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Sarah Colenbrander

Director, Climate and Sustainability Programme, Overseas Development Institute & Guest Lecturer, Climate Change Economics, University of Oxford

Sarah is the Director of ODI's Climate and Sustainability programme. She leads a multi-disciplinary team focused on transforming agricultural, energy and urban systems to reach net-zero emissions, as well as mobilising the finance to achieve these transitions.

Sarah is an environmental economist by training, specialising in climate change mitigation in cities. Over the last fifteen years, she has supported policymakers across Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and Latin America to develop low-carbon development and investment strategies. Questions of social and environmental justice are at the heart of all her research and advisory work.

Sarah has co-authored a wide range of academic papers, as well as reports for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), UN Environment and the World Bank. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Oxford, University College London and the University of Manchester. Sarah holds a Masters in Environment and Development from Trinity College, Dublin.


  • 2020–present
    Director - Climate and Sustainability Programme, ODI
  • 2016–2020
    Head of Global Programmes, Coalition for Urban Transitions, World Resources Institute
  • 2015–2018
    Senior Researcher, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
  • 2012–2015
    Research Fellow, University of Leeds


  • 2012 
    Trinity College Dublin, MSc (Environment and Development) - First
  • 2009 
    University of Sydney, BSc (Ecology) - Distinction
  • 2009 
    University of Sydney, BCom (Economics, Political Economy) - Distinction