April 2, 2009
Vol. 28 No. 13

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    Earth scientist Martin joins other experts in global warming fight

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Pamela Martin

    Earth scientist Pamela Martin will consult on climate and environmental issues leading to the development of legal strategies and policies as an advisory board member of the Center for Biological Diversity’s newly formed Climate Law Institute. She will join experts in law and advocacy on the advisory board.

    The formation of the institute is part of a $17 million effort that the Tucson, Ariz.-based center has launched to fight global warming over the next five years.

    “Global warming is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the center.

    “To meet the challenge, the Center for Biological Diversity has created the Climate Law Institute to extend the reach of current environmental and human health laws to encompass global warming, pass new climate legislation, and reinvent America’s approach to protecting endangered species and public lands,” Suckling said.

    The Center for Biological Diversity has been a leader in addressing climate-related impacts on biodiversity, with efforts such as successfully seeking protection for the polar bear based on threats from global warming, and successfully challenging new national fuel standards. The Climate Law Center will expand this effort.

    An Assistant Professor in Geophysical Sciences and the College, Martin teaches courses related to the carbon cycle, climate change and food production and the environment. Her research focuses broadly on reconstructing changes in ocean temperature, chemistry and circulation to understand oceanic controls on climate change.

    Martin heads a research group on paleoclimate reconstruction and an internship project centered on small-scale, sustainable agriculture. She is interested in links between ocean cycles, atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate change on time scales ranging from that of a human lifetime to hundreds of thousands of years. Her research techniques include measuring the chemical composition of fossils and investigating variations in biogeochemical cycles.

    In 2006, Martin co-authored a study showing how the food that people eat is just as important as what kind of cars they drive when it comes to creating the greenhouse gas emissions that many scientists have linked to global warming.

    This study has led Martin to additional work on food production and the environment, including a field study begun this year to assess the energy efficiency and greenhouse gases associated with food from small-scale, diversified farms.