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, Director of Communications and Engagement 

Ferzina Banaji is Director of Communications and Engagement for the New Climate Economy project. Ferzina previously held the position of Head of Communications. 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. 

Amar Bhattacharya, Lead of Finance Initiative

Amar is a Senior Fellow at the Global Economy and Development Program at Brookings Institution. His focus areas of work include sustainable infrastructure and climate, development finance, and global economic governance. Previously, Amar was Director of the Group of 24, an intergovernmental group of developing country Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from April 2007 until September 2014. Prior to taking up his position with the G24, Amar had a long-standing career in the World Bank. His last position as as Senior Advisor and head of the International Policy and Partnership Group. Through these positions, Amar has had a long standing engagement in research and policy discussions on the global economy and spillovers, international financial architecture, development financing and the global governance agenda including on the role and reform of the international financial institutions. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Delhi and Brandeis University and his graduate education at Princeton University. 

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.

Jan Corfee-Morlot, Senior Advisor

Jan is Senior Advisor to the New Climate Economy project. She was the technical lead of the NCE 2016 report - The Sustainable Infrastructure Imperative - and is playing a similar role for the forthcoming 2018 Report. Previously, Jan was with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where most recently she led the Development Assistance Committee's program on climate change, environment and development. She has published widely on climate policy - adaptation and mitigation, green growth and development, climate finance and green investment policy. Prior to joining the OECD, Jan held positions with the International Energy Agency (Paris), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (California), and state and local government in the US. Jan has also been  a lead author with the award-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Jan has BSc and MSc degrees from UC Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively, and a PhD in geography from University College London, where her dissertation focused on California and the politics of sub-national climate action. Jan is a citizen of the US and France and resides in Paris. 

Ashwin Dasgupta, Intern 

Ashwin Dasgupta is an Intern for the New Climate Economy project. He focuses on reviewing the NCE 2018 Global Report. He will also help prepare the published report for its presentation at events around the world. Prior to joining NCE, Ashwin worked as a campaign fellow for the Virginia Democratic Party and as an intern for the Fairax Country Office of Elections. Ashwin is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from Williams College. 

Edward Davey, Director, Geographic Deepdives, Food and Land Use Coalition 

Edward Davey is Director, Geographic Deep Dives at The Food and Land Use Coalition, a new initiative which grew out of the Global Commission on Economy and Climate. Prior to joining WRI, Edward was Senior Programme Manager at The Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit, where he co-led a number of international initiatives on REDD+, zero deforestation commodity supply chains, forest landscape restoration and climate change.  Prior to the ISU, he served as Lead Adviser on Environment in the Colombian Presidency's international cooperation office. Edward has a Master's with Distinction in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages (French and Spanish) from the University of Oxford.

Ebadullah Ebadi, Program & Administrative Specialist

Ebadullah is the Program & Administrative Specialist for the New Climate Economy. He supports Helen Mountford and the daily program operations. He previously worked at the National Education Association as a Program Assistant where he helped support the Center for Social Justice. Ebadullah holds a B.A. in Government & International Politics from George Mason University along with a minor in Communication. While at George Mason, he also studied Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations at the University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland. He is fluent in Dari and can hold conversation in Spanish. 

Madhavi Ganeshan, Strategic Engagement Manager

Madhavi Ganeshan is the Strategic Engagement Manager for the New Climate Economy project. She is responsible for managing and implementing the overall engagement process for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. Previously, Madhavi was with the United Nations Foundation overseeing the operational management of the Energy and Climate team with a special focus on Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) in which the UN Foundation is a key partner. Her past experiences includes a short stint with the energy and environment team at Clinton Global Initiative, New York and as project manager with Marcus Evans, Australia, a leading business intelligence company producing B2B events across industry sectors. Madhavi holds a double Master's in International Relations and International Business from Macquarie University, Australia and a Bachelor degree in Engineering from Pune University, India. 

Leonardo Garrido, Lead Economist 

Leonardo Garrido is a Development Economist with more than 20 years of experience on applied economic research and empirical methods. Leonardo's main research interests include the linkages between climate, the environment and the socio-economy; the dynamics of poverty, inequality and growth; the application of heterodox approaches for understanding complex socio-economic phenomena; and the analysis of constraints to inclusive development in the developing world. Prior to joining the New Climate Economy, Leonardo worked for 15+ years conducting empirical work, macro and micro modeling and country engagement for several multilateral and bilateral development organizations, including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the  UK Department for International Development and USAID. During that period, he led projects in over 25 countries in support of policy making, mainly in Sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Leonardo previously served as Chief Economist for a Venezuelan financial institution, as Head of Economic Research in Venezuela's Tax Revenue Authority, and as Empirical Economist for a leading Venezuelean economic private consulting institution. Leonardo obtained his Economics degree at Universidad Catolica Andres Bellow in Caracas, Venezuela. He also holds a Certificate in International Taxation from Harvard Law School, and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he specialized in both macroeconomic and microeconomic analysis. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two sons. 

Nick Godfrey, Director, Coalition for Urban Transitions

Nick Godfrey is the Director of NCE's special initiative on cities, the Coalition for Urban Transitions. 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. 

Sebastian Keneally, Research and Engagement Coordinator 

Sebastian Keneally is the Research and Engagement Coordinator for the New Climate Economy project. He conducts research for the team's projects and supports the execution of on-going strategy. Sebastian's research interests lie in energy, economics, and policy issues. Prior to joining NCE, he served as a Financial Analyst for a small energy company as well as a Research Associate for Mitsubishi Coprporation Americas. Sebastian also interned for the Overseas Private Investment Company where he focused on Political Risk Insurance for a large spectrum of projects including many renewable energy investments. He has a Masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and a B.S. in Political Science from Santa Clara University. Sebastian is proficient in Arabic and Spanish. 

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.

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. 

Zhuo (Joy) Zhang 

Zhuo is an intern for the New Climate Economy project. She helps support the Communications and Engagement teams. Prior to joining NCE, Zhuo vounteered in Honduras to work on a microfinance project and did research in southern China on rural deveopment. She graduated from brandeis University, where she studied Economics and International & Global Study. Zhuo is currently purusing a Master's degree in International Political Economy with a specialization in Quantitative Methods at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Zhuo finds inspiration in diverse cultures, global communities, and social impact work. At SAIS, she also serves as the Director of Marketing and Conference Chair of the Global Women in Leadership club.