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Project Team

Alice (Xia) Zhu

Environmental analytical scientist specialized in the plastics lifecycle, climate change, marine debris, and oceanography.


Co-founder & Research Director

Alice is an environmental analytical scientist with an interest in the influence of science on policy. She is the recipient of a Vanier Canada Research Scholarship from the Government of Canada for her research excellence and leadership, and the recipient of numerous other awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology. As a PhD student in the Rochman Lab at the University of Toronto, she studies the sources, transport, and fate of plastic pollution, and the connections between plastic pollution, carbon cycling, and climate change. Alice is also a Visiting Research Scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). For more information, see Alice’s website and LinkedIn profile, and the Resources page for a selection of her publications quantifying and characterizing plastic in the environment and plastic’s role in the carbon cycle.

Holly Kaufman

Climate change, plastics and sustainability expert, recognized thought leader, relationship-builder, policy strategist, and project designer and manager.

Holly head shot.jpg

Co-founder & Project Director

Holly is the founder and President of Environment & Enterprise Strategies where she provides strategic guidance to such organizations as the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Science Foundation, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Elders, the Pew Charitable Trusts, C40, the World Economic Forum, Conoco, Proctor & Gamble, the California Wind Energy Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Holly managed the climate change & national security portfolio at the U.S. Department of Defense as a President Clinton appointee, and was a strategy and outreach expert on the UN climate treaty negotiations team at the State Department where she received a Superior Team Honor Award.


Holly is a thought leader in the nexus between climate change and plastics, and published one of the earliest articles on Why Plastics Are Also A Climate Issue. She is a member of the California Senate Bill 54 Implementation Working Group, a stakeholder group advising on crafting the rules for this first-of-its-kind state plastic packaging reduction law. She has a B.S. with Highest Honors from the University of California at Berkeley, and was a Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School where she received an MPA in international environmental and economic studies. See her LinkedIn profile for more information. 

Advisory Board

The Plastics & Climate Project benefits from the input of advisory board members who ensure the scientific integrity of the Project's work, and provide strategic advice.  The Advisory Board also enables people and institutions engaged in complementary issues to add value to each other's work. Members include individuals and representatives of organizations (non-governmental, and research and policy agencies and institutions) conducting relevant research, policy, and community work. Founding members to date include:

  • Dr. Kara Lavender Law - Research professor of oceanography, Sea Education Association; research areas include ocean circulation, distribution of marine plastic debris, and degradation and fate of plastics in the ocean

  • Dr. Karen Raubenheimer - Key architect of the UN global plastics treaty research and   proposal, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources & Security, University of Wollongong; co-author Climate Impact of Plastics, GRID-Arendal, 2024

  • Dr. Sarah-Jeanne Royer - Oceanographer, research scientist at the Center for Marine Debris   Research at Hawaii Pacific University, one of the first scientists to discover that plastic emits   greenhouse gases when exposed to sunlight 

  • Dr. Leah Stokes - Professor of environmental politics at the University of California Santa Barbara; research includes climate change, renewable energy, water, and chemicals policy; named on TIME100 Next and as one of Business Insider’s top 30 global leaders working toward climate solutions

Partners & Affiliates

(In formation)



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