Program Director, Environment
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
As the environment program director, Jonathan Pershing leads a team of grant-makers focused on climate change in the United States, China, India, Europe, and Latin America, and conserving the North American West. Pershing served as Hewlett’s environment program director from 2017 to 2021 and returned to lead the program in 2022. From 2021 to 2022, Pershing supported Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.
Previously, Pershing served as Special Envoy for Climate Change at the US Department of State and lead US negotiator to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. He also served as the senior climate advisor to the US Secretary of Energy, as the principal deputy director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, and as deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the Department of Energy. Earlier in his career, Pershing was the director of the Climate, Energy and Pollution Program at the World Resources Institute; the head of the Environment Division at the International Energy Agency in Paris; and science advisor and deputy director of the Office of Global Change in the US Department of State.
He holds a PhD in geology and geophysics from the University of Minnesota. He was a lead author, review editor and contributor for reports of the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has taught at the University of Minnesota and at American University, and has published and lectured widely on climate and energy issues. In addition, he lived and worked for several years in Alaska in the energy and mining industries.