Thomas Heller

Thomas Heller

Chairman of the Board, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI)

As Chairman of the Board and Senior Strategic Advisor, Thomas C. Heller plays a critical role in all of CPI’s work programs, advising global leaders and directing strategy and analysis.

Heller founded CPI, and served as Executive Director from CPI’s start in 2009 until 2016. Under his direction, CPI has grown into a trusted global thought leader in climate finance, energy finance and land use. In climate finance, CPI has set the benchmark for tracking, as well as built and directed The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance. In energy 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.

Heller regularly speaks at high-profile events, and he has been a regular guest of the World Affairs Council, the Clinton Global Initiative, high-level COP side-events, the World Economic Forum, among others.

Before founding CPI, Heller was a professor at Stanford University for 30 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.