Brandon Wu

Brandon Wu

Director of Policy and Campaigns

Meet Brandon Wu! He is dedicated to overseeing ActionAid USA’s research, advocacy, coalition building and campaigning work on issues such as politics & economics, land rights, biofuels and more. He personally leads ActionAid USA’s work on climate justice, approaching the problem of climate change from the perspective of sustainable development and rights of impacted people. His work in this capacity has focused on climate finance for developing countries, fairness and equity in the global climate regime, and energy democracy in the Global South.

Brandon has served on the Board of Directors of Climate Action Network-International, a network of over 900 NGOs in 100 countries, and recently completed a two-year term as the first elected developed country civil society representative on the governing Board of the Green Climate Fund, a multilateral institution dedicated to funding adaptation and mitigation projects.

Brandon's voice is frequently heard in major media outlets, including the Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, PBS NewsHour, and Telesur. He has previously worked for Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG (now Environment America).

Brandon holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, where he played a lead role in an effort to unionize 4,500 graduate employees. He also holds a B.A. in sociology from Yale University.

I’m an expert! Talk to me about:  

Climate Justice; the UNFCCC; Reproductive Justice; Politics & Economics; Climate Finance


U.S. Fair Shares Nationally Determined Contribution
April 2021, with many organizational coauthors

US Fair Shares Nationally Determined Contribution
April 2021, with many organizational coauthors

Equity and the Ambition Ratchet: Towards a Meaningful 2018 Facilitative Dialogue
November 2017, with many organizational coauthors

Power for the People: Delivering Decentralized, Community-Controlled Renewable Energy Access
September 2016, with Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization

Fair Shares: A Civil Society Review of INDCs
November 2015, with many organizational coauthors

Selected Media:

Democracy Now (November 2021)
Glasgow Pact Slammed for Betraying the Global Poor Who Suffer Most from the Climate Emergency

Rolling Stone (October 2021)
Thanks to Big Oil, Your Tax Dollars Are Spent Ruining the Climate

Marketplace Radio (September 2021)
Need for climate finance front and center at U.N. General Assembly

Washington Post (April 2021)
Climate summit leaders hope to catalyze a key ingredient: Cash

Washington Post (January 2021)
Biden rejoins Paris climate accord, works to overturn Trump’s climate policies

The Nation (September 2019)
Only a Global Green New Deal Can Save the Planet

New York Times (September 2018)
Rich Nations Vowed Billions for Climate Change. Poor Countries Are Waiting.

Reuters (December 2017)
World is losing the battle against climate change, Macron says

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (June 2017)
Your country is flooding? Tough luck

Washington Post (June 2017)
Michael Bloomberg’s millions can’t compensate for Trump’s climate policies

Foreign Policy (December 2015)
Who Is Going to Pay to Save the World?

Scientific American (November 2015)
The $100 Billion Climate Question

Reuters (October 2015)
Rich nations lag in ‘fair share’ of climate action – study

The Guardian (July 2015)
Green Climate Fund partners with Deutsche Bank to green fury

Associated Press (March 2015)
Undeterred by protests, Japan directs climate financing to coal plants in India, Bangladesh

The Telegraph (September 2014)
Cameron calls for ‘ambitious deal’ to tackle climate change

PBS NewsHour (November 2013)
Warsaw conference moves towards ‘new global climate regime’

Selected Articles & Blog Posts:

ActionAid (November 2020)
Old dog, new tricks? John Kerry needs to lead a total reform of U.S. climate diplomacy

ActionAid (September 2019)
The Armed Lifeboat

Global Justice Now (June 2017)
Five things to consider on Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement

Development (June 2017, with Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau)
NGOs and the Climate Justice Movement in the Age of Trumpism

Thomson Reuters (May 2017)
Donors must respect African ownership of renewable energy initiative

Huffington Post (April 2016)
Celebrating the Paris Climate Agreement? I’ll Take a Rain Check

Thomson Reuters (July 2015, with Karen Orenstein)
Green Climate Fund: Course correction needed?

Huffington Post (November 2013)
Fighting for the Soul of Climate Finance


POSTS BY Brandon Wu

Blog Post /

Climate finance: quantity matters, but so does quality

June 5, 2023 By

Last week, Reuters released a major investigative piece on climate finance The authors examined 10% of climate finance flows reported by developed countries to the UN, finding that: “at least $3 billion spent not on solar panels or wind farms but on coal-fired power, airports, crime-fighting or other programs that…

Blog Post /

Parts of the U.S. are becoming uninsurable due to climate change

June 1, 2023 By

One of the bigger stories of this past weekend came with the bland heading “California New Business Update” – State Farm, the biggest homeowner insurance company in California, is no longer accepting new homeowner or property insurance applications from anyone in California. The reasons? Rising construction costs, “rapidly growing catastrophe…

Insight /

Report-back from TC1: the stage is set

March 29, 2023 By

The first meeting of the Loss & Damage Transitional Committee (TC) has just finished in Luxor, Egypt. The mandate of the TC is to make recommendations to COP28 (the next major UN climate negotiations, set for Dubai in December this year) about funding arrangements for addressing loss & damage, including…

Blog Post /

COP27 Wrap-Up: We Won a Loss & Damage Fund!

November 22, 2022 By

In the title and subhead of her COP27 wrap-up article for The New Republic, Kate Aronoff accurately conveys the magnitude of what happened in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt at the latest round of UN climate negotiations: “How the U.S. Abruptly Shifted Decades of Climate Policy: In just 72 hours, the…

Blog Post /

It’s not a freaking handbag

October 11, 2022 By

The Guardian has the latest exhibit of “Corporations don’t care if you die” in a story about Big Pharma objecting to a South African company replicating Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine: Moderna has filed several patents in South Africa and has refused to cooperate and share technology with the hub in Africa,…

Blog Post /

Climate as a “vulnerability multiplier”

October 3, 2022 By

NPR’s Ari Shapiro has a good article out today about the links between climate change, migration, and the rise of far-right ethno-nationalist politics. (Whenever this comes up I will always re-share my colleague Teresa Anderson’s sketch of this vicious cycle from several years ago.) Particularly useful in this piece is…

Blog Post /

The Co-optation of “Climate Justice”

September 16, 2022 By

A decade and a half ago, “climate justice” was presented as a radical alternative to the prevailing narrative about climate change which conceived of the problem as purely an environmental crisis, with relatively simple technical solutions (i.e. faster adoption of renewable energy sources). Activists, especially from the Global South, highlighted…

Blog Post /

We’re So Not Ready for Melting Ice Sheets

September 13, 2022 By

A couple of weeks ago, the news circulated that a massive part of the Greenland ice sheet is going to melt regardless of what climate action the world takes. This could trigger up to a foot of sea level rise in the coming decades, which would have catastrophic consequences. As…

Blog Post /

$9.8 Trillion

September 2, 2022 By

Yesterday Nature published a new analysis estimating the social cost of carbon in the United States at $185/ton, more than triple the current estimate used by the federal government in calculating the monetary impact of greenhouse gas emissions (and therefore of policies that would reduce or increase those emissions). The…