Rick Piltz – Founder
Rick Piltz, the founder and first director of Climate Science Watch (CSW), sadly passed away on October 18, 2014 (See In Memoriam: Rick Piltz, Climate Science Champion and Bush-Era Whistleblower, R.I.P. Rick Piltz, and Remembering Rick Piltz). As he wished, CSW will continue to serve its established watchdog role, relying on the resources of those dedicated to speaking the truth to power about climate change science and policy.
Rick tirelessly worked as an educator, writer, and policy analyst and advocate from the 1970’s to 2014, in federal and state government, academia, and nonprofit organizations. During his more than 20 years in Washington, his primary focus was on the collision of climate science with the reality of climate politics and policy.
From 1995-2005, he held senior positions in the Coordination Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. In the spring of 2005, Rick resigned from his position to protest the George W. Bush Administration’s political interference with climate change communication. His whistleblower documentation of politically motivated White House editing and censorship of climate science program reports intended for the public and Congress received front-page coverage in The New York Times, and was widely reported in the media. Rick testified before both the House of Representatives and the Senate at hearings on political interference with federal climate scientists. Rick then spent the last nine years leading GAP’s Climate Science Watch program and challenging what he called the oil and coal industries’ “denialist machine,” the slow pace of government action on climate change, and the need to view climate change policy through the prism of national preparedness. For those revelations, he won the 2006 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling.
For more on Rick’s media appearances following his disclosure, his many appearances as a commentator, and his publications, please click here. As he wished, Climate Science Watch will continue to serve its established watchdog role in accordance with the expanded vision Rick set forth to GAP before he passed away. Now renamed Climate Science & Policy Watch (CSPW), Rick’s legacy continues on at GAP, relying on the knowledge and passion of a team of expert contributors who were close to Rick and CSW and are dedicated to speaking the truth to power about climate change science and policy.
Rick Piltz’s expanded CSPW vision is currently under the leadership of Climate Science & Policy Watch Director Michael Termini. Michael is leading the efforts of a team of approximately 10 expert contributors to advance the goals of CSPW, the majority of whom were actively involved in some capacity with the CSW website and initiatives since the program began in 2005. Michael worked closely with Rick at GAP for almost eight years in the strategic development and implementation of CSW as Deputy Director of GAP’s Development and Corporate Accountability programs. As such, he is intimately aware of Rick’s vision for CSPW, which Rick had set forth in detail to Michael and GAP President Louis Clark, the strategic needs of the program, how to execute them, and had Rick’s blessing to do so before he passed. Prior to joining GAP in 2007, Michael worked at New York-based non-profit Citizens Campaign for the Environment, which combated pressing issues in the region, such as the prevention of the dumping of toxic materials into the Long Island Sound and fighting the development of a corporate initiative risking waste and significant threats to the environment known as Broadwater – a first-of-its-kind liquefied natural gas facility proposed by Shell Oil and TransCanada. Termini also explored international environmental issues such as climate change, cap-and-trade and the Kyoto Protocol at the United Nations while working in the Global Policy Department of the United Nations Association of the USA.
Michael graduated summa cum laude from Kent Law School at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, with a dual LL.M. Master of Laws degree in International Law and International Relations, and magna cum laude from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Michael has been presented numerous awards, including a town board commendation for his civil rights victory defending worker rights in Woodstock, NY; the Spirit Award for his work in support of the rights to dignity and to life in the medical sector at Vassar Brothers Medical Center; and the Achievement Prize by the Chair of the Board of Examiners of Kent Law School for the achievement of Kent’s highest scholastic honor. Michael also authored Exceptionalism and the George W. Bush Presidency: A New Extreme Taken at the Expense of the International Rule of Law (VDM Verlag Publishing, 2009), available at amazon.com.
