Denise Fairchild

United States
Award Year 2021
A veteran leader in environmental justice and community development, Denise Fairchild is dedicated to untangling the multidisciplinary root causes of climate change. SELECTION AND BREAKTHROUGH STRATEGIES Denise Fairchild exemplifies the key qualities of a Climate Breakthrough Awardee: ambition, a strategic mind, systems-changing thinking, and a track record of effecting change. Denise is president emeritus of Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC), a network of key U.S. nonprofits coalescing to advance
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Kathrin Gutmann

Germany
Award Year 2021
Kathrin Gutmann is an ambitious climate strategist looking to push Europe towards a future that is not only coal-free but completely fossil-free and fully powered by renewable energy, transformed in a just and socially fair way, by putting people, communities, and nature at the center.  SELECTION AND BREAKTHROUGH STRATEGIES Kathrin Gutmann displays the characteristics of an expert strategist and a skillful leader, publicly and behind the scenes. Under
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Sara Jane Ahmed

The Philippines
Award Year 2021
Sara Jane Ahmed is a finance advisor and strategist who sees transitioning to a resilient and clean energy economy as the path to prosperity for the countries most vulnerable to climate change.  SELECTION AND BREAKTHROUGH STRATEGIES Few people have Sara’s ability to dive deeply into the technical while continuing to foster and strengthen a larger vision. Sara has deep expertise in financial and energy markets and uses this
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Mohamed Adow

Mohamed Adow

Kenya
Award Year 2020
Mohamed Adow is an international climate policy expert and ardent advocate for the people of developing nations—who are disproportionately affected by climate change but play almost no role in causing it. Hailing from a pastoralist community in Northern Kenya that faces increasing droughts, Adow’s experience on the frontlines of the climate crisis anchors his work as a voice for those most vulnerable to climate change. He
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Nicole Rycroft

Nicole Rycroft

Canada
Award Year 2020
Nicole Rycroft is an accomplished environmental activist, an Ashoka Fellow, and, unusually, a former physiotherapist and elite rower. A systems thinker, she confronts the world’s rapid and dangerous destruction of forests with the same holistic, solutions-focused perspective she once used to address the root cause of symptoms in a patient.  Over the last two decades, as the Founder and Executive Director of the Canada-based NGO Canopy, Nicole
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Arief Rabik

Indonesia
Award Year 2019
Arief Rabik is the director of Indonesia’s Environmental Bamboo Foundation and the founder of the 1000 Bamboo Villages project, which aims to create economic viability for the use of bamboo agroforestry to sequester CO2 and restore degraded tropical forest lands in dozens of countries. Arief is an expert in bamboo cultivation, value added processing, and brokering public and private support and investment in village-level bamboo production. Bamboo
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Nguy Thi Khanh

Vietnam
Award Year 2019
Nguy Thi Khanh is a pioneer leader of Vietnam’s environmental movement and has played an instrumental role in shifting Vietnam from coal and towards renewables and energy efficiency. Khanh’s breakthrough strategy will focus on accelerating Vietnam’s clean energy economy, safeguarding clean air and water for public health, and sharing lessons with partners in Southeast Asia to usher in a clean energy era for the region. In 2011 the
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Sebastián Kind

Argentina
Award Year 2019
As the Undersecretary for Renewable Energy in Argentina, Sebastián was the architect and primary driver of Argentina’s RenovAr program, which has attracted over $7.4 billion USD in clean energy investments resulting in more than 4.5GW of new renewable energy development in its first three years. Sebastián’s vision is to adapt this model to finance renewable energy in emerging markets that can’t currently access global capital investments. At the
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Tzeporah Berman

Canada
Award Year 2019
Tzeporah Berman has a long record of leading and winning major environmental campaigns and negotiating significant policy victories. Now she is focused on curtailing the global oil and gas supply. She was a creator and lead negotiator of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement that protected 6 million hectares of old growth forests, co-founded Stand.earth (previously ForestEthics), and was co-director of Greenpeace’s Global Climate and Energy program
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Tessa Khan

UK
Award Year 2018
Tessa began her work as an awardee focused on using the law as a tool to dramatically increase national climate mitigation ambition. The Climate Litigation Network (CLN), which she co-founded, supports litigation and movement building as mutually reinforcing elements of a broader effort to bring unprecedented pressure on national governments to take action on climate. As a result of CLN, four OECD countries (the Netherlands, Ireland,
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Bruce Nilles

United States
Award Year 2018
Founder and lead strategist of the Beyond Coal Campaign, before receiving his Climate Breakthrough Award, Bruce’s efforts secured the retirement of over half the United States’ coal fleet. When selected for an award, he decided to shift his attention to eliminating natural gas and its impacts on air quality from U.S. buildings and homes, focusing on states accounting for 58% of consumption. He launched the electrification
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Yang Fuqiang

China
Award Year 2017
Fuqiang finished his Climate Breakthrough tenure this year. Selected in 2017, he used his award to mainstream within the policy and business circles the idea of capping oil consumption in China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas producer. His strategy also made critical contributions to electric vehicle development, resulting in government-led regional pilots to test a ban on ICE vehicle sales. With his team, he is continuing
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John Hepburn

Australia
Award Year 2016
John is Executive Director of The Sunrise Project. He used his Climate Breakthrough Award to launch Insure Our Future, a global campaign to hold the insurance industry accountable for its role in the climate crisis. John built a coalition of organizations to pressure insurance and reinsurance companies to stop underwriting and investing in coal. By just the end of 2017, 15 major insurers had divested US$20 billion
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May Mei

China
Award Year 2016
May is the founder of GoalBlue, a Chinese startup NGO that aims to spark lasting low-carbon dietary and lifestyle trends among China’s rapidly growing middle class, urban, and millennial populations. Her Climate Breakthrough Award strategy was to engage urban and millennial populations in China via massive awareness-building campaigns to reduce meat consumption, plastic packaging, and food waste. With her award, May’s organization, GoalBlue, influenced and reached around
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