Andrew Dessler

Global Environmental Change



Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

Chair, Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences (W) section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS; 2012-2014); member, NASA Earth Science Advisory Committee (2014-present).


Council members play critical roles as communication conduits among AGU members and leaders. How will you engage with members of your section to advance AGU’s new strategic plan? How might you facilitate engagement with other sections and people outside AGU to support our mission?

AGU is in a position to play a critical role in helping advance the worldwide scientific endeavor. There are really two parts to this: (1) helping the scientific community generate knowledge that helps society and (2) helping make the scientific community an equitable and fair environment for everyone to work in. One of the things that most motivated me to run for this position is the ability to advocate for something I consider very important — moving more scientific interactions to online venues. For scientists, travel is one of the perks of the job, but most of us also recognize the enormous carbon footprint that’s associated with it. While we cannot and should not eliminate in-person scientific meetings, the scientific community should be seen taking the climate problem seriously, and one way to do this is to cut down on in-person meetings. In addition, travel represents one of the points of inequity in science. Some people are able to travel a lot, while other people cannot, whether for financial or personal reasons (i.e., inability to arrange childcare). This can have an enormous impact on careers. It is therefore imperative for AGU to lead development of ways to communicate besides having in-person meetings. The first step will be the 2020 AGU meeting, which will be online, and I’ll advocate for taking lessons learned from that in order to make an online option for the Fall Meeting permanent.

Section affiliations:

Atmospheric Sciences; Global Environmental Change