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Thomas C. Heller

San Francisco

Subject Expertise
  • CLIMATE policy
  • energy policy
  • land use
  • international climate negotiations
  • finance
  • carbon markets
  • international affairs

Thomas C. Heller

Executive Director

Thomas C. Heller founded and has served as Executive Director of Climate Policy Initiative since its start in 2009. Under his direction, CPI has become a trusted global thought leader in climate finance, energy finance, and land use. The Global Landscape of Climate Finance, CPI’s annual inventory of global climate finance flows, is the most comprehensive mapping of climate finance available, and served as the basis for the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group 3 report chapter on climate finance. CPI works with governments, businesses, investors, and foundations around the world to maximize the financial benefits of transitioning to a low-carbon energy system. CPI has also pioneered a production and protection strategy to land use management of carbon rich areas, which seeks opportunities to improve agricultural productivity while also protecting vital carbon stocks.

Before founding CPI, Heller was a professor at Stanford University for thirty years, serving as the Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies, Senior Fellow at the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. An expert in law, economic development, and the performance of legal institutions, Professor Heller has focused his research on the rule of law, international climate control, global energy use, and the interaction of government and nongovernmental organizations in establishing legal structures in the developing world. Since 1991, Heller has been increasingly engaged in research and applied policy studies in energy and climate, with a principal concern regarding developments in China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and other leading emerging markets. He was a contributing lead author for the IPCC on the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports, as well as a contributor to the Special Reports on Technology Transfer and Emissions Scenarios. In 2008, Heller became a core team member directing Project Catalyst – an analysis-based project in support of the Copenhagen Climate process. Since March 2010, Professor Heller has also acted as the Vice-Chair of the Governing Board of the Global Green Growth Institute, with headquarters in Seoul, Korea. Professor Heller has a B.A. from Princeton University and an L.L.B. from Yale Law School.

  • Vice-Chair of the Governing Board, Global Green Growth Institute (current)
  • Advisor, UN Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing (AGF)
  • Core Team Member, Project Catalyst
  • Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies, Stanford University
  • Senior Fellow, Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
  • Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University
  • LLB, Yale Law School
  • BA, Princeton University

Heller, Thomas C. 2009. “Afterword: Reflections on a Path to Effective Climate Change Mitigation” in Climate Finance: Regulatory and Funding Strategies for Climate Change and Global Development. Richard Stewart, Benedict Kingsbury, Bryce Rudyk, eds. New York: New York University Press.

Heller, Thomas C. and David G. Victor. 2007. Political Economy of Power Sector Reform: The Experiences of Five Major Developing Countries. Cambridge University Press.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007. Cambridge University Press. (Contributing lead author)

Jensen, Erik and Thomas Heller, eds. 2003. Beyond Common Knowledge: Empirical Approaches to the Rule of Law. Stanford University Press.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2001. IPCC Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001. Cambridge University Press. (Contributing lead author, “Summary for Policymakers”)