Leadership

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee sets the vision and strategic direction for the Alliance.

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Brett KenCairn

City of Boulder’s Senior Policy Advisor for Climate, Sustainability & Resilience

Brett serves as the city of Boulder’s Senior Policy Advisor for Climate, Sustainability & Resilience. His primary responsibility is the ongoing evolution of the city’s climate action initiatives. He is also a team member on the city’s renewable energy strategy and action team. He currently manages a number of program areas including the city’s energy resilience project portfolio and the Building Electrification initiative. Prior to working for the city, Brett worked across the western US in community-based sustainable development, working in both rural, Native American and other communities in transition across the western US. He also is the founder or co-founder of four non-profits and two for-profits including the Rogue River Institute for Ecology and Economy, Veterans Green Jobs, and Community Energy Systems.

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Jørgen Abildgaard

Executive Climate Project Director, City of Copenhagen

 

Since 2010 Jørgen has worked as Project Director for the 2025 Carbon Neutral strategy and plan for the City of Copenhagen. Jørgen is an experienced project manager and strategic adviser. He has worked on several projects in Denmark, Nordic Countries and internationally for companies, organizations and governmental administration. Jørgen has worked with a wide range of energy and climate change tasks, development and implementation of strategies and plans, strategic energy planning, green growth, sustainability, energy efficiency and retrofitting of buildings, research and development and new financial models. From 2002 to 2010 Jørgen was director in the Nordic consultancy companies ECON and Poyry Management Consulting Denmark. Before that, Jørgen worked 2 year as special adviser for the former Danish Minister for Environment and Energy, Mr. Svend Auken and before that as adviser in several positions in the Danish Ministry for Energy. Jørgen have an extensive national and international network in cities, companies, universities and organizations. Jørgen holds a master in Urban Planning from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture and a B.sc. Commerce in Organization and Management from Copenhagen Business School. LinkedIn.

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Deb Cailes

Manager, Urban Sustainability, City of Melbourne

Deb Cailes has worked with the City of Melbourne since 2016, where she started managing Capital Works and moved into the role of Manager of Urban Sustainability in January 2018. Deb’s purpose with the Urban Sustainability Branch is to imagine and realize a thriving and resilient city, underpinned by a commitment to the custodianship of the municipality. As the Manager, Deb provides leadership and innovation to the City of Melbourne in a changing climate with urban growth by guiding the City’s evolution towards a zero carbon, healthy environment that people love to live, work, and play in. Being passionate about the environment and having a broad executive leadership history, Deb has translated her science training towards value and optimization in many different industries. Believing in empowerment, Deb focuses on building strong teams and well-designed systems that encourage positive participation and enable organizational performance.

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Morten Nordskag

City of Oslo’s Special Adviser, International Climate Cooperation

Morten Nordskag is Special Adviser – International Climate Cooperation for the City of Oslo, Department for Environment and Transport. His responsibilities includes managing the the City Administration’s international climate and environment engagement, including representing Oslo and managing participation in CNCA, C40, ICLEI, and Eurocities. As part of the Climate Unit, he is also closely involved in developing climate mitigation and adaptation policies and measures. He has previously held positions with the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment as Policy Director for Multilateral cooperation on REDD+, served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of the Environment, and senior adviser on trade and environment. He was also Environment Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to UNEP and UN-HABITAT at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Nairobi, and has been involved in developing government policy on CSR for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has a background in environmental policy and international relations from the University of Oslo.

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Michele Crim

Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Portland, Oregon

Michele has over 20 years of experience in the environmental field, with deep expertise in the areas of climate action planning, resilience, pollution prevention, sustainable operations, and alternative transportation fuels. As Portland’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Michele leads 40+ staff in the development and implementation of policies and programs focused on climate action, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and renewables, emerging mobility, green building, business assistance, and community outreach and engagement. Michele led the development of Portland’s award winning Climate Action Plan (2015) and seeks to ensure Portland’s marginalized communities reap the benefits of those efforts. Michele has a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Regional Planning from Washington State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geology from the University of North Dakota.

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Jessica Finn Coven

Director of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment

Jessica Finn Coven serves as the Director of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment. The Office collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders to develop innovative environmental solutions that foster equitable, vibrant communities and shared prosperity.

Jessica previously served as the Washington State Director of Climate Solutions where her work focused on developing legislative and policy strategies to reduce global warming pollution and grow an equitable clean-energy economy in Washington State. Jessica first joined Climate Solutions in 2007 as a policy specialist and worked to further clean energy policy in Washington through the state’s Energy Independence Act, Climate Action and Green Jobs law and others.

Jessica also worked as the program director for the U.S. Climate Action Network. From 2002- 2005, she was a global warming campaigner for Greenpeace in Washington DC. She also spent several months working in Beijing as a policy advisor for Greenpeace China.

