Matt Lappé

Executive Director of Conscience Bay Research

To address the climate crisis, we must build common ground across diverse stakeholder groups, and co-create a
vision of what’s needed for communities and natural systems to thrive.

Matt Lappé has over 20 years of experience advancing climate solutions through work in research, advocacy, and philanthropy. He is the Executive Director of Conscience Bay Research, the philanthropic arm of Conscience Bay Company. Through grant making, research, strategic partnerships, and policy development, Conscience Bay Research focuses on climate solutions in the sectors of real estate, agriculture, and ecological systems.

Before his role at Conscience Bay, Matt served as Senior Climate Strategist for Boulder County, where he was responsible for securing funds and advancing initiatives to reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions 90% by 2050. In an earlier chapter, Matt was the Executive Director of Action for the Climate Emergency (ACE), a national nonprofit that built the country’s largest youth climate advocacy network. Matt received BS and MS degrees from Stanford University’s Earth Systems program, and his MBA from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder. Earlier in his career, Matt studied paleoclimate and environmental hydrology throughout Patagonia, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and spent two years teaching high school science in rural Northern California. Matt lives in Boulder with his wife, two daughters, and a mini aussie named Willa.

Education

2014: MBA, Leeds School of Business,
University of Colorado Boulder
2003: MS, Earth Systems Program, Stanford University
2001: BS, Earth Systems Program, Stanford University

Memberships

Board Member: Platform for Agriculture and Climate Transformation (PACT)
Board Member: Leeds MBA Alumni Board
Member: Water Table, The Water Foundation
Member: Colorado River Collaborative
Member: Funders for Regenerative Agriculture (FORA)

Please contact us to inquire about development opportunities.

Impact Areas

Areas of Focus

Agriculture

Climate Solutions in Agriculture

Climate change affects crop yields, forage composition, soil health, water availability, and our overall national food security. By investing in research, advocacy, and community-driven initiatives, we aim to unlock solutions that promote climate-smart agriculture, enhance soil health, and equip farmers and ranchers with the tools to thrive in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Colorado River

Colorado River Resilience

The Colorado River Basin provides water to 40 million people and a $5 billion agricultural industry. Climate models suggest that risks of prolonged droughts, shifting precipitation patterns, and increased temperatures may reduce the flow of the Colorado River by up to 30% by mid-century. In close partnership with Western States Ranches, Conscience Bay Research is investing in research, advocacy, and partnerships in order to advance the practices, policies, and incentives that will allow farmers, ranchers, tribes, and rural areas to adapt to these changes, use less water, and safeguard our cultures and economies for future generations.

Buildings

Climate Smart Buildings

The US Energy Information Administration reports that the residential and commercial building sectors account for about 40% of total U.S. energy consumption. By reimagining how we build and manage our buildings, we not only reduce the overall climate impact of the built environment, we build more resilience to extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and other climate-related challenges. In close partnership with the Conscience Bay Company real estate team, we support advocacy, research, and policy efforts that will accelerate the transition to climate-smart buildings in Colorado and nationally.

CDR

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)

Meeting our global climate goals will require scaling CDR efforts exponentially, to reach 10 gigatons annually by 2050. These CDR solutions must include both nature-based and technological approaches, ranging from soil carbon sequestration to direct air capture. Additionally, innovation in measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification (MMRV) must advance rapidly in order to establish the right oversight and incentive structures for this expanding sector. Our work on CDR focuses on research partnerships with universities, and policy efforts to strengthen accountability and transparency.

projects

Research Projects

Impact Area

Carbon Dioxide Removal

Grantee

University of Maine

Project

Kelp Aquaculture CDR Research

Kelp cultivation in North America is expanding rapidly and Maine recently processed over a million pounds of kelp. Whether kelp gets used as a direct climate change solution or as a replacement of other food systems with considerably higher carbon footprints, the primary bottleneck is the current cost of kelp cultivation. Our grantees at the University of Maine have created a modeling structure capable of a detailed accounting of the costs and carbon footprint of kelp cultivation for carbon dioxide removal. Our ongoing efforts are targeting innovations in engineering, biology, and MMRV in order to chart a pathway for kelp to become a viable tool for scaling ocean-based CDR.

Impact Area

Colorado River Resilience

Grantee

Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

Project

Tribal Water Institute

Tribal Nations are currently under-represented in negotiations about future management of the Colorado River. Many Tribal Nations, however, do not have the capacity to develop and bring water proposals forward. The NARF Tribal Water Institute will advance an innovative approach to support Tribal Nations in their water rights issues by building both internal and external tribal water law and policy expertise, to bolster educational efforts, and to provide thoughtful leadership in advocating for Tribal water rights.

Impact Area

Climate Solutions in Agriculture

Grantee

CSU AgNext

Project

Reducing Enteric Methane in Beef Grazing Systems

Methane is responsible for 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times, and enteric methane from beef cattle drives 19% of the nation’s total methane emissions. The goals of this project are to advance our understanding of the best strategies to reduce enteric methane emissions in extensively grazed beef cattle production systems by focusing on the areas of: A: genetic and microbiome research; B: enteric methane measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification (MMRV); and C: identifying the most accurate and cost-effective proxies for predicting enteric methane emissions from beef cattle, including in grazing production systems.

Impact Area

Colorado River Resilience

Grantee

Colorado State University

Project

Researching Potential Reduced Water Use in a Viable Ranching Operation

Through a research partnership with Conscience Bay Research and Western States Ranches, scientists at Colorado State University are implementing a project to understand the water conservation potential of irrigation curtailment practices, investigate the level of compensation needed to incentivize hay and livestock producers to adopt these practices, and explore the characteristics of farms and ranches where they are most likely to be adopted. The results will inform ranchers and policymakers about the most viable strategies for reducing water use, while maintaining the economic productivity of a working cattle ranch.

Grantees

Partnership & Support
Below is a partial list of our grantee partners.

Press

Conscience Bay Research In The News

How to Make Kelp Aquaculture a Better – and More Economical – Carbon Sink

September 14, 2022

Researchers claim to have developed a kelp aquaculture model for the Gulf of Maine that maximizes carbon sequestration and cost-effectiveness of this natural carbon sink.

UMaine Study Helps Cut Costs of Kelp Farming

September 12, 2022

A new study from the University of Maine has reduced the costs associated with a proposed new method of using kelp farming to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but costs are still more than 10 times higher than advocates for the innovative technology want them to be.

CSU Soil Scientists Tap Rangelands as Vast Sources for Carbon Storage

November 9, 2021

The 770 million acres of rangelands in the U.S. have been home to many generations of grazing cattle and sheep.