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Canadian climate scientist is new President of the International Council for Science

Professor Gordon McBean, an internationally recognized meteorologist and climate change expert, today became the new President of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
Canadian climate scientist is new President of the International Council for Science

Prof. Gordon McBean during his inaugural address. Photo: Brendon O'Hagan/ICSU

Auckland, New Zealand (Sept 3) – At the conclusion of the organization's 31st General Assembly in Auckland, McBean today assumed the presidency, to which he had been elected by representatives from ICSU's 120 National Members and 31 International Scientific Union Members at the previous General Assembly in

Rome, Italy in 2011. An established member of the ICSU community, McBean succeeds the previous ICSU President, Yuan Tseh Lee, and is the second Canadian to take up this office.

Professor McBean was born and educated in Canada, and obtained a PhD in physics from the University of British Colombia (UBC), Vancouver. After an academic and research career that included serving as Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanographic Sciences at UBC, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister in Environment Canada, and was, from 1994 to 2000, responsible for climate, weather and air quality sciences and services in the federal government. He currently holds professorships in the Departments of Geography, Political Science and Physics at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada, and is Director of Policy Studies at the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and Co-Director of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability there.

For many years McBean has been involved in ICSU and ICSU-related affairs, including the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the planning of a new decade-long interdisciplinary research programme Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR), whose Scientific Committee he chaired until 1 November 2011.

As a member of the Future Earth Transition Team, he played a key role in defining the research initiative's organizational design and objectives. He is also President of Global Change START International, an organization which supports regional networks and capacity enhancement in Africa and Asia, and notably in the context of ICSU’s international global change programmes. He is chair of the International Advisory Board, IRDR International Centre of Excellence, China: Taipei; the Ontario Climate Consortium and member of several other international and national committees.

His service and achievements in the fields of climate change and natural hazards research have been recognized with the Orders of Canada (2008) and Ontario (2010). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. As a lead author and review editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he was a member of the team that was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

In his inaugural address, McBean said that he was "very proud of the role the Council has played, and will continue to play, in planning, coordinating and 'making happen' global scale research for the benefits for all societies."

He emphasized that the Council "will continue to provide societies and governments with policy relevant science that can and should form the basis policy making."

"I am very proud to be your new President and look forward to working with you now and in the future," he concluded.


The International Council for Science (ICSU) is a non-governmental organisation with a global membership of national scientific bodies (121 Members, representing 141 countries) and International Scientific Unions (31 Members). It mobilizes the knowledge and resources of the international scientific community to strengthen international science for the benefit of society.



Denise Young, Head of Communications, International Council for Science – denise.young@icsu.org

Johannes Mengel, Communications Officer, International Council for Science – johannes.mengel@icsu.org

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