Katharine Hayhoe at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2018
Katharine Hayhoe speaks on stage for the Centennial plenary at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2018. Credit: Event Photography of North America Corporation for AGU
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On 16 September 2019, Katharine Hayhoe, a dedicated AGU member and winner of AGU’s 2014 Climate Communication Prize, was named a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Hayhoe received this award, the highest environmental distinction bestowed by the U.N., for “her stalwart commitment to quantifying the effects of climate change and her tireless efforts to transform public attitudes.”

Hayhoe joined AGU in 2011 and has gone on to serve many of its programs. She served as deputy chair of the Technical Committee on Hydrologic Uncertainty from 2014 to 2015 and currently serves on AGU’s Climate Communication Prize Selection Committee. She has been active in AGU’s Sharing Science program and has supported members of the Voices for Science initiative.

A professor in Texas Tech University’s Department of Political Science, Hayhoe also directs the university’s Climate Science Center and teaches in the public health program of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. According to Hayhoe’s biography, her primary work “focuses on establishing a scientific basis for assessing the regional to local-scale impacts of climate change on human systems and the natural environment.” She was also the lead author for the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Second, Third, and Fourth National Climate Assessments.

“For years, Katharine has been on the leading edge of the causes and mechanisms contributing to global climate change.”

The Champion of the Earth award recognizes those whose actions have had a transformational impact on the environment. Hayhoe was honored in the science and innovation category and is among five winners this year. Other categories include policy leadership, inspiration and action, and entrepreneurial vision.

Hayhoe also works to bridge the gap between the faith and scientific communities. She coauthored the book A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, which seeks to dispel science myths about climate change, explore how faith can play a role in shaping opinions, and encourage positive actions around this global issue.

“For years, Katharine has been on the leading edge of the causes and mechanisms contributing to global climate change,” said Chris McEntee, AGU’s executive director and CEO. “At the same time, she has also been an unwavering voice helping communicate this science—and the subsequent consequences of inaction—to audiences from a diversity of backgrounds. On behalf of AGU’s community of 60,000-plus members, we congratulate her for receiving this highest of accolades.”

Hayhoe will be honored at a gala ceremony in New York City on 26 September 2019 during the 74th U.N. General Assembly.

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.


(2019), Katharine Hayhoe named United Nations’ Champion of the Earth, Eos, 100, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019EO133755. Published on 18 September 2019.

Text © 2019. AGU. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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