Stephen Hammer, a leading global climate policy expert and top climate advisor at the World Bank, has been named the founding Chief Executive Officer of The New York Climate Exchange.
The Exchange is a world-leading climate solutions center, a consortium of over 45 partner organizations committed to solving the most pressing climate challenges of our time. It will eventually be housed in a $700 million state-of-the-art facility on Governors Island in New York City, set to open in 2028. Stony Brook University was selected as the anchor institution for The Exchange in April 2023.
A world-renowned academic and leader, Hammer spent a decade at the World Bank as senior policy advisor on urban-scale climate solutions, global climate policy, and finance issues. There, he spearheaded much of the Bank’s early work on urban climate resilience and was instrumental in driving efforts to mainstream climate change into all facets of the Bank’s lending operations. As a strategic advisor to senior management, he oversaw many of the Bank’s key climate partnerships with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Secretary General’s team, and the G20.
“In Dr. Hammer, we have a true convener capable of working across sectors, nurturing meaningful solutions to the climate crisis, and delivering action,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis, chair of the board of directors of The New York Climate Exchange. “As communities across the world struggle to adapt to the effects of climate change, we are putting a highly credentialed leader at the helm to expedite solutions scalable for any community. We look forward to working with Dr. Hammer and our dozens of partners to create scalable solutions.”
“The Exchange is not just another institute – it’s part think tank, part do-tank – serving as a training ground for the climate leaders of tomorrow and an incubator for technology and market entrepreneurs. It’s meant to innovate and have an impact, to defend science, and to make New York City a living laboratory for international solutions,” Hammer said. “Climate change is going to reverberate across the world and every aspect of society, and working with our world-class partners, we’re going to bring people together to deliver real impact on this collective, existential challenge.”
“With the appointment of Dr. Hammer as the CEO of the first-in-the-nation New York Climate Exchange, our city takes one step closer to opening this hub of future innovation, bringing together our leading research and educational institutions, and creating the economic and academic opportunities New Yorkers deserve,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
With 14 academic and corporate organizations and over 30 community entities from environmental justice, research, and government organizations in New York City, The Exchange partners have begun to work together to advance climate education, research, job training, public programs, and commercialization to prepare communities to respond to climate challenges. These efforts are aided by initial investments of a combined $100 million from the Simons Foundation and Simons Foundation International, and $50 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“The Simons Foundation is thrilled to welcome Dr. Stephen Hammer as the founding CEO of The New York Climate Exchange. The work starts with understanding the climate science, modeling the risks, and estimating its impacts on New York City, its infrastructure, and its environment. New York can be a model for the world’s cities. Dr. Hammer is poised to lead a trailblazing organization that brings together a broad and diverse set of talents to address the greatest challenge of our times, climate change,” said David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation.
Previously, Hammer held faculty posts at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and the Pratt Institute, where his teaching and research focused on urban energy systems and policy, often with an emphasis on New York City. He was also a member of the Energy Policy Task Force advising then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg on PlaNYC, the City’s long-term growth and sustainability initiative.
Hammer co-founded and co-directed the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), an international consortium of researchers interested in climate change from an urban perspective. He is also an Advisory Board Member for the American Geophysical Union task force on Ethical Framework for Climate Interventions and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.