Jessica received her MA in economics and energy policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and her BA in Mandarin from Barnard College, Columbia University. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two young children

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Doug Smith

Director of Sustainability for the City of Vancouver

Doug Smith is the Director of Sustainability for the City of Vancouver and his portfolio includes the Greenest City Action Plan, the Renewable City Strategy, the Green Operations Plan and the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. Doug represents the City of Vancouver internationally through many networks including the USDN, CNCA, C40, ICLEI and other partners. He has managed many areas in his 26 years at the City of Vancouver including Emergency Management, Structures, Greenways and Equipment Services. This broad municipal experience allows Doug to support Vancouver’s sustainability goals across many of Vancouver priority sectors such as Healthy Cities, Emergency Planning and Resiliency.

Innovation Committee

The Innovation Committee oversees the review and selection of projects funded by the CNCA Innovation Fund.

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James Hardy

Senior Manager – Energy and Climate Change, Greater London Authority

James Hardy is currently a Senior Manager within the Greater London Authority Environment Unit, directing the Mayor’s flagship Energy for Londoners programme, comprising of energy efficiency, fuel poverty and solar delivery, and the establishment of an energy supply company for London. James previously worked for the UK Government for over a decade as a senior strategist on energy and climate change and played a pivotal role in developing the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s first overarching strategies (notably, the Low Carbon Transition Plan in 2009 and Carbon Plan in 2011). He also led on national heat and clean coal policy and was involved in the development of the UK’s award-winning 2050 Energy Pathways Calculator. From 2012, James was the Head of Strategy within the International Climate Change Directorate and UK delegation to the UNFCCC. Between 2006 and 2008 James was a senior policy manager in the team that devised the UK Climate Change Act and he led on the creation of UK’s Committee on Climate Change. James is also an ad-hoc adviser on sustainability to several UK-based organisations.

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Pedro Rolim

Manager of Sustainability and Resilience, City Hall Executive Office of the City of Rio de Janeiro

An Architect and Urbanist, Pedro has developed numerous urbanization works in Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and Paraíba (Brazil).

At the Municipal Secretariat of Urbanism (2008-2018), he worked on the review of the City Master Plan, the Rio 2016 Urban and Environmental Legacy Plan and was Head of Social Interest Programs, working with social and urbanistic orientations in favelas and informal communities. He also acted as Coordinator of Qualiverde Qualification, a city hall program to encourage sustainable construction in the municipality, and managed the elaboration of the Sustainable Building Code.

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Björn Hugosson

Head of the Climate Unit at the City of Stockholm Executive Office

Björn Hugosson works since 2016 as Head of the Climate Unit at the City of Stockholm Executive Office. His main responsibility is the management of all climate related action within the municipal administrations and companies. This includes mitigation of greenhouse gases as well as adaption to a changing climate. Before that, Björn Hugosson has had positions as consultant and group manager at WSP Sweden as well as international project manager at the City of Stockholm Environment Administration. He has a Master of Science degree in Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Björn Hugosson often acts as speaker, moderator, writer and thought-leader in the field of sustainable development, with special focus on cities, transport and climate action.

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Nik Midlam

Manager Carbon Strategy, City of Sydney

 

Nik Midlam is Manager of Carbon Strategy having worked with the City of Sydney since 2002. Nik was involved in developing, and now delivering on the City’s ambitious targets for climate change and renewable energy. Emissions today are 19 per cent below 2006 levels (while economic growth and other prosperity indicators continue to grow).

Nik is an advocate for energy sufficiency and energy from the sun, wind or water that keeps on replenishing itself without pollution. He is part of a growing cohort world-wide that is supporting the technological advancements, regulations, innovations and incentives toward zero emissions across all sectors of our economy.

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Kate Johnson

Green Building and Climate Branch Chief, Washington, DC Department of Energy and Environment

Kate Johnson is the Chief of the Green Building and Climate Branch in the Urban
Sustainability Administration at the District of Columbia Department of Energy &
Environment, where she is responsible for policies and programs related to green building,
climate change, and resilience. Her team leads the implementation of Climate Ready DC, the
District’s plan to prepare for the impacts of climate change and the development of the
District’s plan to meet its commitment to carbon neutrality. Prior to joining DOEE, Kate
worked for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, providing technical
assistance and policy support for local energy efficiency programs.

Game Changer Committee

The Game Changer Committee guides the development of CNCA's new Game Changer Project.

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Simon Wyke

Principal Policy and Programme Officer (Energy) – Greater London Authority

Simon has been working in the environmental field since 1997 and has considerable experience of working across a range of environmental issues and sectors, including energy. He is currently a Principal Policy and Programme Officer working on Energy and Climate Change Mitigation from a policy, strategic and programme development perspective. His main area of work is currently in district energy but he is also involved in energy efficiency, spatial planning, finance and the low carbon circular economy. Previously, he worked for the London Development Agency where, amongst other projects, he was involved in establishing the London Green Fund as part of the 2007-13 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide investment in environmental infrastructure aimed at helping London meet its carbon reduction target.

