Durwood Zaelke is founder and President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) in Washington, DC and Paris, focusing on fast mitigation strategies that avoid maximum warming in the next decade to slow climate feedbacks and reduce the risk of passing tipping points. This includes strengthening the Montreal Protocol, starting with the Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs, while also improving efficiency of cooling equipment, which together can avoid up to 460 billion tons of CO2e by 2060 and up to 0.5°C of warming by 2100. IGSD’s fast mitigation strategies also include reducing all short-lived climate pollutants (black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and methane).
Prior to IGSD, Zaelke co-founded and served as President of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) in Washington, DC and Geneva (1989-2003); was founder and director of the International & Comparative Environmental Law Program at the Washington College of Law, American University (1990-2004); founder and director of the International Program at EarthJustice (formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) (1988-89), and director of their Alaska and DC offices (1980-89); and Director of the Secretariat for the International Network for Environmental Compliance & Enforcement (2001-2015).
Zaelke co-founded the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara, and is the author of International Environmental Law & Policy (with Hunter & Salzman) (6th ed. forthcoming). He is a graduate of Duke Law School (1972) and UCLA (1969). He received the UN Ozone Political Leadership Award in 2017, as well as their Scientific Leadership Award, for his work helping achieve the Kigali Amendment. He received the Climate Protection Award in 2008 from the US EPA, as well as their Ozone Protection Award, for his work accelerating the phaseout of HCFC under the Montreal Protocol explicitly for climate protection.
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