Daphne Wysham is the Chief Executive Officer of Methane Action. For 20 years, Daphne was a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, DC, where she founded and directed their climate justice program and served on the executive committee of the board of directors. Her team’s groundbreaking research drew attention to the disproportionate ratio of fossil fuel investments by international financial institutions, the World Bank in particular, and resulted in world leaders, including former Vice President Al Gore, and members of the US House and Senate calling for reforms.
Partnering with others, she launched an international campaign in 1998 challenging the World Bank and other international financial institutions to stop investing in fossil fuels. In 2001, she co-convened the first ever NGO conference on the human rights and environmental impacts of international financial institutions’ investments in the coal sector in Bihar, India. In response to NGO pressure, in 2001, the World Bank president called for an independent extractive industries review (EIR) of World Bank loans. In 2004, the EIR called for the World Bank to phase out of coal immediately, phase out of oil by 2008, and rapidly phase in renewable energy. The EIR was endorsed by the European Parliament, German Government, European Commission, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and other faith leaders globally, along with hundreds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). European Parliamentarians have used the EIR as grounds for legislation that passed overwhelmingly in the European Commission calling for an end to World Bank support for fossil fuels. In 2013, the World Bank announced it would phase out of most lending for coal-fired power and in 2017, the World Bank pledged to finally get out of fossil fuels entirely by 2019. Then, at COP26, in November 2021, 20 nations pledged to stop all funding for fossil fuels abroad in 2022.
Her team’s research on US export credit agencies’ investments in fossil fuels resulted in lawsuits filed by NGOs regarding U.S. Export Import Bank’s and Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s violation of US law requiring assessment of climate impacts of their fossil fuel energy lending.
While at IPS, she was a contributing researcher for the book and film, “This Changes Everything,” written by acclaimed writer Naomi Klein and produced by filmmaker Avi Lewis.
Daphne remains a fellow at the Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) where, together with CSE’s chief economist, John Talberth, she pioneered a new policy that is forcing the polluter to pay for the risks now externalized on frontline communities, the public sector and the climate, “fossil fuel risk bonds.” Now adopted in Multnomah County, OR, and King County, WA, this policy was also incorporated into several presidential campaign platforms, and is being explored by members of Congress and other jurisdictions nationally. In 2016, she worked with others to put in place the strongest ordinance of its kind in the country, calling for an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland, OR, and got over 40 elected officials on the West Coast to pledge to do the same.
The former editor of Greenpeace magazine and co-founder and former host of Earthbeat Radio, an hour-long climate change broadcast that aired from 2003 to 2011 on over 60 radio stations in the US and Canada, Daphne was born and raised in India and the Pacific Northwest. A graduate of Princeton University, she serves on the board of Friends of the Earth-Nigeria, and is a co-founder of the Durban Group for Climate Justice. Some of her research and publications can be found here.
Watch Daphne Wysham’s presentation at the Global Investigative Journalists Network webinar, Investigating Methane, on February 24, 2022.