leads CPC’s International Desks.

The mission of CPC’s International Desks is to help NOAA meet the country's international commitments for advancing science and technology, improving climate services, and reducing impacts of natural disasters around the world. They achieve this by, first, supporting the humanitarian missions of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), namely the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET); second, global weather and climate product development, and, third, capacity building in developing countries in the fields of operational weather and climate monitoring and forecasting.

Dr. Thiaw received the NOAA Bronze Medal in 2010, the AMS Special Award in 2019 “for tireless commitment to building capacity in Africa and the developing world, leading to improved climate services and reduced risk from natural disasters,” he became an AMS Fellow in 2020.


David Sandalow

David Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and co-Director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He founded and directs the Center’s U.S.-China Program and is author of the Guide to Chinese Climate Policy. He teaches a one-month short course each year as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University.

Mr. Sandalow has chaired the ICEF Innovation Roadmap Project since 2015. In that capacity, he has led development of roadmaps on biomass carbon removal and storage, industrial decarbonizationdirect air capture and carbon dioxide utilization, among other topics.

In 2020, Mr. Sandalow and colleagues co-founded the Food-Climate Partnership. He is lead author of the Food and Climate Change InfoGuide (CGEP, May 2021). 

Mr. Sandalow has served in senior positions at the White House, State Department and U.S. Department of Energy. He came to Columbia from the U.S. Department of Energy, where he served as Under Secretary of Energy (acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs. Prior to serving at DOE, Mr. Sandalow was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment & Science and a Senior Director on the National Security Council staff. 

Mr. Sandalow writes and speaks widely on energy and climate policy. In addition to the publications mentioned above, recent writings include “Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Food System: Building the Evidence Base,” Environmental Research Letters (June 2021) (co-author); “Finding and Fixing Food System Emissions: The Double Helix of Science and Policy,” Environmental Research Letters (June 2021) (co-author); Energizing America(CGEP September 2020) (co-author); Leveraging State Funds for Clean Energy (CGEP, September 2020) (with Richard Kauffman); Green Stimulus Proposals in China and the United States (CGEP, August 2020) (with Xu Qinhua); China’s Response to Climate Change: A Study in Contrasts (Asia Society Policy Institute, July 2020); China and the Oil Price War (CGEP, March 2020) (co-author); Decarbonizing Space Heating With Air Source Heat Pumps (December 2019, co-author); Electric Vehicle Charging in China and the United States (February 2019) (with Anders Hove);  A Natural Gas Giant Awakens (June 2018) (lead author); The Geopolitics of Renewable Energy (2017) (CGEP and Harvard Kennedy School, co-lead author); Financing Solar and Wind Power: Lessons from Oil and Gas (2017, co-author); and The History and Future of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CGEP, 2016). Other works include Plug-In Electric Vehicles: What Role for Washington? (2009) (editor), Overcoming Obstacles to U.S.-China Cooperation on Climate Change (2009) (with Ken Lieberthal) and Freedom from Oil (2007).

Mr. Sandalow serves as a director of Fermata Energy and senior advisor to APL. He is a member of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Selection Committee, Global CO2 Initiative Advisory Board, Electric Drive Transport Association’s “Hall of Fame” and Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Sandalow is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Yale College.


Asmeret Asefaw Berhe

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe is a Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry and Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences at the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Merced. She currently serves as the Interim Associate Dean for the Graduate Division at UC Merced. Her research interest lies at the intersection of soil science, global change science, and political ecology, and seeks to improve our understanding of how the soil system regulates the earth’s climate and the dynamic two-way relationship between soil and human communities. Prof. Berhe is the recipient of several awards and honors, including Fellow and Joanne Simpson Medal recipient from the American Geophysical Union; Fellow and Bromery Award recipient from the Geological Society of America; the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award, and member of the inaugural class of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine's New Voices in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. She is passionate about all things soil and is driven to ensure that scientific education and careers are equally accessible to people from all walks of life, and that academic workplaces are free from bias and harassment.



Roger S. Pulwarty

Roger S. Pulwarty is the Senior Scientist in NOAA’s Physical Sciences Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. His research and publications focus on climate, disaster risk reduction, and adaptation. Roger has helped develop and lead programs integrating science and services, including the U.S. National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), the NOAA RISAs and the World Bank project on Mainstreaming Adaptation in the Caribbean. He has served as a convening lead author on the IPCC, the UN Disaster Risk Reduction Global Assessments, and the US National Climate Assessment, among others. Roger co-chairs the WMO Climate Services Information System Expert Team. He is a Fellow of the AMS and of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Roger is the co-editor of “Hurricanes: Climate and Socio-economic Impacts” (Springer reissued 2012), “Drought and Water Crises” (CRC Press 2017), and “Drought in the Anthropocene” (UNESCO, 2019).