Dr. Melissa C. Lott is a Senior Research Scholar and the Senior Director of Research at the Center on Global Energy Policy, where she leads the Center’s research team. She also serves as the lead of the Canter’s Power Sector and Renewables Research Initiative and serves as the Acting Director of the Center’s Carbontech Development Initiative and Energy Opportunity Lab. Dr. Lott is also an Adjunct Professor in Columbia University’s Climate School, where she teaches the graduate level course “Climate Change Mitigation”.
Dr. Lott has worked as an engineer and advisor for nearly 20 years in the United States, Europe, and Asia. While her work has spanned the entire energy system, Dr. Lott is internationally recognized for her work in the electricity and transportation sectors. In 2022, she was selected to serve on the United Nations Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET), which will serve as an independent advisory council to the UN Secretary-General. Dr. Lott is also a current member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Economics of Equitable Transition
Dr. Lott specializes in technology and policy research, working to increase our understanding of the impacts of our energy systems on air pollution and public health. She directly applies this understanding to help decision-makers mobilize technology and policy solutions to support the transition to net-zero energy systems. She has authored more than 350 scientific articles, columns, op-eds, journal publications, and reports. Dr. Lott was previously a founding author on Scientific American’s Plugged In. An active public speaker, she has been featured in interviews with international news organizations including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, PBS Newshour, PBS NOVA, the BBC World Service, BBC Singapore, The Guardian, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, Bloomberg, Axios, ABC News PM in Australia, and Scientific American magazine’s French edition. She was recently featured in the PBS documentary “Chasing Carbon Zero,” which discusses the net-zero energy transition in the United States. She was also named the 2023 recipient of the AGU Pavel S. Molchanov Climate Communications Prize.
Prior to joining the Center on Global Energy Policy, Dr. Lott served as the Assistant Vice President of the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre (APERC), where she led the development of the flagship APEC Energy Demand and Supply Outlook. Dr. Lott has also held roles at the International Energy Agency, where she served as the primary author of the IEA’s technology roadmap on energy storage. In 2011, Dr. Lott was selected as a U.S. Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). She went on to work as the Lead of Energy Modeling and Simulation for the Program Analysis and Evaluation Office at the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Lott has also served as an advisory board member for Alstom and GE and contributed as an expert advisor for government organizations including the London Sustainable Development Commission under Mayor Boris Johnson. Throughout her career, Dr. Lott has worked as a Principal Engineer at YarCom Inc., providing her clients with a practical engineering understanding of the relationships between our energy sources, our energy uses, and the impacts of our choices on the environment. Dr. Lott has been featured as a Solar 100 Thought Leader, an IEEE Women in Power, and a Forbes 30 under 30 in Energy as recognition for her research and contributions to global energy sector dialogues.
Dr. Lott holds degrees from the University of California, Davis (Bachelor of Science – Engineering), the University of Texas at Austin (Master of Science – Engineering and Master of Public Affairs), and University College London (Ph.D. in Sustainable Energy Resources and Engineering). While in university, Dr. Lott completed internships at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On June 1, 2023, Dr. Melissa Lott, Director of Research and Senior Research Scholar, testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on electric reliability in the United States.
There is a strong and growing consensus that a simultaneously growing and decarbonizing electricity sector is necessary to meet declining greenhouse gas emissions targets.
The Paris Agreement included two particularly crucial innovations for supporting greenhouse gas emissions reductions: a voluntary, bottom-up nationally determined contribution (NDC) and a ratchet mechanism.
Corporate pledges to purchase renewable electricity have led to significant new solar and wind capacity investments and driven down the carbon intensity of the power sector in the United States.