The Project Team

The New Climate Economy (NCE) project is led by Programme 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, Programme Director

Helen is the Programme 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. 

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.

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.

Julia Dills, Administrative Coordinator

Julia is the Administrative Coordinator for NCE where she provides support for Helen Mountford, assists in travel planning, creates and monitors expense reports, and performs other administrative duties. Prior to joining the NCE team, Julia worked for the Mathematical Association of America where she coordinated student research symposiums and managed federal grants for student programs.  She has also worked for nonprofits in areas of green building certification and solar financing.  Julia lives in Washington, D.C and enjoys working out, commuting by bicycle, and Latin dancing.  Julia holds a dual MA in International Affairs and Sustainable Development from American University in Washington, DC. 

Ian de Cruz, Strategic Engagement Director

Ian de Cruz is Strategic Engagement Director 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.

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 Economic, 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. 

Michael Jacobs, Senior Advisor

Michael Jacobs is Senior Adviser for the New Climate Economy project. An economist and political scientist, Michael is also Senior Adviser at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations in Paris, Visiting Professor at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, and Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at University College London. From 2007 to 2010 he was Special Adviser to the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and before that (2004-2007) a member of the Council of Economic Advisers at the UK Treasury. He is a former Co-Editor of the Political Quarterly and a former General Secretary of the Fabian Society.  His books include The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future (Pluto Press, 1991), Greening the Millennium? The New Politics of the Environment (ed, Blackwell, 1997), The Politics of the Real World (Earthscan 1996) and Paying for Progress: A New Politics of Tax for Public Spending (Fabian Society 2000).  

Joel Jaeger, Communications Assistant

Joel Jaeger is the Communications Assistant for the New Climate Economy project. He assists the communications team with writing, media outreach and monitoring, and traditional and social media engagement around the NCE project. Previously, Joel wrote about climate change and development at the United Nations as a journalist for IPS, 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 holds a BA in Political Science from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Annie Lefebure, Project Coordinator

Annie Lefebure is the Project Coordinator for the New Climate Economy, responsible for supporting the London office by coordinating with partner institutions, organising meetings and conference calls across a wide variety of geographies, and serving as the link between partner finance teams. Prior to joining NCE, she worked as the Project Administration and Communications Assistant with the SEED Initiative, which promotes entrepreneurship for sustainable development in non-OECD countries. Before this, she interned with UN DESA, supporting the Partnership Forum at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Annie has a BA in Psychology from Loyola University Maryland (USA) and a BS and MS in Business Administration and Economics from Umeå University (Sweden).

Austin Morton, Communications Manager

Austin Morton is the Communications Officer at the New Climate Economy, responsible for web and social media engagement. He works to ensure our online presence increases our reach, delivers consistent messages about the project, and communicates NCE research in compelling ways. He also works on writing, media outreach and monitoring for NCE products. Prior to joining NCE, Austin was a Senior Associate at International Resources Group where he helped development practitioners share their successes and engage development communities with best practices to strengthen outcomes. He loves to travel and when off the clock, plots his next adventure. Austin has a BA in Political Science and a BA in International Relations from American University. Follow him on: LinkedIn.

Cory Rand, Communications and Engagement Assistant

Cory is the Communications and Engagement Assistant for the New Climate Economy Project. He conducts policy research and stakeholder mapping to inform NCE's special initiatives and 2016 calendar. On the communications side, he helps write key messages, blogs and social media posts to communicate NCE messages.  Cory previously worked in international professional exchange programs, working through the Seattle World Affairs Council and the U.S. Department of State to bring international delegations of emerging leaders to Seattle. He also participated in the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in St. Louis, Missouri. Cory is an avid runner, climber, and cyclist. He has biked across the United States and Europe, and works part time as an REI Outdoor Instructor. Cory holds a B.A. in politics from Whitman College in Washington State. 

Filippo Rodriguez, Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator

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. He oves to cook on weekends, play tennis and read about history. 

James Rydge, Lead Economist

James Rydge is the Lead Economist for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. James was lead author of the Economics of Change chapter of the Global Commission's Better Growth, Better Climate report, released on 16 September 2014. Prior to joining the Global Commission, James was the Dahrendorf Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In this role he worked closely with Lord Nicholas Stern, collaborating across a wide range of research areas, including on the economics of the low-carbon transition. James has a PhD in Economics and a Master’s in Finance from the University of Sydney. Previously, he worked at the Bank of New York Mellon in London and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sydney.

Beth Sullivan, Grants and Finance Coordinator

Beth Sullivan 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 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.

Rachel Waddell, Chief of Staff

Rachel Waddell is Chief of Staff with the New Climate Economy. Prior to the New Climate Economy, she was Strategy Advisor and International Cooperation Manager for the Global Green Growth Institute based in South Korea. Rachel has also worked on International Climate Change Negotiations in DECC in the UK Government. She has a Masters degree from the University of Leeds in East Asian Studies and a BA in History from the University of Nottingham    

Xiao Zhao, Research Associate

Xiao Zhao is the Program Analyst at the New Climate Economy, responsible for ensuring the quality and reliability of the core-data sets. She also supports the Chief of Staff in managing project operations and supports the Communication team on Chinese language media. Prior to joining NCE, Xiao was interning at Low Carbon Lab at Tsinghua University, where she helped build a CDM database. She likes to solve math and logic puzzles. Xiao has a BA in Mathematics from University of California, Berkeley and an MSc in Mathematics and Finance from Imperial College.