James Slezak

James Slezak

Dr James Slezak heads the Sustainability Practice at New York-based social change agency Purpose. Previously, he led major projects on climate change, technology and economic development for the consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, including developing green stimulus proposals for then-Prime Minister Rudd and former US Vice President Al Gore, developing strategy for the ONE Campaign against global poverty in Washington DC, and leading the Russian national carbon efficiency project in Moscow. He co-authored the Australian Cost Curve for Greenhouse Gas Reduction (2008), the first comprehensive economic analysis of its kind in Australia, cited frequently by political leaders, NGOs and the business community as a basis for policymaking. At an international level, he took part in the landmark 1997 Kyoto climate change conference, as well as the more recent UN climate talks in Copenhagen, and has consulted independently for the United Nations on science policy and organizational change.

An Australian native, James’s background is in the natural sciences. He attended the University of Sydney and holds a PhD in Physics from Cornell University, where he discovered a new relationship between the geometry and quantum physics of high temperature superconductors. He also worked on development economics and game theory at Cornell before realizing he’d rather spend more time outside of labs. He is a fellow at Australia’s Centre for Policy Development and has hosted weekly shows on community radio stations in Sydney and New York City. His technical work has been published in the world’s leading peer-reviewed journals, including Science and Nature.