Picture of David Ciplet
Associate Professor
Environmental Studies


  SEEC S208

Office Hours

  • Tuesdays: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Students can email Dave with "Office hours: Name" in the subject line


  • Ph.D. 2015 Brown University


David Ciplet is a sociologist focused on understanding how relationships of power and inequality in environmental governance shape efforts for a more socially just society. From the negotiating halls of the United Nations to community center meeting rooms, his research uses participatory qualitative methods to explore processes of social change in climate change and energy politics. 

He has current research projects in three areas. First, he is collaboratively studying what is needed to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring sustainable energy for all people. Second, he is investigating the conditions under which activist and advocacy campaigns have found success in efforts to persuade private and public banks to divest from fossil fuels and to adopt related human rights protections. Third, he is studying how a ‘just transition’ to a low-carbon society can be best achieved in the context of growing domestic and international inequality, the erosion of worker rights, and a warming climate. 

Ciplet is a founding member and Executive Co-Director of the CU Boulder Just Transition Collaborative, which works to ensure that transitions to sustainable energy are rooted in the leadership and needs of those most directly impacted by forms of social and environmental inequality. As part of this work, he is currently working with community partners to ensure an equitable and socially just transition to a renewable energy economy in the city and county of Boulder. He also works with his students and KGNU radio station to produce the series the Brink: Stories of Inequality, Struggle and Transformation. Ciplet is an avid trail runner, mountain biker, and backcountry skier, novice guitar player, lover of good fiction, and grateful father.

A Note to Prospective Graduate Students

Professor Ciplet is interested in advising a small number of graduate students who have professional experience working on climate justice-related issues. If you have related experience and are interested in learning more about the graduate program in Environmental Studies, please reach out to him with the subject heading "Prospective graduate student." Underrepresented students are especially encouraged to apply. 

A Note to Prospective ENVS Honors Undergraduate Students

Professor Ciplet is a sociologist who studies issues of environmental justice. Environmental justice (EJ) refers to the right to a safe and healthy environment for everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, ability, or other considerations. He advises undergraduate students using qualitative social science methods to better understand how environmental problems unequally burden some social groups, and how environmental responses can advance social justice. If you are interested in doing an honors project in this area, please reach out to him with the subject heading "Prospective honors student."