Brandon Wu

Director of Policy and Campaigns

Brandon Wu is ActionAid USA’s Director of Policy and Campaigns. He oversees ActionAid’s research, advocacy, coalition building and campaigning work on issues such as food security, land rights, biofuels and more. He personally leads ActionAid’s work on international 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 new multilateral institution expected to channel billions of dollars of climate finance per year.

Brandon has regularly represented ActionAid in major media outlets such as the Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, PBS NewsHour, Telesur, and many more. He has previously worked for Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG (now Environment America). He holds a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, where he was a lead organizer in an effort to unionize 4,500 graduate employees, and a B.A. in sociology from Yale University.

U.S. 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 Glasgow Pact Slammed for Betraying the Global Poor Who Suffer Most from the Climate Emergency (November 2021)
Rolling Stone Thanks to Big Oil, Your Tax Dollars Are Spent Ruining the Climate (October 2021)
Marketplace Radio Need for climate finance front and center at U.N. General Assembly (September 2021)
Washington Post Climate summit leaders hope to catalyze a key ingredient: Cash (April 2021)
Washington Post Biden rejoins Paris climate accord, works to overturn Trump’s climate policies (January 2021)
The Nation Rich Nations Vowed Billions for Climate Change. Poor Countries Are Waiting. (September 2018)
Reuters: World is losing the battle against climate change, Macron says (December 2017)
Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Your country is flooding? Tough luck (June 2017)
Washington Post: Michael Bloomberg’s millions can’t compensate for Trump’s climate policies (June 2017)
Foreign Policy: Who Is Going to Pay to Save the World? (December 2015)
Scientific American: The $100 Billion Climate Question (November 2015)
Reuters: Rich nations lag in ‘fair share’ of climate action – study (October 2015)
The Guardian: Green Climate Fund partners with Deutsche Bank to green fury (July 2015)
Associated Press: Undeterred by protests, Japan directs climate financing to coal plants in India, Bangladesh (March 2015)
The Telegraph: Cameron calls for ‘ambitious deal’ to tackle climate change (September 2014)
PBS NewsHour: Warsaw conference moves towards ‘new global climate regime’ (November 2013)

Selected Articles & Blog Posts:
ActionAid Old dog, new tricks? John Kerry needs to lead a total reform of U.S. climate diplomacy (November 2020)
ActionAid The Armed Lifeboat (September 2019)
Global Justice Now: Five things to consider on Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement (June 2017)
Development: NGOs and the Climate Justice Movement in the Age of Trumpism (June 2017, with Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau)
Thomson Reuters: Donors must respect African ownership of renewable energy initiative (May 2017)
Huffington Post: Celebrating the Paris Climate Agreement? I’ll Take a Rain Check (April 2016)
Thomson Reuters: Green Climate Fund: Course correction needed? (July 2015, with Karen Orenstein)
Huffington Post: Fighting for the Soul of Climate Finance (November 2013)

POST BY Brandon Wu

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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$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…

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The absurdity of carbon capture and storage

August 18, 2022 By

Proponents of the Inflation Reduction Act claim it will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. This is a long way from our global fair share that would be the equivalent of 195% reductions by 2030. It is also heavily premised on expanded usage of carbon capture and…

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Can we talk about the IRA?

August 18, 2022 By

Unless you’ve completely shut out the news, which seems doubtful if you’re here reading this, you are probably aware of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which President Biden signed into law earlier this week. Touted by its champions as a historic piece of legislation addressing climate, health, and tax policy,…


Welcome to ActionAid USA’s Staff Blog

August 18, 2022 By

ActionAid USA currently has fourteen full-time staff who spend a lot of time thinking about, advocating towards, fundraising for, and generally working towards, global justice. If you follow our website and our email list, you occasionally get to hear from some of us, like me and our Executive Director Niranjali. …