Who I am

My name is Catherine Leining.  I bring over 30 years of international experience in climate change and environmental policy in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to our work together. My skills include policy leadership, design and analysis, government and industry negotiations, international diplomacy, programme development, project management, dialogue facilitation, authoring publications, public speaking, fundraising and grants administration.

Major initiatives

  • Serving as a New Zealand Climate Change Commissioner since December 2019
  • Leading the policy research, dialogue and engagement programme “Shaping New Zealand’s Low-Emission Future” at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research
  • Serving as a New Zealand government negotiator and an NGO participant in negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Helping to design the innovative New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and associated legislation
  • Contributing to an international emissions trading handbook by the World Bank Partnership for Market Readiness and International Carbon Action Partnership 
  • Leading the negotiation of three Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements with large industries under New Zealand’s proposed carbon tax
  • Managing Wellington City’s 2013 Climate Change Action Plan and developing the innovative Our Living City work programme
  • Authoring a framework document on New Zealand’s public transport services and refining the New Zealand Public Transport Effectiveness Action Plan
  • Analyzing nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries
  • Reviewing developing country greenhouse gas inventories and climate change action plans
  • Supporting pioneering US states to lead policy development through the State Roundtable on Global Climate Change
  • Educating US local governments on pollution prevention, watershed management and environmental justice issues

My values

  • Wisdom: I cultivate wisdom by combining the best available technical information with collective experience, common sense, creativity and heart-based discernment.
  • Integrity: I am committed to rigorous honesty and build relationships based on mutual trust, transparency and accountability.
  • Empathy and respect: I understand and accept the feelings and needs of others. I embrace our common humanity, acknowledge our differences and uphold our individual rights.
  • Inclusiveness: I believe that diversity is a source of strength, everyone can make a constructive contribution to society, and decision-making can benefit from both majority and minority views. I work across the political spectrum.
  • Collaboration: I believe we can accomplish more by working together.
  • Interdependence: I believe that my well-being cannot be met by overriding the fundamental needs of another. For any to thrive, all must thrive. We hold common responsibility for safeguarding each other and the resources that sustain life on earth.
  • Experimentation: To progress, we must be prepared to try, learn from the outcome and try again. Giving ourselves permission to fail sets us free to succeed.
  • Leadership: I provide leadership through service and collaboration.

The Climate Reality Project

Climate Reality Logo Small 3In 2012, I trained as a Climate Leader under The Climate Reality Project established by Al Gore to help educate the public about climate change. This initiative applies the presentation model used in the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Presentations in New Zealand can be requested through this website or at The Climate Reality Project’s website.

Organizations for which I have done work

  • Asian Development Bank (Asia Least-Cost Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy)
  • Canadian National Climate Change Process
  • Center for Clean Air Policy
  • Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) New Zealand
  • He Pou a Rangi New Zealand Climate Change Commission
  • ICF International
  • International Carbon Action Partnership
  • International Emissions Trading Association
  • International City/County Management Association
  • Motu Economic and Public Policy Research
  • New Zealand Ministry for the Environment
  • New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • New Zealand Treasury
  • New Zealand Transport Agency
  • US Department of Energy
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Wellington City Council
  • World Bank

Other information

I received a BS in biology and French from Duke University (USA); this included study abroad at the Université de Paris and Oxford University. I grew up in the US and currently live in Wellington, New Zealand. Outside of work, I am an opera singer and enjoy tramping. I am a Forest Therapy Guide certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.

Want more information? Check out how I work.

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