Pedro Rolim tile-image

Pedro Rolim

Manager of Sustainability and Resilience, City Hall Executive Office of the City of Rio de Janeiro

An Architect and Urbanist, Pedro has developed numerous urbanization works in Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and Paraíba (Brazil).

At the Municipal Secretariat of Urbanism (2008-2018), he worked on the review of the City Master Plan, the Rio 2016 Urban and Environmental Legacy Plan and was Head of Social Interest Programs, working with social and urbanistic orientations in favelas and informal communities. He also acted as Coordinator of Qualiverde Qualification, a city hall program to encourage sustainable construction in the municipality, and managed the elaboration of the Sustainable Building Code.

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Debbie Raphael

Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment

Debbie Raphael is the Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment and believes that cities can take bold action to address environmental harm. A scientist by training and public servant by profession, Debbie has spent more than twenty years working in government to ensure that everyone has an equal right to a safe and healthy environment.  As Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Debbie sees herself as both a leader and a collaborator around environmental issues. She works in close partnership with other City agencies and community stakeholders to implement San Francisco’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals while advancing policies and programs that are inclusive of diverse communities and build on the city’s innovative and pioneering spirit. Debbie holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Physiological Plant Ecology from UCLA.

Björn Hugosson tile-image

Björn Hugosson

Head of the Climate Unit at the City of Stockholm Executive Office

Björn Hugosson works since 2016 as Head of the Climate Unit at the City of Stockholm Executive Office. His main responsibility is the management of all climate related action within the municipal administrations and companies. This includes mitigation of greenhouse gases as well as adaption to a changing climate. Before that, Björn Hugosson has had positions as consultant and group manager at WSP Sweden as well as international project manager at the City of Stockholm Environment Administration. He has a Master of Science degree in Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Björn Hugosson often acts as speaker, moderator, writer and thought-leader in the field of sustainable development, with special focus on cities, transport and climate action.

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Chris Derksema

Sustainability Director, City of Sydney Council, Australia

Chris played an integral role in the development of Sustainable Sydney 2030, a vision for Sydney’s future, and is now responsible for developing and implementing strategy and actions to achieve ambitious environmental and climate change goals. Chris is a strong believer in the ability to create broad community value through environmental action and that cities as the home to the majority of people in the world, are critical to achieving global climate goals. Under Chris’s direction, City of Sydney was Australia’s first carbon neutral government organization. Prior to working at the City, Chris was the founding Technical Manager at the Green Building Council of Australia. Chris has an Environment Engineering Degree, and Executive MBA and is a recipient of the Vincent Fairfax Leadership and Ethics Award.

Staff

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Johanna Partin

Director

Prior to joining USDN in January 2015, Johanna served as North America Regional Director for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Prior to that, Johanna served as Senior Policy Advisor on Environment to San Francisco Mayors Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee, where she developed and implemented policy on sustainable energy, climate, transportation, green building, and other programs. She also served on the Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and is a Faculty Member for the Climate Leadership Academy. She has a Master’s degree in Energy & Environmental Policy from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara.

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Trude Rauken

Strategic Initiatives Director

Trude Rauken in the director of the strategic initiative for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance where she leads the implementation of key Alliance strategies and programs. Prior to joining the CNCA, Trude worked as a senior policy advisor on climate to the City of Oslo, and prior to that she was a senior researcher at CICERO – Center for Climate Research. Trude brings expert knowledge on the role of local government in solving climate issues and the opportunities coming from network collaboration across local government. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Economy from BI Norwegian School of Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication from University of Oregon.

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Michael Shank

Communications Director

Michael Shank is the communications director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. In this role, Michael supports alliance and network members’ efforts to communicate ambitious climate action to the public, the press and other policymakers. As a climate communicator, Michael’s past clients include the United Nations and its member states, the U.S. Congress and Administration, and the Vatican, as well as leaders in the subnational space, such as the B Team, We Mean Business, Under 2 MOU and The Climate Group. Michael’s Ph.D. is in climate conflict; he teaches sustainable development and climate security graduate classes at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs.

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Michael Battista

Program Coordinator

Michael Battista is the Program Coordinator for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance where he provides support for communications, events, operations, and research. In his previous role as Project Coordinator in the School of Graduate Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology, he supported the programs of Global Fashion Management and Sustainable Interior Environments, producing media, and managing student and alumni relations, special events, and international seminars. Prior to joining FIT, he was the Executive Assistant and Engagement Manager for All Out, a digital campaign advocacy organization for LGBT equality operating in rapid response to the news cycle, and served in roles for the Offices of Protocol and Climate Protection Initiatives of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. He has an Associate degree in Communications and Media Arts from the State University of New York at Rockland, and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University.