Constantine (Costa) Samaras is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and affiliated faculty in the Energy Science, Technology and Policy Program at Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on the pathways to clean, climate-safe, equitable, and secure energy and infrastructure systems.
Samaras analyzes how technologies and policies affect energy use and national security, resilience to climate change impacts, economic and equity outcomes, and life cycle environmental emissions and other externalities. He directs the Center for Engineering and Resilience for Climate Adaptation and is the Director of the Power Sector Carbon Index. He is a fellow in Carnegie Mellon’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and by courtesy, a faculty member in both the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and CMU’s H. John Heinz III College of Information Systems and Public Policy.
Samaras served on three National Academies Committee evaluating emerging energy technologies and earth systems research, served as the chair of the ASCE Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate, and served on the Alternative Transportation Fuels and Technologies Committee and currently serves on the Energy Committee of the Transportation Research Board.
Samaras has published numerous studies examining electric and automated vehicles, renewable electricity, clean energy transitions and decarbonization policy, and climate resilience. He was a contributor to the 4th National Climate Assessment, and was one of the lead author contributors to the Global Energy Assessment. He has also led analyses on energy security, strategic basing, and infrastructure issues faced by the Department of Defense. He teaches courses on energy utilization and demand, climate change resilience, and infrastructure and environment interconnections in a changing world. In 2018, he was named Professor of the Year by the Pittsburgh Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Samaras regularly provides commentary to online, print, radio, and television media, and his comments have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Atlantic, PBS, ABC News, WIRED, and other outlets. He has presented his research to senior appointed governmental leaders, former cabinet secretaries, senior federal and military decisionmakers, Congress Members and professional staff, and the leadership of major utilities, automotive companies, and technology firms.
From 2009 to 2014 he was a RAND Corporation researcher, most recently as a Senior Engineer and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and was an adjunct senior researcher through 2021. From 2008 to 2009 he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Climate Decisionmaking Center at Carnegie Mellon, working on electric transportation and low-carbon technology policy. From 1999 to 2004 he was an engineer working on several multibillion-dollar infrastructure megaprojects in New York, including the extension of the Number 7 subway line in Manhattan, and also worked on the rebuilding of the subway line underneath the World Trade Center after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Costa received a joint Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon, an MPA in public policy from the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and a B.S. in civil engineering from Bucknell University.
Climate Adaptation for Infrastructure
2008 Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
2004 MPA, Public Policy , New York University, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
1999 BS, Civil Engineering, Bucknell University
New leadership for the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation
Costa Samaras has been named the next Director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, and Valerie Karplus will serve as the Associate Director of the Scott Institute.
Samaras hired by White House to serve as chief adviser for energy policy
CEE’s Costa Samaras was hired by the White House to serve as principal assistant director for energy and chief adviser for energy policy.
CEE/EPP student, faculty analyze bridge construction inequities
CEE/EPP’s Cari Gandy, EPP’s Daniel Armanios, and CEE’s Costa Samaras explored how neighborhood demographic data interacts with bridge maintence data. Gandy found that historically Black or African American communities were associated with a greater likelihood of having bridges in worse condition.
Research suggests drones more efficient for last-mile deliveries
A team lead by Costa Samaras and Thiago Rodrigues has shown that using small drones for the last mile of package deliveries uses less energy and creates fewer emissions than conventional means.
Samaras interviewed in Bloomberg article on cryptocurrency
CEE’s Costa Samaras was interviewed by Bloomberg Tax because he is the principal assistant director for energy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The Washington Post
Samaras joins White House OSTP
CEE/EPP’s Costas Samaras has joined the OSTP as the principal assistant director for energy.
Costa Samaras to serve in White House OSTP
Costa Samaras has been appointed principal assistant director for energy and chief advisor for energy policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s first-ever Energy Division.
Samaras quoted on infrastructure and climate change
CEE/EPP’s Costas Samaras was quoted in Forbes on infrastructure and climate change.
Who’s paying for your Uber?
Researchers have published a new study quantifying the societal costs and benefits of an Uber or Lyft trip.
Samaras quoted on outdated power plants
CEE’s Costa Samaras was quoted in E&E News’ Energywire on how older power plants, despite being necessary to address power demand in some cases, are more expensive and contribute negatively to climate change.
The New York Times
Samaras’ research on electric vehicles featured
Research from CEE’s Costa Samaras was featured in a recent opinion piece published by The New York Times. The article discusses challenges to the widespread use of electric vehicles, and whether it will be enough to help solve the problem of climate change.
My Climate Journey
Samaras interviewed on climate podcast
CEE’s Costa Samaras was a guest on the My Climate Journey podcast, which explores the topic of climate change and how listeners can help.