Dr. Daniel A Reifsnyder is a Visiting Scholar with a joint appointment in the Department of Environmental Sciences in the College, the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and the School of Law at the University of Virginia. Dan Reifsnyder became Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment on March 6, 2006 (confirmed on August 20). He leads the OES Bureau’s Environment Directorate, consisting of three offices and 65 staff. He is responsible for U.S. engagement across a broad range of issues related to environmental quality, conservation, water and global climate change. In these areas, he leads U.S. delegations under multiple bilateral agreements and treaties.
Dr. Reifsnyder works closely with the Special Envoy for Climate Change, serving as alternate chair of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate Change. He works on the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group and the U.S.-China Ten Year Framework for Cooperation on Energy and Environment, and advises broadly on other climate issues. He chairs the Environmental Working Group under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. He also chairs the Subgroup on the Environment, advising the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Economic and Social Council in the negotiations of Sustainable Development Goals.
From 1989 to 2006, Dr. Reifsnyder was Director of the OES Office of Global Change. He served as alternate head of the U.S. delegation in the negotiations from 1991-92 that led to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Dr. Reifsnyder was a research fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (2000-2001) and a visiting lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School (1999-2000).
He served as Deputy Director of the Office of Cooperative Science and Technology Programs (1987-89) and as Atlantic Desk Officer in the Office of Fisheries Affairs (1984-87). He came to the State Department after 10 years with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in progressively responsible positions.
He earned his Ph.D. in international relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 2014. He holds a J.D. from George Washington University (1981), an M.A. in Russian Area Studies from Georgetown University (1976), and an A.B. in political philosophy from Trinity College (CT) (1972). He studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Paris) (1970-71) and at Leningrad State University (summer 1974). He is a member of the Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar and has been admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
A career member of the Senior Executive Service since 1994, Dr. Reifsnyder has received numerous awards including the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award (2005 and 2011), the EPA Ozone Protection Award (2008), the Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Leadership Award (2012), the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award (multiple individual and group awards) and its Meritorious Honor Award.
His languages are French and Russian.