Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Facebook Twitter YouTube SoundCloud Instagram Tumblr Email list

Deborah Gordon

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs
Former Director, Energy and Climate Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Deborah Gordon is the former Director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Trained as a chemical engineer and policy analyst, Gordon works on global oil and climate change issues. After beginning her career with Chevron, Gordon managed an energy and environmental consulting practice, taught at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and directed the Energy Policy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Gordon regularly testifies before Congress, collaborates with government agencies, industry, and NGOs, and has served on National Academy of Sciences committees. Gordon’s op eds, articles, and quotes have appeared in The National Interest, The Hill, Pacific Standard, Financial Times, Scientific American, International Economy Magazine, About Oil, Boao Review, Xinghua News, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Time, Washington Post, and New York Times. She has been featured on ABC News, PBS Great Decisions, NPR’s To the Point, E&E TV's On Point.


  • Serving as lead researcher on the continued development of the Oil Climate Index (OCI), a first-of-its-kind analytic tool to assess and compare the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas supply chain

  • Researching global opportunities to reduce climate impacts in the petroleum sector and writing a book titled No Standard Oil (forthcoming in 2020, Oxford University Press) 

  • Applying the OCI to develop government, industry, and NGO strategies to reduce the climate impacts from the petroleum sector 

  • Collaborating with NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System scientists to assess methane emission impacts from global oil and gas operations

  • Conducting research on the impacts vehicle electrification will have on the oil transition strategy in order to advance a low-carbon economy


  • Green Energy for Transport in South Asia: An Approach for a Clean, Sustainable Path, (with Smriti Kumble), Institute for Policy Advocacy and Governance, 2019

  • Petroleum Companies Need a Credible Climate Plan, (with Stephen Ziman), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 2018


  • LegalPlanet Blog, Is California Extraordinary? Its Oil Resources Certainly Are, (with Frances Reuland), November 15, 2018


  • Medium, California’s Dirty Environmental Secret, (with J. Koomey), September 5, 2018


  • Global Carbon Intensity of Crude Oil Production, (with M. Masnadi, et. al.), In Science, August 2018


  • Advancing Climate Engineering Disclosure, (with David Livingston), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 2018


  • Climate-wise Choices in a World of Oil Abundance, In Environmental Research Letters, IOP Science, April 2018, (with A. Brandt, M. Masnadi, J. Englander, and J. Koomey)



Independent study undergraduate course offered (Fall 2018-Spring 2019).

Talks & Media

News|Recent News

Coronavirus won't save the planet (interview with Deborah Gordon)

April 21, 2020 Heated

Deborah Gordon in Heated, "It’s going to take action from the supply side to transform the climate...and sadly, I don’t think what we’re seeing from COVID is oil nations like Saudi Arabia or, frankly, the United States, thinking outside the box when it comes to creating an industry that’s more flexible."


All News