Durwood Zaelke is founder and President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) in Washington, DC and Geneva, where he focuses on fast-action mitigation strategies for protecting the climate, including strengthening the Montreal Protocol by phasing out production and consumption of HFCs with high global warming potential, as well as reducing air pollution and other short-live climate pollutants (black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and methane), which collectively can cut the rate of global warming in half and the rate of warming in the Arctic by two-thirds. IGSD’s fast-action mitigation program was first described in Mario Molina, Durwood Zaelke, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Stephen O. Andersen, & Donald Kaniaru (2009), Reducing abrupt climate change risk using the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).

Mr. Zaelke is also co-founder and co-Director of the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara. He was co-founder and President of the Center for International Environmental Law in Washington, DC and Geneva (1989-2003); co-founder and board member (1989-2004) of the Foundation for International Environmental Law & Development in London (formerly CIEL-UK); founder and director (1990-2004) of the International & Comparative Environmental Law Program at the Washington College of Law, American University; founder and director (1988-89) of the International Program at Earth Justice (formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund); director of the Alaska and DC office of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (1980-89); co-founder of the Policy, Legislation & Special Litigation Section, and founder of the Energy Conservation Section (disbanded by a subsequent administration), both in the Environmental Division of the Justice Department (1978-80). He also was a partner in Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel & Mason, a national litigation firm (2003-2015), and Director of the Secretariat for the International Network for Environmental Compliance & Enforcement (2001-2015).

Mr. Zaelke currently co-teaches Climate Justice at UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.  He also has taught at Yale Law School, Duke Law School’s Brussel’s program, Johns Hopkins University, and American University’s Washington School of Law, including in their program in Paris and Geneva, which he co-founded.  He is a graduate of Duke Law School (1972), where he was an Editor of the Duke Law Journal, and UCLA (1969), and member of the bar in California, Washington, DC, and Alaska. Mr. Zaelke received both an Ozone Protection Award and a Climate Protection Award in 2008 for his contribution to the successful effort to maximize the climate benefits of the Montreal Protocol. He is the author of the leading textbook on International Environmental Law & Policy (Foundation Press 5th ed., 2015) (with Hunter & Salzman). He also is the author or editor of several other books and articles including:


Mr. Zaelke also is the author or co-author of several Op-Ed’s, including: