Kate Gordon has spent the past two decades working at the intersection of climate change, energy policy, and economic development. Gordon was appointed Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Climate by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 7, 2019. Trained as a community organizer, and later in law and regional economic development, her focus has long been on bringing diverse groups together to work toward a more sustainable, inclusive economy. Prior to being appointed OPR Director, Gordon was the founding director of the Risky Business Project, which focused on quantifying the economic impacts of climate change on U.S. energy demand, crop yields, and coastal infrastructure as well as on human health and mortality. As part of this work, Gordon consulted numerous investors and corporations on strategies to reduce climate risks across investments and assets, and also served as a co-author on the Fourth National Climate Assessment's chapter on “Reducing Risks Through Adaptation Actions.”
Prior to her work on Risky Business, Gordon served in senior leadership positions at several nonpartisan think tanks including the Henry M. Paulson Institute, the Center for the Next Generation, the Center for American Progress, and as a nonresident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. Gordon got her start on energy and climate issues working to craft progressive policies at the intersection of labor, business, community, and environmental interests at the national Apollo Alliance, where she ultimately served as co-Executive Director until the merger with the Blue-Green Alliance in 2011. Under her leadership, the Apollo Alliance drafted key parts of the American Recovery And Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) including the Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit and a competitive grant program for green jobs training, and also partnered with the AFL-CIO to draft the "just transition" portions of the proposed American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka the "Waxman-Markey bill").
Gordon earned a J.D. and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of California-Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University. Along with her role in state government, Gordon regularly co-teaches a course at Stanford Law School entitled "Climate: Politics, Finance, and Infrastructure."