Dr. Ilissa Ocko is an applied climate scientist passionate about identifying and facilitating the most effective and pragmatic solutions to the current climate crisis. Her research explores the impacts of human-emitted climate pollutants and their mitigation on climate change both during our lifetimes and for generations to come. Dr. Ocko works closely with policy and business experts, economists, lawyers, and other scientists to translate the best available climate science into actionable strategies to curb climate change particularly in the coming decades. She is extremely passionate about communicating climate change science to non-experts using plain language, powerful visuals, and storytelling, and an avid creator of her own graphics and animations.
Dr. Ilissa Ocko leads Environmental Defense Fund’s climate science team. She earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from Princeton University, and a B.S.E. in Earth System Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. Dr. Ocko also holds a certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. As an undergraduate she was a weather anchor on the university’s television network, and as a graduate student she began freelancing as a science graphic designer for organizations and universities. In 2016, Dr. Ocko won a U.S. science communications contest hosted by NASA, and went on to represent the U.S. in the international contest, advancing to the finals. In 2021, Dr. Ocko gave a TED talk on the fastest way to slow climate change, which now has over 2 million views.