Lisa Dilling
Associate Chief Scientist at EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) • Professor of Environmental Studies (through 2023) • Fellow of CIRES (2008-2023)
Affiliate of Environmental Studies and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences


  • Ph.D. University of California-Santa Barbara
  • B.A. Harvard College

Research Interests

  • Accelerating the energy transition
  • Climate adaptation strategies
  • Policy analysis and tradeoffs
  • How decision maker values and perception affect policy choices


In 2023 Lisa Dilling started as Associate Chief Scientist at EDF (Environmental Defense Fund). Prior to EDF, Lisa was at the University of Colorado Boulder for 19 years, as a Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and Director of the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado Boulder. She also held past positions at NCAR and NOAA’s Office of Global Programs. Her research focuses on understanding how to build climate resilience and accelerate the transition to carbon-free energy. She uses interdisciplinary, empirical methods to study the tradeoffs involved in implementing new policies at the local and regional scale and understanding how science can best support robust decision making in deeply uncertain contexts.  Topics of research include energy, climate adaptation, drought and urban water management, policy for usable science, climate change and public lands, carbon management, geoengineering, and municipal policies regarding natural hazards. She has served on numerous national and research advisory boards, including three journal editorial boards, was a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford in 2016-2017 and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Board on Environmental Change and Society. While at CU, she taught classes on climate and energy policy, science and technology policy, resilience analysis, usable science, research methods, and introductory environmental studies.

**Please Note: Dr. Dilling is now working at EDF and is no longer a professor at the University of Colorado and thus is not able to advise or accept applications for new graduate students in Environmental Studies.