A lifetime of mobilizing global action to address climate change was recognized April 25, when the American Carbon Registry (ACR) honored Jonathan Pershing with its annual Climate Leadership award, one of several awards presented at ACR’s annual gala reception in Los Angeles.
“The impacts of climate change are becoming ever more severe and widespread, from wildfires in California to floods in the Midwest, to droughts in Australia to unprecedented and powerful cyclones in Africa and Asia,” Pershing said as he accepted the award. “Solving the problem and avoiding even more dire future consequences is going to require us all to pull together, with markets, investors, governments and civil society all working collectively for the greatest impact.”
A scientist by training, Pershing was an early contributor to technical reports by the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Later, he played an instrumental role in brokering the 2015 Paris climate agreement as U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change. Taking over as U.S. special envoy after Paris, he oversaw the early implementation of the agreement. Pershing currently leads a team of grantmakers focused on climate change across the world as program director of environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Mobilizing capital for action has been a hallmark of Pershing’s career. Before Paris, he was the key architect of the Department of Energy’s “Mission Innovation” commitment to double climate and clean energy research and development budgets. His ability to analyze data and to inspire others has brought together business leaders, civil society, governments and investors.
The belief that markets are the most effective path to mobilize actions to reduce emissions is shared by the nonprofit American Carbon Registry (ACR). Implemented by Winrock International, ACR is a leading carbon offset program recognized for its strong standards of environmental integrity and its quest to innovate. Solving climate change, Pershing said, will require greater transparency and a collective commitment to environmental integrity.
“ACR’s leadership in this arena is important, not only for the market stability and legitimacy it provides, but also for the model it sets globally for a pivotal element of the future climate solution,” he said.