John O’Brien

Regional Technical Advisor, Climate Change Mitigation


Based in: Regional Hub for Europe and CIS

From: New Zealand 

Studied at: Columbia University, Victoria University

Languages:  English, French, Russian, Spanish




I'm John O’Brien, and I am a Regional Technical Advisor on climate change mitigation.

My main areas of expertise are as follows:

  1. Carbon finance and the Kyoto Protocol
  2. Carbon forestry
  3. Investments in renewable energy (solar, wind, biomass, small hydro)
  4. Investments in energy-efficiency (incl. energy service companies (ESCOs)
  5. Design of Financial Support Mechanisms for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency

I have twenty years experience working globally with climate change and energy issues both with UNDP and in the private sector which includes extensive experience in carbon finance and investment banking based in New York, London, and Moscow. In addition, I have worked with other multi-lateral institutions such as the World Bank,European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC) Secretariat.

My work

I am developing new UNDP / Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects related to energy-efficiencyrenewable energy and sustainable transport, mainly in the Europe and CIS region. I have also been assisting UNDP activities in the area of carbon finance and the Kyoto Protocol. I am responsible for mobilizing resources for new climate change mitigation projects and managing approximately 25 projects under implementation.

I am currently responsible for climate change mitigation projects in the following countries : Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, Moldova, Turkey, and Georgia.

Some recent achievements

2009 - present Successful approval of $75 million USD of UNDP GEF climate change mitigation projects over the past five years ($15 million/year) dealing with renewable energy, energy-efficiency, sustainable transport. This includes new projects in 2013 and 2014 in Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Cape Verde;

Supported adaptive management changes on five UNDP-GEF climate change mitigation projects which has lead to improved project results;

Contribution and co-authoring of three UNDP publications contribution to three UNDP publications elaborating the policy and market environment for renewable energy investments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia;

Filmed short video reports on UNDP GEF climate change mitigation projects in Russia and Ethiopia to highlight the importance of the work being undertaken


2003 – 2009 I successfully launched or co-launched and held senior management positions in three carbon trading companies in London, Moscow, and in New Zealand which focused on the trading and brokering of carbon credits in both the compliance and voluntary carbon markets. This includes pioneering 3 of the first 4 ever joint implementation (JI) carbon credit deals from my own country, New Zealand.

In 2005, I successfully co-launched the carbon trading company, Carbon Capital Markets, in London, after we raised $20 million for start-up operations; We developed a portfolio of clean development mechanism (CDM) and joint implementation (JI) projects in Russia and Ukraine focusing on private equity investments in landfill gas projects which led to the first ever successful landfill gas project in the world being registered under the JI mechanism;


1995-2004 Climate Change Consultant in the USA, UK, and New Zealand


For more details, see my LinkedIn profile or you are welcome to contact me directly:


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