The Project Team

The New Climate Economy (NCE) project is led by Program Director Helen Mountford. The project team is headquartered in London, with members located in the partner institutes in Addis Ababa, Beijing, New Delhi, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm and Washington DC.  

The Team

Helen Mountford, Program Director

Helen is the Program Director for the New Climate Economy project and Director of Economics at WRI. She previously worked as Deputy Director of Environment for the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). She worked at OECD for over 16 years advising governments on policy reforms, and overseeing work on green fiscal reform, climate change finance and economics, fossil fuel subsidy reforms, green growth, water pricing, biodiversity incentive measures, and economy-environment outlooks and modelling. Prior to joining the OECD, Helen managed recycling schemes in England and worked for an NGO in Australia.

Ferzina Banaji, Head of Communications

Ferzina Banaji is the Head of Communications for the New Climate Economy project. Prior to joining NCE, she was the Communications Manager for WRI’s Global Climate Program. She previously led climate change communications for BBC Media Action, the BBCs international charity arm, and was based in New Delhi. She managed projects that ranged from improving the quality and quantity of climate coverage in the Indian media, to overseeing a 7 country research survey on perceptions of climate change in Asia, and to producing emergency programming for cyclone-hit communities. Earlier in her career, she taught film and philosophy at Cambridge and wrote a book on how media can change conceptions of history, memory and identity. Ferzina has an Mphil and a PhD from the University of Cambridge and Bachelors’ degrees from the Universities of Paris and Mumbai. 

Beth Benyishay, Chief of Staff

Beth Benyishay is the Chief of Staff for the New Climate Economy Project. She is responsible for supporting the Program Director on overall program delivery and managing program operations, finances, and fundraising strategy. Prior to joining the New Climate Economy, she worked as a Program Officer for the Eurasia Foundation, where she oversaw operations for projects focused on civil society in Russia. Beth has a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and a BA in History and Russian language from Goucher College.

Milan Brahmbhatt, Issue Expert/Researcher 

Milan Brahmbhatt is Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute and leads the work of the Country Transitions workstream.  Before joining the New Climate Economy, Milan worked at the World Bank, as Senior Adviser to the Vice President of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, dealing with a wide range of macroeconomic and structural policy issues, including the economics of climate change and sustainable growth. Milan holds Masters and Bachelors degrees in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Jessica Brand, Communications Manager

Jessica Brand is Communications Manager for the New Climate Economy project. Prior to joining NCE, she was Communications Officer for WRI's Global Climate Program. Jessica has been working in communications in Washington D.C. for more than a decade. Beginning with in-house work at two environmental NGOs, she then moved on to work as a Program Director at a PR firm. Jessica began her career in Westminster, UK working as a Parliamentary Researcher to a Member of Parliament. Jessica holds a Bachelor's degree from the University or York, UK.

Christopher Delgado, Land Use Issue Expert/Researcher

Christopher Delgado is a Sr. Fellow at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., where he works on the interactions among climate change, agriculture, and food security. He is the workstream lead for Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use Change for the New Climate Economy. Previously, he was Economics and Policy Adviser in the Agriculture and Environmental Services Department at the World Bank, and led the Department’s Agricultural and Environmental Economics and Policy Practice. He was the founding Program Manager of both the Bank’s internal Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP) and the G20-requested Global Agricultural and Food Security Program (GAFSP). Prior to joining the World Bank, he was director of the Markets Theme at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya (2003-2006), and spent 26 years as a researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University and co-authored a half-dozen books and over 100 professional papers in a number of languages.

Ian de Cruz, Deputy Director, Global Strategy and Partnerships

Ian de Cruz is Deputy Director, Global Strategy and Partnerships for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, responsible for developing and implementing the overall engagement strategy.  Ian has a diverse professional background including previous roles as Project Director of the Garnaut Climate Change Review in Australia and Head of Climate Change Response for an international development organisation, World Vision.  Ian enjoys travelling, eating and spending time with his young family.  Ian started life as a barrister and has a MBA from Australian Graduate School of Management and BCom (majoring in accounting and finance) and LLB from University of Western Australia.

Amanda DeNardo, Administrative Coordinator 
Amanda is the Administrative Coordinator for the New Climate Economy. She manages the scheduling of meetings and events, supports project and grant management, and assists with personnel management. Amanda holds a B.A. in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. 
Ipek Gencsu, Research and Engagement Coordinator 

Ipek Gencsu is Research and Engagement Manager at the New Climate Economy. She manages, and conducts research for, the Global Commission's Annual Reports. She also co-manages NCE's programme of work on land use with a wide network of partners. Her past experience includes climate change, migration and gender justice research and advocacy at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in London, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI, Paris), and at Oxfam International in New York. She has also campaigned for Oxfam in the US and UK on climate and food justice. Ipek has an MSc in Political Theory and a BSc in Philosophy and Economics, both from the London School of Economics, and a Certificate in Global Philanthropy from New York University.

