Benjamin Lee Preston

Benjamin Lee Preston
Director, Community Health and Environmental Policy Program; Senior Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


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/him) is a senior policy researcher at RAND 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. Preston's recent research efforts include advancing understanding of the implications of climate change and disasters on the delivery of infrastructure services, analyzing and communicating the environmental justice dimensions of climate change, scenario analysis for low-carbon technology pathways, and analysis of disaster recovery options and their implementation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

From 2021 to 2023 Preston took a leave of absence from RAND to serve as the assistant director for Climate Services and Adaptation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 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.

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


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

Lempert, Robert J., Benjamin Lee Preston, Jae Edmonds, Leon Clarke, Tom Wild, Matthew Binsted, Elliot Diringer, and Brad Townsend, Pathways to 2050: Alternative Scenarios for Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (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