Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2005
211- D Sondheim Hall
Human Dimensions of Global Change, Urban Geography, Environmental and Social Justice
Recent Research Activities
In the broadest possible terms, my research focuses on the human dimensions of global change, primarily global climate change. I am interested in both the causes and consequences of global environmental change, and have active research in both areas. My recently completed dissertation focused on greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in urban places. As part of this work, I developed a traffic assignment model using census data to estimate the energy consumed by commuters, grouped by both workplace and place of residence. The results have implications for environmental and social justice, due to the increased energy consumption caused by the politics of separation and segregation in Philadelphia, my study site.
I also have just recently completed a 3-year appointment as a research associate on the HERO project, where my research focused on the vulnerability of people and places to the impacts of climate variation and change. I am in the process of completing publications on this research, and am also leading two book chapters on mixed-methods approaches to understanding vulnerability.
Plans for work in the near future include extending my work on energy consumption to multiple urban places in North America and advancing the methodologies used in the vulnerability literature through a number of ongoing collaborations.
Yarnal, B. and R. Neff. “Teaching Global Change in Local Places: the HERO Research Experiences for Undergraduates program” Journal of Geography in Higher Education
Rose, A. R. Neff, B. Yarnal, and H. Greenberg. “A Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for Pennsylvania” Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association
2004 Yarnal, B. and R. Neff. “Whither Parity? The need for a
Comprehensive Curriculum in Human-Environment Geography.” The Professional Geographer 56(1):28-36
2000 Neff, R., H. J. Chang, C. G. Knight, R. G. Najjar, B. Yarnal and H. A. Walker. “Impact of climate variation and change on Mid-Atlantic Region hydrology and water resources.” Climate Research 14(3): 207-218.
2000 Fisher, A., R. Neff, and E. J. Baron. “The Mid-Atlantic Regional Assessment: motivation and approach.” Climate Research 14(3): 153-159.
1999 O’Connor, R. E., B. Yarnal, R. Neff, R. Bord, N. Wiefek, C. Reenock, R. Shudak, C. L. Jocoy, P. Pascale and C. G. Knight. “Weather and climate extremes, climate change, and planning – Views of community water system managers in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River Basin.” Journal of the American Water Resources Association 35(6): 1411-1419.
1999 Yarnal, B., R. Neff (Presenter), R. O’Connor, R. Bord, A. Fisher, C. Reenock, R. Shudak, C. G. Knight and P. Pascale. “The Response of Community Water Systems Managers to Climate Variation and Change: A Pennsylvania Case Study” Proceedings of Specialty Conference on Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change to Water Resources of the United States, American Water Resources Association: 27-30.)
2004 Yarnal, B. and R. Neff. Primary Sources of Greenhouse Gases: A Cross-Scale Comparison. Penn State Environmental Law Review 12(1): 173-179
2003 Polsky, C., D. Schröter, A. Patt, S. Gaffin, M. L. Martello, R. Neff, A. Pulsipher, H. Selin. Assessing Vulnerabilities to the Effects of Global Change: An Eight-Step Approach. Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, Harvard University: Cambridge, MA
2003 Rose, A., B. Yarnal, R. Neff, H. Greenberg with M. Kharbach and C. Peng, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for Pennsylvania Phase I Report. Prepared for Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Harrisburg, PA
2005 Neff, Robert J. (presenter), Cynthia Sorrensen, Andrew Comrie, and Brent Yarnal. “Grounded Assessment: Using grounded theory and a critical perspective in vulnerability assessments; theory and practice.” presented at the 101st Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Denver, CO. April 5-9
2004 Neff, Robert J. “Urban Development, Transportation, and Greenhouse Gases: A place-based approach for understanding greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation in urban areas” presented at “International Conference on the Urban Dimensions of Environmental Change: Science, Exposures, Policies and Technologies” Shanghai, China. May 25-28
2004 Neff, Robert J. “Greenhouse Gases, Transportation and Urban Development: Linkages between climate justice and social justice in the locality of Philadelphia, PA” presented at “Just Climate? Pursuing Environmental Justice in the Face of Global Climate Change”, Ann Arbor, MI, March 26-28
2004 Neff, Robert J. (presenter), Cynthia Sorrenesen, Andrew Comrie, Lisa M.B. Harrington, Anna Versluis, Max Lu, Colin Polsky, Brent Yarnal. “Vulnerability to Drought at Different Places and Scales: A Cross-Site Comparison,” presented at the 100th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Philadelphia, PA March 14-19
2003 Neff, Robert J. “Greenhouse Gases, Transportation and Urban Development: A placed-based approach for under-standing and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions”, presented at the Open Meeting of the Global Environmental Change Research Community, Montreal, Canada, October 16-18
2003 Neff, Robert J. (presenter), Cynthia Sorrensen, Ke Chen, Lisa M. B. Harrington, “Localizing global environmental change: a protocol for evaluating human-environment interactions through the lens of place vulnerability to climate change”, presented at the 99th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New Orleans, LA, March 5-8
2003 Neff, Robert J. Invited panelist in session titled “Human Dimensions Ten Years Hence: Geographic Challenges for the Next Generation” at the 99th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New Orleans, LA, March 5-8
2003 Neff, Robert J. Panelist in session titled “ The HERO Project Part II: Human-Environment Regional Observatories” at the 99th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New Orleans, LA, March 5-8
2002 Neff, Robert J., “Greenhouse Gas Inventorying and Mitigation at Penn State University”, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 5th State and Local Climate Change Partners’ Conference, Annapolis, MD, November 20-22
2002 Neff, Robert J., Panelist in session titled “Emissions reductions, offsets, and climate neutral initiatives”, Meeting of Northeast Campuses for Climate Action, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, September 20-22
2001 Neff, Robert J., “Greenhouse Gasses, Transportation, and the Poststructural Approach: A Case Study of the Commute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania”, presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New York City, NY, February 27 – March 3
1999 Neff, Robert J., “Assessing Climate Impacts on Water Resources in the Mid-Atlantic Region”, presented at the 95th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Honolulu, Hawaii, March 23-27
1999 Shudak, Robin (presenter), Brent Yarnal, Andrea Denny, Steve Lachman, Robert J. Neff, Colin Polsky, and Becky Reifenstahl, “Drivers and Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Central Pennsylvania”, presented at the 95th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers,
Honolulu, Hawaii, March 23-27
1999 Yarnal, Brent (presenter), Robert J. Neff, Jason Allard, and Hal Walker, “Climate Impacts on Nutrient Fluxes in Streamflow in the Mid-Atlantic Region”, presented at the 95th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Honolulu, Hawaii, March 23-27
1998 Neff, Robert J., “Impacts of a National Gasoline Tax Increase on Personal Transportation in the United States, and Implications for Greenhouse Gas Abatement Policy”, presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Fort Worth, Texas
Invited Presenter, “Making Sense of Vulnerability: Social and Critical Engagements” Workshop hosted by the IGU Commission on Population and Vulnerability and the University of Dundee, Scotland.
Invited Moderator, “Integrating carbon management into the development strategies of cities” Online workshop hosted by USER (see http://www.sea-user.org)
Invited Participant, “Vulnerability Methods and Models Workshop” Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, JFK School of Government, Harvard University
Invited Participant, “Mid-Atlantic Region Data Management Workshop” EPA Region 3. Providence, RI.
Geography of Human Activities, Urban Geography, Urban Environmental Planning, Global Change in Urban Places