Texas Tech University

Professor Katharine Hayhoe Named UN Champion of the Earth

Abby Stone

September 18, 2019

Katharine Hayhoe

The climate scientist was awarded the United Nations’ environmental honor in science and innovation.

Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Center at Texas Tech University, has received a 2019 Champions of the Earth Award, the United Nations' highest environmental honor, for her commitment to understanding the effects of climate change and efforts to transform public attitudes.

Hayhoe, a professor in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech, has devoted her research to understanding how climate change will impact people and the places they live. She evaluates long-term observations, future scenarios and global models to develop strategies that will reduce the effects of climate change on food, water and infrastructure.

"The award offers real encouragement to those of us working every day to spread the message that climate change is real and we need to act now to deal with it", Hayhoe said. "Together, keeping up the pressure, we can prevail, because we already have the technology and knowledge to make the necessary changes. All we're missing is the will".

In addition to this, Hayhoe has been named one of the world's best communicators on climate change. She has enhanced climate-change policy at the local and national levels through her research and communication efforts.

The Champions of the Earth Award was established by the United Nations' Environment Programme in 2005 to recognize individuals, groups and institutions taking action to improve the world. The science and innovation category honors individuals or organizations who advance efforts through technology and science for environmental benefit. Hayhoe is one of five winners of the 2019 award.

Hayhoe has served as lead author on many climate reports including the U.S. Global Change Research Program's Second, Third and Fourth National Climate Assessments. She was named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in 2014, Fortune's 50 Greatest World Leaders and listed among Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers in both 2014 and 2019. Hayhoe also was awarded the eighth Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication in 2018.

To read the official United Nations release, click here.