Dr. Leonard Nurse’s longstanding relationship with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shot him into the media spotlight, when the IPCC was jointly awarded the 2007 Nobel peace Prize for its contribution to climate change research. Dr. Nurse has been a member of the IPCC’s research and author team for four global assessment reports. In 2007, he was selected as Coordinating Lead Author by the IPCC for the chapter “Small Island States” in the fourth assessment report, titled Climate Change 2007.
For his contributions Dr. Nurse received the Companion of Honour of Barbados. He was also the recipient of Barbados Centennial Honours (BCH), January 2001 and the Governor-General’s Award for the Environment, February 2001.
Dr. Nurse, in addition to his commitment at UWI, functions in various professional capacities. He is appointed Barbados’ Special Envoy for the Environment (1999–present); is a member of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Consulting Group for Capacity Building (August 2004–present); a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank (2002–present); and a council member, Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University (1991–present). He was also Vice-Chairman, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (IOCARIBE), 1995-2002.
Dr. Nurse has held the posts of Director, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Barbados, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Government of Barbados. Dr. Nurse’s academic qualifications include a BSc (First-Class Hons. UWI, Mona, 1975); MSc (Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada, 1979); PhD (McGill, 1987).
Dr. Nurse is particularly concerned about the impacts of potential climate change and climate variability, with special focus on small island states; evaluation of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, and their applicability to small islands; human impact on coastal dynamics and beach systems; methodologies for predicting coastal erosion and accretion rates in tropical low-energy environments.
Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer in Integrated Coastal Area Management at the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, located in Belize