Constantine (Costa) Samaras is a 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.

103 Baker/Porter Hall
Google Scholar
Costa Samaras
Costa Samaras

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

Media mentions

The New York Times

Samaras quoted on Colorado’s transportation system

Scott Institute Director Costa Samaras was quoted by the New York Times on Colorado’s decision to cease the expansion of highways in an effort to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.


Samaras quoted on OSTP’s recent work in reducing carbon emissions

Scott Institute Director Costa Samaras spoke with ClimateWire about the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and their ongoing efforts in combating climate change. “There was an emphasis at OSTP that we are delivering the speed and scale needed to net-zero emissions.”

The Climate Group

Samaras speaks at the Climate Group’s Climate Action Summit 2024

Scott Institute Director Costa Samaras spoke at the Climate Group’s US Climate Action Summit 2024.

Scientific American

Samaras talks “clean” ammonia as an energy alternative

CEE’s Costa Samaras spoke to Scientific American about ongoing efforts to support the production of “green” ammonia, an alternative energy source with less impact on the carbon footprint. “We’re now on this glide path to net-zero in 25 ½ years,” Samaras told the outlet. “So we need the types of clean manufacturing to deliver the speed and scale of clean equipment.”

ABC News

Samaras discusses climate change

Scott Institute Director Costas Samaras discusses climate change with ABC News.“Climate change makes things such as extreme heat and extreme storms worse, which can be dangerous to people, especially folks in vulnerable communities,” Samaras said.


Samaras envisions next steps for future climate policies

Scott Institute Director Costa Samaras envisions next steps for future climate policies that would facilitate a smooth transition to clean energy.

90.5 WESA

Samaras quoted on the subject of U.S. natural gas exports

Costa Samaras was quoted on the subject of whether to expand U.S. natural gas exports.

The Texas Tribune

Samaras quoted on Texas Panhandle wildfires

Costa Samaras was quoted in The Texas Tribune on the impact of the recent wildfires across the Texas Panhandle.

Engineering and Public Policy

Climate change impacts on future residential electricity consumption and energy burden

In the pursuit of an equitable electricity sector amid the challenges of a warming climate, a team of researchers took a closer look at climate change's impacts on electricity consumption and energy burden.

Engineering and Public Policy

Samaras named next director, Karplus named associate director of Carnegie Mellon’s 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 has been named as the associate director of the Scott Institute.

CMU Engineering

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.

Bloomberg Law

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.