JUDGING PANEL

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Dr. Achala Abeysinghe,

Head of Global Climate Law, Policy and Governance (IIED)

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Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel,

Senior Climate Scientist, Director of Climate Science (UCS)

Gebru Jember Endalew,

2017-19 Chair, Least-Developed Countries (UNFCCC)

George Polk,

Managing Partner, Tulum Trust

Johnathan Silver,

Tax Equity Investors, LCC

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Dr. Lucas Joppa,

Chief Environmental Officer

Qi Ye,

Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy (BTC)

Dr. Achala Abeysinghe

Dr. Achala Abeysinghe currently works with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) as Head of Global Climate Law, Policy and Governance team. She also leads the climate diplomacy programme of IIED and the Training and Support Programme of the European Capacity Building Initiative. Dr. Abeysinghe is also the chief legal, technical and strategy adviser to the Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group for the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She has been in this role for last eight consecutive years, advising six Chairpersonships of the LDC Group, advising the Gambia, Nepal, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and currently Bhutan. In this role, she has led the design and implementation of the LDC Group strategy for UNFCCC negotiations and played a key role in the Paris Agreement negotiations. Dr. Abeysinghe was also a lead author for the 5th Assessment report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr. Abeysinghe advises various climate related bodies including the Mission2020 led by Former UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figures. In 2015, Dr. Abeysinghe was recognised as one of the top 15 female climate champions in the world by University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel

Senior Climate Scientist, Director of Climate Science

Brenda Ekwurzel is a senior climate scientist and the director of climate science for the Climate & Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In her role, she ensures that program analyses reflect robust and relevant climate science, and researches the influence of major carbon producers on rising global average temperatures and sea level. Dr. Ekwurzel is a co-author of the fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) Volume II. She presents frequently to a range of audiences on climate science, educating the public on practical, achievable solutions for climate change. Prior to joining UCS, Dr. Ekwurzel was on the faculty of the University of Arizona in their department of hydrology and water resources, with a joint appointment in the geosciences department. She has studied climate variability in places as disparate as the Arctic—where her research brought her to the North Pole—and the desert Southwest. Earlier in her career, Dr. Ekwurzel was a hydrologist, working with communities to protect groundwater source Dr. Ekwurzel earned a B.S. in geology from Smith College, and an M.S. in geoscience from Rutgers University. She holds a Ph.D. in isotope geochemistry from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and conducted post-doctoral research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in California. A widely quoted expert on climate change, Dr. Ekwurzel co-authored the UCS guide Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living. In 2016, she was named a AAAS fellow, and cited for her “distinguished contributions to analysis and outreach aimed at strengthening support for sound U.S. climate policies, and making the science of climate change accessible to diverse audiences.” She has appeared on ABC News, CBS News, Good Morning America, CNN, the Fox News Channel, NPR, and The Colbert Report, and has been cited by the Washington Post, USA Today, the Associated Press and Reuters.

Gebru Jember Endalew,

Chair, Least-Developed Countries Group, INFCCC

As a delegate of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Endalew has been involved in negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change since 2008. Having been a core team member of the Ethiopian Negotiating team, he was elected Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group in the climate change negotiations process for a two-year term, beginning in January 2017.

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Dr. Richard G. Newell

President and CEO of Resources for the Future (RFF)

George Polk,

Managing Partner, Tulum Trust

George Polk is the Managing Partner of Tulum Trust, a private equity firm which manages private equity investments on behalf a small number of large family offices with a focus on generating excellent returns while having a meaningful impact on climate change. Prior to Tulum, George worked with George Soros and was Senior Advisor on Climate Change to McKinsey. For most of his career, George was a technology entrepreneur, most recently founder and CEO of The Cloud, the leading broadband wireless network operator in Europe, which was sold to Sky/News Corporation. George has also founded a number of non-profit organizations and initiatives, including European Climate Foundation and the Carbon War Room, and is currently on the board of the Rocky Mountain Institute. George was recognized as Global Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.

