Environmental experts to visit as School of Forestry and Environmental Studies faculty during fall semester

Four individuals with expertise in the areas of greening the economy, climate change, engineering and finance have joined the faculty for the fall semester at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES).

They are: Pavan Sukhdev, who will serve as the Dorothy S. McCluskey Fellow, lecturer and research scholar; Daniel Lashof, named the Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Environmental Scholar; Deborah Spalding, a 2007 F&ES graduate who will teach as a lecturer; and Yehia Khalil, who is an adjunct professor of chemical and environmental engineering.

“The wealth of practical experience that these faculty bring to bear on environmental issues is indispensable to the education of our students,” says Peter Crane, dean of F&ES.

Sukhdev is the founder and CEO of GIST Advisory, an environmental consulting firm. He was a special adviser and head of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Economy Initiative and lead author of UNEP’s report “Towards a Green Economy,” which asserted that greening the economy would create more wealth and jobs as well as lessen poverty. He was also study leader for the G8+5-commissioned project on “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.” He was appointed to that position in 2008 by the European Commission and Germany while leading Deutsche Bank’s global markets business in India, including its fixed income and equities divisions and GMC Mumbai.

Sukhdev also chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Ecosystems & Biodiversity, and serves on the boards of Conservation International and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He is teaching “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” and hopes to complete a book called “Corporation 2020,” a blueprint for reforms that will help corporations give rise to and dominate a green economy.

“We cannot manage what we do not measure, and we are not measuring either the value of nature’s benefits or the costs of their loss,” he says. “We seem to be navigating the new and unfamiliar waters of ecological scarcities and climate risks with faulty instruments. Replacing our obsolete economic compass could help economics become part of the solution to reverse ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss.”

Lashof is director of the Natural Resource Defense Council’s climate center. He is involved in developing federal legislation and regulations to place enforceable limits on carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants and to reduce America’s dependence on oil. He is a lead author of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on the role of land-use change and forestry in exacerbating or mitigating global warming. The report was an important resource during the international negotiations on implementing the Kyoto Protocol, particularly for the rules adopted in the Bonn agreements of 2001. He has testified many times before Congress about energy policy and global warming.

Lashof has taught environmental science as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and is the author of numerous articles on climate-change science and policy. Previously, he was an environmental scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, where he was the lead author of a report to Congress, “Policy Options for Stabilizing Global Climate.” He is teaching “U.S. Climate Policy” this semester.

“Scientists are always cautious about attributing any specific extreme event to pollution-driven climate change, but new research is beginning to tease out how global warming contributes to extreme weather,” Lashof wrote recently in his blog. “Unfortunately … there has been very little discussion of the increasingly clear links to climate change. Scientists will continue to debate the details and ideological deniers will continue to debate the facts, but more and more communities across America are getting on with preparing to deal with climate change.”

Spalding is a founder and managing partner at Working Lands Investment Partners, which specializes in the investment and long-term stewardship of sustainably managed working forest and agricultural lands. She has worked in the financial industry for nearly 20 years, serving in senior executive positions in the United States and overseas. Until 2007 she was a partner at Chaplin Global, an alternative-asset management firm based in New York. Previously she was executive director of international investments for Schroder Investment Management in New York and London where she was lead portfolio manager of $6 billion in institutional client assets. She also worked at Scudder Kemper Investments as managing director/head of international institutional investments and lead portfolio manager for $10 billion in client assets. She is a chartered financial analyst.

Spalding earned a master of forestry from F&ES. She has served on several boards, including the National Wildlife Federation, where she is eastern vice chair; Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation, where she chairs the investment committee; Connecticut Forest & Park Association; Guilford Land Conservation Trust; and International Center in New York. She is also a trustee of the National Wildlife Federation endowment. She is teaching “Forest and Ecosystem Finance.”

“With the development of ecosystem services markets, it is important to understand the financial implications of land-management decisions,” says Spalding. “As more conservation organizations seek capital from private sources to fund their restoration efforts, projects will increasingly need to demonstrate both ecological and financial credibility.”

Khalil has been on the faculty at the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science since 1993. He has held several engineering positions in the U.S. nuclear industry, including engineering manager of the Probabilistic Risk Assessment Department at the Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut. He was director of the Risk Assessment Department at the Specialized Technology Resources Corporation, a global consumer-products safety organization in Enfield, Connecticut. He also was a reliability and risk assessment consultant for the electric utility, chemical, consumer products safety and pharmaceutical industries.

Khalil was an MIT Fellow and taught nuclear risk assessment in MIT’s Nuclear Engineering Department. He is an invited lecturer at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. He holds several national and international (from France, Japan and China) awards for technical leadership in the risk assessment field and has been selected by the International Energy Agency to lead its committee on hydrogen storage materials reactivity and safety for on-board vehicular applications.

This fall, Khalil is teaching “Air Pollution,” “Environmental Risk Assessment” and “Chemical Engineering Process Control.”

“I’d like to share with my F&ES students the technical insights and experience I gained through my years of service in the U.S. electric utility industry as an engineering consultant and a researcher in energy-related technology development and innovation,” he says.

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