Anne has 30 years of experience in public policies relating to energy and the environment, with a strong focus on climate change and renewable energy. She has served as an independent consultant and held management positions in private industry, not-for-profit organizations, and the US Congress. For much of the 1990s Anne directed the Policy and Governmental Affairs arm of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) where she advocated and supported federal and state energy policies favorable to renewable energy. Before moving to SEIA she staffed the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology where she facilitated development and passage into law of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, the Oil Pollution Act, and amendments to the Clean Air Act. Polansky Consulting, established in 1998, has provided a variety of services to clients including the Organization for Tropical Studies, the International Energy Administration, the Rocky Mountain Institute, Environ International Corporation, the Renewable Energy Policy Project, and the Center for Resource Solutions. Anne now owns and operates a home-based bed-and-breakfast open year-round in Takoma Park, Maryland with her son Kyle, and works part-time for The Voice, Takoma Park’s local online news source. She holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Chemistry from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from Vanderbilt University.
Anne met Rick Piltz in 1991 when he worked at the House Science Committee. Rick took over for Anne on covering climate issues and staffed several oversight hearings of the US Global Change Research Program, the entity created by the GCRA. Their overlap in the House was short but they stayed in touch. A few months after Rick blew the whistle, Anne offered to help Climate Science Watch get off the ground and was soon brought on full-time. From 2006-2009 Anne contributed over one hundred CSW blog posts offering unique perspectives on a wide variety of topics, and teamed with Rick to design and develop the elements of a National Climate Change Preparedness Initiative (NCCPI) – recognizing the urgent need for US and State leaders to recognize and prepare for the full array of climate change impacts, both predicted and occurring, in every sector of our economy and in every region of the country. After Anne left CSW, Rick continued the effort of getting “climate preparedness” on the radar of the US Congress and the White House. We believe that President Obama’s 2013 Executive Order creating a White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, and the incorporation of climate preparedness language into the President’s Climate Action Plan, was at least partly inspired by this important work.
Alexa was first exposed to the field of climate science and policy as a research associate with Climate Science Watch, guided by Rick’s expertise. While working with Rick at CSW, she tracked domestic climate politics and policy, researched and developed adaptation policy proposals, related web articles, and other communications, and co-developed the web infrastructure for CSW’s social media presence. She went on to support strategic research planning at the USGCRP, and later supported research and communications with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security. She holds a master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University, focused on science-based approaches to managing the risks of climate variability and change.
Rebeka is a lover of books and wilderness, is passionate about many social and environmental issues, and is Creative Director at Field Innovation Team (FIT) – a disaster preparedness and response organization. At FIT, Rebeka leads projects, plans behind-the-scenes programming in and out of field deployments, and explores ways to infuse FIT with new ideas, collaborations, and projects that further the organizational mission of using innovation to address the needs of disaster-stricken communities and build resilience to future crises. Rebeka is expanding FIT’s work building resilience before disasters and building back better after disasters to include more environmental stewardship and climate change adaptation considerations. Rebeka also provides creative content creation including photography, filmmaking, graphic facilitation, and design.
Understanding and addressing climate change-related disasters and crises is a long-time passion of Rebeka’s and was the focus of her master’s degree from Yale University. Prior to studying at Yale, Rebeka worked in environmental policy for Berlin-based Ecologic Institute in Washington, DC, where she learned about energy policy and projects that revitalize aging urban infrastructure in places like Detroit and Pittsburgh. Before her time at Ecologic, while an undergraduate at the University of British Columbia, Rebeka interned with Rick at CSW during the summer of 2010 and continued to work on several projects with him throughout the following year. At CSW, Rebeka helped revamp the CSW website, initiated a climate science video interview project, and wrote blog posts on various climate science and policy developments around The Hill, within the climate science community, and in Canada.
CSPW contributor Adam Arnold studied law at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), where he first worked with the Government Accountability Project in the school’s clinical program. He embraced GAP’s mission, and interned for a summer with GAP Legal Director Tom Devine. After graduating from UDC in 2014, Adam was admitted to the Maryland Bar. He completed his LL.M. in International Environmental Law and International Organizations at American University in the spring of 2015.
Previously, Adam worked as a journalist, a freelance proofreader, and a tour guide in Berlin, Germany. Travel, music, art, and fiction writing continue to occupy large swaths of space in his life. Adam lives in Washington DC with his wife, Carla, and two cats. A new addition will be arriving this fall in the form of a baby girl.