Karen O'Brien

Image of Karen O'Brien
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Phone +47 22858480
Mobile phone +47 90063814
Room 339
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Visiting address Moltke Moes vei 31 Harriet Holters hus 0851 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1096 Blindern 0317 OSLO

Academic Interests

Karen O'Brien is an internationally recognized expert on climate change and society, focusing on themes such as climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation including how climate change interacts with globalization processes and the implications for human security. She is interested in how transdisciplinary and integral approaches to global change research can contribute to a better understanding of how societies both create and respond to change, and particularly the role of beliefs, values and worldview in transformations to sustainability. She is passionate about what potential there is in quantum social theory and the implications for climate change responses. She currently leads a Norwegian Research Council Topforsk project called AdaptationCONNECTS (Adaptation: Combining Old and New kNowledge to Enable Conscious Transformation to Sustainability), that aims towards developing new understandings of whether and how transformations can contribute to successful adaptation to climate change. She has been heavily involved in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Global Change Programmes and the transition to Future Earth, a 10-year global change research initiative. She is the co-founder and partner in cCHANGE, an Oslo-based company.  cCHANGE is a beacon for individuals and organizations seeking a new perspective, inspiration, knowledge, and tools on climate change and sustainability transformations.

Background

  • B.A. in International Relations at the College of William and Mary, 1985
  • M.S. in Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990
  • Ph.D. in Geography at the Pennsylvania State University, 1995
  • Post-doc at the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), 1996
  • Senior Research Fellow at CICERO, 1997-2005
  • 20% position in the Department of Human Geography, 2001
  • Professor in Human Geography, 2005

Awards

  • 2020 Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa at Linköpings University (to be awarded in May 2021), Sweden
  • 2019 Award for Excellence in Research, Human Dimensions of Global Change Speciality Group, American Association of Geographers (AAG).
  • 2015 University of Oslo Student Parliament's Teaching Award
  • 2011 Burtoni Prize for Adaptation Research
  • 2008 AAG Meridian Book Award (with Robin Leichenko) for ”Environmental Change and Globalization: Double Exposures
  • Shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awared to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Positions Held

  • 2020 - Member of Scoping Group for IPBES Assessment Report on Transformative Change.
  • 2017 – 2019   Science Committee, Transformations 2018, Santiago, Chile. 
  • 2017 – 2019   Scientific Committee, Nordic Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, Norrköping 2018, Sweden.  
  • 2016 – 2017    Science Committee, Transformations 2017: Transformations in Practice Conference, Dundee 2017.
  • 2014 – 2015    Science Committee, Our Common Future in a Changing Climate Conference, Paris 2015.
  • 2013 – 2015    Member of Science Committee, Future Earth.
  • 2012 – 2014    Transdisciplinary Advisory Board member, EU Joint Programming Initiative –Climate Change.
  • 2012 – 2014    Core Writing Team Member for the Synthesis Report (SYR), IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, and Topic 3 Co-Facilitator
  • 2012 – 2014    Author, Summary for Policy Makers, IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group II.
  • 2009 – 2014    Lead Author, IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group II, Chapter 20.
  • 2012 – 2014    Board Member, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo.
  • 2011 -- 2013    Chair of Working Group "Towards a Revolution in Education and Capacity Building" for ESF-COST Forward Look RESCUE Project
  • 2011– 2013     Member, Transition Team, 10-year Initiative on Earth System Science for Global Sustainability. Co-Chair of Working Group on “Research Vision”.
  • 2009 – 2012    Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 8 of the IPCC SREX report
Tags: Human geography, Environment, Climate change, Transformation, Social Change
Published Oct. 11, 2010 2:03 PM - Last modified Aug. 20, 2020 10:42 PM