The Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research has appointed Aarti Gupta as Personal Professor of Global Environmental Governance with the Environmental Policy Group. The appointment is as of 1 February 2020.
Aarti Gupta (Hyderadad, India, 1967) studied Political Science and Economics at Brandeis University in the USA, followed by a Master in political science at the University of Chicago. She got her PhD at Yale University, Department of Forestry and Environmental Studies, in 2001. After completing multi-year research fellowships at Harvard and Columbia Universities, she joined the Environmental Policy Group in Wageningen in 2006, at first as an Assistant Professor, and from 2013 as an Associate Professor.
Fascinated by international diplomacy
With her father in the Indian Foreign Service, Aarti grew up observing the workings of international diplomacy up close. She first became interested in global environmental issues in the nineties, when the ‘environment’ was just gaining prominence as a topic on the international political agenda, with the legendary Rio Earth Summit of 1992. Aarti became quickly fascinated by the complex political challenges posed by transboundary environmental problems, such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
While working at the United Nations in New York, she gained valuable experience with international environmental diplomacy in practice. Her time there was eye-opening. As she says: ‘I knew I had found my professional focus, but I also realized that if I did not leave the UN soon to pursue a PhD, I might never leave.’
Researching complex political challenges
For her PhD at Yale, and subsequently, at Harvard University, Aarti developed a more specific interest in the role of scientific expertise in international environmental governance, including the role of science in governing emerging technologies.
Since coming to Wageningen, she has continued and further expanded this focus. At the Environmental Policy Group, she coordinates the research theme ‘Governing Climate Futures’. In this area, she has been awarded an NWO grant to analyse, together with a team of PhDs and postdocs, the transformative potential of transparency in climate governance (TRANSGOV), a key element in ensuring the effective implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. She also studies governance options for controversial new climate engineering technologies and their potential future role in addressing the climate crisis.
Governing the future
Over the next years, she will continue to tackle how to develop effective international policy responses today, to realise uncertain environmental futures tomorrow. For her, one key question going forward is: Do we have the institutional arrangements in place for effective future-oriented global environmental governance?
Her vision and ambition are to work collaboratively on these topics with her multiple networks of colleagues within WUR, Europe, and internationally. In Wageningen, Aarti will continue to bring an international perspective also to her teaching, for which she has received several Excellence in Education awards over the last years.