Johnathan Silver,

Tax Equity Investors, LLC

Mr. Silver is one of the country's leading clean energy investors and advisors. He is the Managing Partner of Tax Equity Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor with $400 million AUM, investing in solar projects on behalf of large US companies and also serves as an advisor to several of the country's largest renewables investors, bankers and owners.

Dr. Lucas Joppa

Microsoft’s first Chief Environmental Officer

Dr. Lucas Joppa serves as Microsoft’s first Chief Environmental Officer, where he manages the company’s overall environmental sustainability efforts – from ensuring core operational excellence and policy advances to deploying advanced technology solutions to environmental challenges. Dr. Joppa’s career blends together environmental science research with technology innovation, people and project management, strategy formulation and implementation, and marketing and communications. He is motivated by the urgent need to transform the way society monitors, models, and ultimately manages Earth’s natural resources. Listed as one of Microsoft’s AI Thought Leaders, Dr. Joppa also founded and leads Microsoft’s 5-year $50m AI for Earth program, a cross-company effort dedicated to delivering scalable AI technologies in the four key areas of climate change, agriculture, water, and biodiversity conservation. Prior to serving in his current role, Lucas was the Chief Environmental Scientist for Microsoft and led research programs at the intersection of environmental and computer sciences in Microsoft Research, Microsoft’s blue-sky research division. Lucas remains an active scientist, frequently publishing in leading academic journals such as Science and Nature while also serving as a spokesperson for Microsoft on issues related to AI, environmental science, and sustainability in popular TV, print, and digital media outlets. Lucas also serves on numerous institutional boards and committees, advising a broad array of public and private organizations on environmental issues. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Lucas has a BS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in Ecology from Duke University.

Qi Ye

Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy (BTC)

Qi Ye, a leading expert on China"s environmental policy, is a senior fellow and director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy (BTC) in Beijing. His research focuses on China"s policies on climate change, environment, energy, natural resources, and urbanization. His recent work examines low carbon development in China, including an annual report analyzing how China is balancing its economic growth and environmental challenges. Qi also headed up the design of China's first low carbon development plan for the city of Baoding in Hebei Province. Along with his duties as BTC director, Qi serves as the Cheung Kong Professor of Environmental Policy and Management at Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management. He is principal investigator and chief editor of the Annual Review of Low Carbon Development in China which has been published in both English and Chinese since 2010.

Robin L. Newmark,

Executive Director, Strategic

Dr. Richard G. Newell

President and CEO of Resources for the Future (RFF)

Dr. Richard G. Newell is the President and CEO of Resources for the Future (RFF), an independent, nonprofit research institution that improves environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the administrator of the US Energy Information Administration, the agency responsible for official US government energy statistics and analysis. Dr. Newell is an adjunct professor at Duke University, where he was previously the Gendell Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics and founding director of its Energy Initiative and Energy Data Analytics Lab. He has also served as the senior economist for energy and environment on the President's Council of Economic Advisers and was a senior fellow, and later a board member, at RFF. Dr. Newell has published widely on the economics of markets and policies for energy and the environment, including issues surrounding global climate change, energy efficiency, and energy innovation. He has provided expert advice to many institutions, such as the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the International Energy Forum, and is a member of the National Petroleum Council.

Robin L. Newmark,

Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives, US Dept. of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

Robin L. Newmark brings over 30 years experience across the energy and environment innovation ecosystem, most recently working at the intersection of technology and policy. Currently Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), she has led or contributed to programs involving energy, climate and water issues, including the interdependence of water and energy systems. Prior to joining NREL, Dr. Newmark was at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she conducted research focused on energy, environment and national security. Newmark is a Fellow of research institutes in Colorado and California and was a lead author for the U.S. Climate Assessment. Among her awards are the U.S. EPAs Outstanding Remediation Technology Innovation Award and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Recognition Award. Dr. Newmark received a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Phi Beta Kappa), a M.S. from the University of California at Santa Cruz, an M.Phil and a Ph.D from Columbia University.