Today is my last day as the vice president for communications and policy outreach at CGD. It’s been almost 10 years to the day since I joined CGD as director of communications in the modest offices at 1776 Massachusetts Ave. In that time my children have grown up and left home and CGD has moved twice, including last year’s move to our current premises at the corner of L and 21st Street. I began recording the Global Prosperity Wonkcasts in 2009, and have since done hundreds of these short policy interviews with CGD researchers and guests. I have learned a bunch and had a blast, and I will miss my friends and colleagues here, even though my new employer, World Resources Institute (WRI), is just across town.
I’m hugely excited about what lies ahead: the challenges of leading communications work at a much larger think tank that focuses on the intersection between the environment and development, a personal passion. WRI is a global research organization that works on six critical issues—climate, energy, food, forests, water, and cities and transport—with offices in the United States, Brazil, China, India and Indonesia, and active projects in more than 50 countries. Instead of having 60 or 70 colleagues, I will have more than 400. But there are important similarities, too. Like CGD, WRI exists to make a difference. CGD’s tagline is Ideas to Action and WRI’s is Making Big Ideas Happen.
For what it’s worth, CGD is not entirely through with me, nor I with CGD. I have just put final touches on a long and peculiar essay, written jointly with CGD non-resident fellow Jing Cao, titled The Sudden Rise of Carbon Taxes, 2010-2030. It’s a future history or, if you will, political science fiction, that imagines a best-case scenario for climate action that is nonetheless grounded in political realities. (Hint: it does not rely on a Kumbaya moment at the 2015 Paris COP.) Watch this space—or sign up for the CGD weekly e-letter—to be notified when it’s published in the next few weeks.
I have also, with the kind permission of WRI, arranged to do the occasional CGD Wonkcast, to keep the space warm for my eventual successor. Speaking of which, CGD will be announcing soon a terrific and perhaps surprising new hire, somebody who I am quite confident will take the policy communication work here in exciting new directions that are nonetheless much in line with the dozen lessons that Todd Moss and I gleaned from CGD’s first 12 years. Watch for that announcement, too.