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30 October 2015 12:06

Carbon Briefly: Katharine Hayhoe

Carbon Brief Staff

30.10.2015 | 12:06pm
InterviewsCarbon Briefly: Katharine Hayhoe

People working on climate or energy give Carbon Brief a sense of their lives beyond the nine-to-five…

Katharine Hayhoe is an associate professor in the department of political science and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, part of the US Department of Interior’s South-Central Climate Science Center. Together with her husband Andrew Farley, a professor of applied linguistics, she wrote A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions.

Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe. Credit:


Most people — given how much I talk about climate change and faith — would probably guess my favourite book is either the IPCC reports or the Bible, or maybe both. But, no, my favourite book right now is a book I have not read yet: the conclusion to Patrick Rothfuss’ masterful “The Name of the Wind” trilogy which he has not published. Pat, get your rear in gear! I am coming to Madison to speak in November and I am going to CAMP ON YOUR PORCH until you give me a copy of your draft.


Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. I grew up spending my summers at the cottage on the same bay where my great-grandparents first honeymooned in nineteen oh something. There’s nowhere else like it in the world. I can’t survive a year without returning to Muskoka.


I love the Bridget Jones series, books and movies both. They take such an honest, unvarnished, and redeeming look at what it’s like to be a woman, a professional, and a mom in today’s world.


Anything outdoors that involves water in liquid or solid form: sailing, skiing, wake surfing, paddle boarding, canoeing, snowshoeing, you name it. Many people don’t realise that living in Texas, right beside New Mexico, means there’s only about two weeks of down time between when I can switch out my ski pants for my bathing suit, and vice versa. And if I use a wetsuit, they overlap!


My iTunes playlist has everything from the Barenaked Ladies to Bach, but if I had to pick just one artist to take to a desert island, it would be U2. They are timeless.


My Grandma Anne’s pies! Blueberry, apple, pumpkin, raisin… She has prevented the entire family from ever enjoying any other type of pie, anywhere. In retrospect, it’s really kind of cruel.


Between my husband watching the Carbonaro Effect and my son watching Wild Kratts, I don’t get to control the TV very much in my house. There is just one show I put my foot down for: So You Think You Can Dance. The most I ever did was a few years of swing dancing, but it was enough to show me how incredibly talented these kids are, how hard they try, and how amazing their results are.

Role model

Jane Goodall. Growing up, we didn’t have a TV. (Both of my parents are educators, and they read a book back in the 1970s that said TV stunted children’s brain development.) So every Friday night, my mom would go to the library and rent a giant old projector and films — real films, in huge round tin cans — and we’d watch Errol Flynn, Charlie Chaplin, and Jane and her chimpanzees. Her passion for science — and her example of being a young woman doing it — left an impression on me that still inspires me today.


A real feather pillow. And until I got married (and needed a bigger bed), I also couldn’t do without the down duvet my great-grandmother made from the geese in her backyard.


My laptop. It’s my third arm and my security blanket. When it’s not there, I find myself looking around a bit wildly, trying to figure out what’s missing.

Main image: An alpine skier on ascent to top of a mountain, Austrian Alps, Riffelsee Pitztal. Credit: Pawel Kazmierczak/
Sharelines from this story
  • Katharine Hayhoe on Bridget Jones, water sports, the Barenaked Ladies and Grandma Anne’s pies... #CarbonBriefly
  • Katharine Hayhoe gives us a sense of her life beyond the nine-to-five... #CarbonBriefly

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