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Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and International Affairs

Laura Kuhl’s research examines climate adaptation and sustainable transitions in the United States and internationally. She is particularly interested in questions of power and equity in processes of transformation across multiple scales from individual decision-making to international policymaking. Current work focuses on climate finance, particularly adaptation finance, energy equity after crises, and transformational adaptation.

  • Northeastern University Excellence in Teaching Award, 2023
  • CSSH Outstanding Teaching Award, 2022
  • Peter Ackerman Award, Outstanding doctoral dissertation demonstrating scholarly merit, originality, and contribution to the field and to society, The Fletcher School (2017)
  • NSF Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Training Fellowship, Water Diplomacy Program (2011-2013)
  • Kuhl L and Shinn JE. 2022.Transformational adaptation and country ownership: competing priorities in international adaptation finance. Climate Policy.
  • Kuhl L. A call for the sustainable transitions community to engage with adaptation. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 41, 60-63.
  • Kuhl L, Rahman MF, Mcrain S, Krause D, Hossain MF, Bahadur A, Huq S. 2021. Transformational adaptation in the context of coastal cities. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 46: 449-479.
  • Sotolongo M, Kuhl L, Baker S. 2021. Using environmental justice to inform disaster recovery: Vulnerability and electricity restoration in Puerto Rico. Environmental Science and Policy, 122: 59-71.
  • Kuhl L. 2021. Policymaking under scarcity: reflections for designing socially-just climate adaptation policy, One Earth 4(2): 202-212.
  • Kasdan M, Kuhl L, Kurukulasuriya P. 2021.The evolution of transformational change in multilateral funds dedicated to financing adaptation to climate change.  Climate and Development, 13(5): 427-442.
  • Jones L, Kuhl L, Matthews N. 2020. Addressing power and scale in resilience programming: a call to engage across funding, delivery and evaluation. The Geographic Journal, 186 (4), 415-423
  • Stratton AE, Kuhl L, Blesh J. 2020. Ecological and nutritional functions of agroecosystems as indicators of smallholder resilience. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4, 173
  • Kuhl L, van Maanen K, Scyphers S. 2020. An analysis of UNFCCC-financed coastal adaptation projects: Assessing patterns of project design and contributions to adaptive capacity. World Development 127: 10478.
  • Kuhl L. 2020.Technology transfer and adoption for smallholder climate change adaptation: opportunities and challenges. Climate and Development, 12(4) 353-368.
  • Kuhl L. 2018. Potential contributions of market-systems development initiatives for building climate resilience. World Development.108: 131–144.
  • Education

    PhD, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
    MALD, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
    BA, Environmental Studies and Anthropology, Middlebury College

  • Contact

  • Address

    360V Renaissance Park
    360 Huntington Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115

  • Office Hours

    Tuesdays 11am-12pm
    Thursdays 2pm-3pm
    or by appointment


Course catalog
  • Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing society and requires policy responses across scales: locally, nationally, and globally. This course discusses key climate policy approaches, including market-based and regulatory approaches, as well as intersectional approaches that address underlying drivers of climate change and inequalities in climate vulnerabilities. The course is anchored in a climate justice policy perspective, and students will become familiar with a range of frameworks and tools for climate policy design, implementation, and evaluation, with an emphasis on considering how policies can promote (or detract from) social justice. Case studies from US and international contexts will be used throughout the semester to explore policy advocacy, policy design and policy implementation in practice. In addition to considering national and sub-national climate policy, the course will cover legal, political, and economic issues in international climate negotiations and explore the history and current tensions in international climate diplomacy.

  • Offers a senior research and writing seminar that integrates and assesses the knowledge and skills developed by students participating in the international affairs curriculum, including both experiential (co-op, Dialogue of Civilizations, study abroad, internship, or other approved international experience) and classroom-based components. Requires student self-reflection as well as new research, analysis, and writing, which culminate in a final paper and presentation. Topics include contemporary global issues and draw on relevant literature in the disciplines relating to international affairs.

Laura’s Colleagues

Max Abrahms

Associate Professor of Political Science

Headshot of Amilcar Barreto

Amílcar Antonio Barreto

Professor & Chair, Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies; Professor & Interim Director, International Affairs; Professor, Political Science; Affiliated faculty member of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies; Affiliated faculty member in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Headshot of Barry Bluestone

Barry Bluestone

Russell B. and Andree B. Stearns Trustee Professor Emeritus of Political Economy; Founding Director of the Dukakis Center; Founding Dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Christopher Bosso

Interim Chair, Department of Political Science; Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

Headshot of Alan Clayton-Matthews

Alan Clayton-Matthews

Associate Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy

William Dickens

University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy

Joan Fitzgerald

Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Stephen E. Flynn

Professor of Political Science; Founding Director, Global Resilience Institute

James Alan Fox

Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy

Headshot of Brian Helmuth

Brian Helmuth

Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy

Timothy Hoff

Professor of Management, Healthcare Systems and Public Policy

Headshot of Bill Kay

In Memoriam William Kay

Associate Professor of Political Science

Headshot of David Lazer

David Lazer

University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer Sciences

Headshot of Dietmar Offenhuber

Dietmar Offenhuber

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Art + Design

Headshot of Kwamina Panford

Kwamina Panford

Emeritus Associate Professor of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies