Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

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 development of the Oil-Climate Index (OCI), a first-of-its-kind tool to assess and compare the total climate impacts of global oils through the supply chain from upstream production, midstream refining, and downstream end use

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

  • Applying the OCI to develop divestment strategies and design a smart carbon tax for the oil sector to equitably reflect producers, refiners and end users’ climate responsibilities

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

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

  • Developed the first motor vehicle feebates policy while at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory under a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


  • 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)


Talks & Media

News|Recent News

Oil Innovations to Reduce Climate Impacts (co-written by Deborah Gordon)

October 30, 2017 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Senior Fellow Deborah Gordon on reducing climate impacts with oil innovation, "Reducing the climate impacts of the most emissions-intensive oils is possible with technologies that already exist. Even greater reductions are possible with innovations undergoing development." 


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