Nick Godfrey, Head of Policy and Urban Development

Nick Godfrey is the Head of Policy and Urban Development for the NCE. Nick was the coordinating author of the cities chapter of the Commission’s report in partnership with LSE Cities. An economist by background, Nick has over ten years’ experience in the public and private sectors providing strategic and economic advice in relation to responding to climate change, resource scarcities, and catalysing economic development. Nick is on sabbatical from his position in the Atkins futures team, which provides leading thinking on the future of cities. Prior to this Nick worked at DFID supporting the climate change negotiations and the design of the UK’s International Climate Fund, as well as for the Government of Guyana leading a team to develop its national economic development strategy.  Nick holds a first class honours in economics from the University of Nottingham and a Masters in development economics for which he was awarded the Dehn Prize for outstanding academic achievement by the University of Manchester. 

Joel Jaeger, Research Specialist

Joel is the Research Specialist for the New Climate Economy project, assisting with scoping and research for the NCE 2018 global report. Previously, Joel has covered environmental topics at the United Nations as a journalist for IPS News, a global news wire with an emphasis on the developing world. He has held internships at several foreign policy research organizations, including with the communications team at the Council on Foreign Relations. Joel is pursuing an M.A. in Energy, Resources and Environment at Johns Hopkins SAIS and holds a B.A. in political science from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Noah Kaufman, Economist

Noah is an Economist for the World Resources Insitute's Global Climate Program and the New Climate Economy project. Previously, Noah was the Deputy Associate Director of Energy & Climate Change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and a Senior Consultant at the Environment Practice of NERA Economic Consulting. Noah has published research on carbon pricing, the economic impacts of climate regulations, the social cost of carbon, the role of risk aversion in environmental policy evaluations, and the design of incentives for energy efficiency programs, among other topics. Noah received his BS in economics, cum laude, from Duke University, and his PhD and MS in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where his dissertation examined optimal policy responses to climate change.

Xinyue (Helen) Ma, Intern

Xinyue (Helen) Ma is an intern for the New Climate Economy, supporting the NCE 2018 Global Report as well as the China-India Dialogue. Helen previously interned with China’s National Development and Reforms Commission and China Daily USA, focusing on China’s international investment development, and worked on political and regulatory risks consulting with Control Risks in Beijing. She has research experiences on China’s energy trade economics, nuclear power industry, local environmental policy-making processes, and US road infrastructure financing policies. She received her Bachelor’s degree in International Politics and History from Peking University, Beijing, and her M.A. in International Economics and Energy, Resources and Environment from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, with a specialization in Infrastructure Policy and Finance. She has studied and exchanged in China, the UK, the US, and Saudi Arabia.

Molly McGregor, Research and Report Coordinator

Molly  McGregor is the Research and Report Coordinator for the New Climate Economy project. She conducts research for and manages the input and review processes for the NCE 2018 Global Report. Her research interests lie at the intersection of development, environment, and policy issues. Prior to joining NCE, Molly served as a Program Specialist on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Delivery Team as well as the Research Coordinator in the President’s Office at the World Resources Institute (WRI). Molly also conducted policy research and government outreach as a member of the Policy Outreach team at the Center for Global Development. Her previous field research in Mali focused on transportation safety and governance issues in Bamako. Molly graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied International & Area Studies, Political Science, and Public Health.

Priyanka Mohanty, Research and Engagement Assistant 

Priyanka is the Research and Engagement Assistant for the New Climate Economy. She supports the execution of on-going strategy and country research. Previously, she worked at Hamilton Place Strategies where she helped form advocacy strategies for energy businesses and at school, she interned at the Council on Foreign Relations where she worked on international geo-economic and climate policy research. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Priyanka graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016, with a BA in Economics and Public Health.

Filippo Rodriguez, Senior Engagement Manager

Filippo Rodriguez is the Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator at the New Climate Economy. He manages partnerships with governments, international organizations and global decision-makers by driving relationship management and coordinating consultation activities with NCE stakeholders. He has over eight years experience working for the United Nations, the European Commission and the Government of Italy in several countries across the globe. Filippo holds master degrees in Political Science and International Affairs, and is currently earning a diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility. Other than his native Italian, he is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and is now learning Bosnian.

Rachel Spiegel, Communications Assistant 

Rachel is the Communications Assistant for the New Climate Economy. She supports the execution of on-going strategy and specific media and outreach efforts, assisting with developing communications and influence strategies, developing tactical communications products such as publications, and maintaining media relationships and high-profile external exposure for NCE products and analysis. Rachel previously worked in the State Department with the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change, where she was involved with various research projects to support the U.S.-India bilateral climate partnership, work related to the Arctic Council, and implementation of the Paris Agreement. Rachel holds a B.A. in Environmental Analysis and International Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA.

Kari Terrio, Grants and Finance Coordinator

Kari Terrio is the Grants and Finance Coordinator for the New Climate Economy, responsible for program finances and compliance as well as contractual agreements. Prior to joining the New Climate Economy, she was a Financial Manager at Johns Hopkins University and a Program Administrator at the World Wildlife Fund. She holds a Masters of Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Missouri.