About EcoEquity

EcoEquity is a small, activist think tank that has had an outsized impact on the global climate equity debate.  It has done this primarily, but not exclusively, by way of its work on fair shares international effort sharing, via first the Greenhouse Development Rights project and, more recently, by way of its successor the Climate Equity Reference Project.

EcoEquity was founded in 1999 by Tom Athanasiou and Paul Baer.  Paul, as you may know, took his own life in September 2016.  See here for his memorial page.  His death was a blow, but the project is ongoing, as is this webpage, which functions both as a portal into EcoEquity’s work and as Tom Athanasiou’s climate equity blog.

EcoEquity is focused on political and theoretical work on climate solutions that are fair enough to actually work.  Through its participation in domestic and international networks of activists and scholars, it argues for emergency climate strategies that protect the poor, and more generally protect the rights of all people to dignified levels of just and sustainable development. This does not in any way imply a repudiation of realism.  It does mean the rejection of forced optimism, and a focus on approaches to the climate transition in which the politics of economic justice and the politics of emergency climate mobilization are one and the same.

EcoEquity works by emphasizing the importance of equity principles in all aspects of the policy response, by producing political and economic analyses that highlight equity issues, and by developing practical proposals for equitable climate policies.  Its focus has been on the international negotiations but we also promote domestic approaches to climate justice that explicitly and organically expand into the project of a just global transition.

EcoEquity has done a great deal,and much of its work — though not all — winds up, sooner or later, being reflected on this website.  Our greatest accomplishment has clearly been the development, along with colleagues at the Stockholm Environment Institute, of the Climate Equity Reference Framework.  You can find much more information about the CERP at its website at Climate Equity Reference Project.

EcoEquity is a virtual organization that lives as its projects and its partnerships, and as this website, which is curated by Tom Athanasiou, who is EcoEquity’s Executive Director.  It is project of the Earth Island Institute, which supports it in all matters organizational and financial.

Tom Athanasiou is a climate-equity specialist.  He directs EcoEquity, co-ordinates the international Climate Action Network’s Equity Working Group, and co-directs the Climate Equity Reference Project, a long-term modeling and analysis initiative designed to advance equity as a driver of extremely ambitious global climate mobilization.  His principle goal is to ensure that the global climate transition is fair enough, and ambitious enough, to actually succeed.

In a former life, Tom was a programmer; he worked for decades at Sun Microsystems.  He’s been active in the climate negotiations for far longer than he cares to admit.  As a writer, he is the author of Divided Planet: the Ecology of Rich and Poor, and the co-author of Dead Heat: Global Justice and Global Warming and Greenhouse Development Rights: The Right to Development in a Climate Constrained World.

Contact information


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Berkeley, CA 94704-1302 USA