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Samantha J Smith

Director, Just Transition Centre

Samantha Smith is a lawyer by training and a passionate climate advocate by choice. As the leader of the WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative, she leads from the front to influence global policy and actions related to climate change and energy.

She has worked on climate change issues for several decades, starting her professional career as a corporate litigation attorney in the US, with an emphasis on securities and environmental matters. A move to Norway led her to join one of the world’s largest environmental organisations, WWF. As director of its Arctic programme, she spent a decade observing and experiencing the impact of climate change first-hand. She moved into the private sector for a period, working in senior positions for the Norwegian energy company Statoil within its New Energy division, developing wind power and CO2 projects.

The pull of environmental activism beckoned and she re-joined WWF in 2011 as the leader of its newly-established Global Climate & Energy Initiative. Through this programme, WWF aims to help build a political alliance which will implement the essential cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to ensure global warming does not exceed 2°C. In this position, Ms Smith has represented the WWF in many high-level processes and media.

Ms. Smith has degrees in history and law from the University of California, Berkeley. She has participated in numerous expert groups and task forces, and received awards for community service and academic achievement.

Let's Make History on April 22

Remember this number: 1.5 degrees. That's the upper limit for global warming that our governments will try to stay under, as agreed at the global climate negotiations in Paris last year. Everything all of us do from this point on will be measured against it.
25/03/2016 16:24 GMT

How Not Cutting Trees Has Become One of the World's Most Successful Climate Efforts

We are only a few weeks away from the COP21 climate summit in Paris. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 11 per cent of global carbon emissions come from deforestation. That is about the same amount as the emissions from all the world's cars. Efforts to stop deforestation are more important than ever.
16/11/2015 10:19 GMT

Getting Our Stories Straight at COP 20 in Lima

There's a revolution going on outside the halls of the UN's COP 20 climate change talks in Lima, Peru. Industry is taking action on climate change. People are taking to the streets. The weather is changing...
05/12/2014 14:08 GMT

Climate Change: Apocalypse Now and the Trillion Dollar Challenge

You may have seen apocalyptic headlines in the press recently. Headlines warning that climate change will be felt 'on all continents and across the oceans', and that the world faces a 'violent, sicker, poorer future'. Well stay with me, and I'll explain why we might not be facing 'apocalypse now'.
04/04/2014 13:56 BST

Climate Change Impacts Everything

Climate change impacts everything, everywhere. It threatens to undo everything that conservation organizations like WWF have achieved over the last half-century. Both people and the natural world are feeling the effects, which are consequential and growing. Extreme weather impacts fragile ecosystems that people depend on for food and their livelihoods.
28/03/2014 10:44 GMT

Time for EBRD to Retire Old King Coal Definitely

In the last few months institutions that specialise in development finance like the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the French Development Bank as well as the Export - Import bank of the United States have been lining up to announce an end to investments in coal.
27/11/2013 12:50 GMT

World's Governments Must Take Action on Climate Change

The global community simply cannot keep ignoring the desperate, passionate cries of people such as Naderev Saño. Millions around the world are already suffering greatly from the impacts of our fast changing climate and scientists keep telling us that such damage and disruption will only intensify in the years and decades ahead.
12/11/2013 14:51 GMT