Benjamin Lee Preston

Benjamin Lee Preston
Director, Community Health and Environmental Policy Program; Senior Policy Researcher; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in environmental biology, Georgia Institute of Technology; B.S. in biology, College of William & Mary

Media Resources

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Benjamin Preston (he/his) is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and director of Community Health and Environmental Policy, a program of RAND Social and Economic Well-Being. He is also a professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is temporarily on leave from RAND to serve as the assistant director for Climate Services and Adaptation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the terms of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program.

Preston's recent research efforts include understanding the role of knowledge in climate risk management, analysis of disaster recovery options and their implementation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, scenario analysis for a low-carbon future, and the implications of COVID-19 for the delivery of infrastructure services. Previously, he held research positions with the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the CSIRO's Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. 

In 2015, he received the American Geophysical Union’s Falkenberg Award, and from 2016 to 2017 he was one of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s inaugural Leshner Leadership Fellows. Preston has contributed to national and international scientific assessments including the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth and Sixth Assessment Reports, the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s second State of the Carbon Cycle Report, and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program’s Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic. He currently serves as co-editor-in-chief for the Elsevier journal Climate Risk Management.

Preston received a B.S. in biology from the College of William & Mary and a Ph.D. in environmental biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Selected Publications

Sujithkumar Surendran Nair, Anthony W. King, Jay Gulledge, Benjamin Lee Preston, Ryan McManamay, Christopher Clark, "Economic Losses from Extreme Weather in the U.S. Gulf Coast Region," Environmental Research Letters, 2020 (forthcoming)

Zeke Baker, Julia A. Ekstrom, Kelsey D. Meagher, Benjamin Lee Preston, Louise Bedsworth, "The Social Structure of Climate Change Research and Practitioner Engagement: Evidence from California," Global Environmental Change, 63(July), 2020

E.C.H. Keskitalo and B.L. Preston, Research Handbook on Climate Change Adaptation Policy, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019

NA Cradock-Henry, B Frame, BL Preston, A Reisinger, DS Rothman, "Dynamic adaptive pathways in downscaled climate change scenarios," Climatic Change, 150(3-4), 2018

SM Absar, AM Boulay, MF Campa, BL Preston, A Taylor, "The tradeoff between water and carbon footprints of Barnett Shale gas," Journal of Cleaner Production, 197, 2018

KM Ernst, ÅG Swartling, K André, BL Preston, RJT Klein, "Identifying climate service production constraints to adaptation decision-making in Sweden," Environmental Science & Policy, 93, 2019

Alex de Sherbinin, Anamaria Bukvic, Guillaume Rohat, Melanie Gall, Brent McCusker, Benjamin Lee Preston, Alex Apotsos, Carolyn Fish, Stefan Kienberger, Park Muhonda, Olga Wilhelmi, Denis Macharia, William Shubert, Richard Sliuzas, Brian Tomaszewski, Saina, "Climate Vulnerability Mapping: A Systematic Review and Future Prospects," WIREs Climate Change, 2019

Robert J. Lempert, Benjamin Lee Preston, Jae Edmonds, Leon Clarke, Tom Wild, Matthew Binsted, Elliot Diringer, Brad Townsend, Pathways to 2050: Alternative Scenarios for Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy, C2ES (-EP-67867), 2019

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Climate One; David Nazar News; DesignSafe Radio, NHERI; KNX-AM; KPCC-FM Online; National Academies; PBS Online; Talk Media News; U.N. Climate Change Conference; WHYY News