Paul William JORGENSEN (South Africa)

Paul serves as Head of Climate Action Planning Africa for C40’s Climate Action Planning Programme. In this role he leads the delivery of the Africa programme supporting 11 African megacities in developing ambitious, inclusive, and integrated climate action plans.

MSc in Environmental Science

Current position: Head of Climate Action Planning Africa for C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Johannesburg, South Africa

Research focus: natural capital assessments, sustainability certification systems and climate change risk assessment

Prior to joining C40, Paul worked as an environmental consultant for SRK Consulting, assisting a diverse client base in providing advisory services and solutions for environmental and social challenges. This included developing climate change policies, strategies, and implementation plans for the private sector and city governments.

Paul’s research work focuses on natural capital, ecosystem services, climate change, and sustainability certification systems in mining and agriculture.

2015 Member of the Ecosystem Services Partnership
2014 Member of the Climate Reality Project founded and chaired by former Vice President Al Gore

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2010):

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Research focus: quantification of ecosystem goods and services

In spite of his young age, Paul William Jorgensen has already earned a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Science in addition to a Bachelor of Social Science in Geography and Economics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, in his home country of South Africa.

There, he is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Science, which he hopes to complete by the end of 2010. Previously, Mr Jorgensen had worked as a junior lecturer at the university and now serves as a senior extended curriculum tutor. Furthermore, Mr Jorgensen founded the student branch of the International Association for Impact Assessment, South African Affiliate (IAIAsa) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Its purpose is to help environmental students to network with those working in the field in order to broaden their knowledge of environmental issues and allow them to better contribute to sustainable development.

Mr Jorgensen’s background in both environmental and social sciences puts him in an excellent position to tackle interdisciplinary problems. He is particularly interested in ecosystem goods and services (EGS) – the benefits arising from ecological functions of healthy ecosystems. Examples of such EGSs are clean air and fresh water or aesthetic beauty of a landscape or the raw materials it provides. In his master’s thesis, Mr Jorgensen is investigating how such EGSs can be quantified by linking risk and vulnerability to Game Theory that will hopefully influence policy development. For his research, he is using the example of the community of Msunduzi KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. A better understanding of EGSs and methods to quantify them could significantly improve environmental management, land use planning and policy making, which would ultimately lead to a sustainable way of living.

Aside from his excellent academic credentials, Mr Jorgensen impressed the jury with how focused on studying EGSs he already is at his young age. Especially in the context of global warming, such research is eminently relevant at the moment. During the Green Talents Forum, Jorgensen will have a chance to meet with representatives of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), which played a key role in the TEEB study “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.” He hopes to learn more about effective formulation and implementation of plans and policies for sustainable development: “Learning from the German experience will allow me to better understand how such plans and policies can be incorporated into a local context here in South Africa.”