Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

Tad Ferris

Richard (“Tad”) Ferris is Senior Counsel at IGSD. In this role, he advises a diverse team of climate law experts, scientists, technologists, and economists, on fast and near-term climate actions, particularly actions to cut short-lived climate pollutants and protect carbon sinks. In so doing, he collaborates with foreign government institutions, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and other partners throughout the world, with a focus on the developing world. Tad also oversees research work involving international, foreign, and comparative climate law and policy, including international treaty mechanisms. Further, Tad draws upon his more than 25 years of private practice and public-interest experience to mentor and train young climate lawyers and other professionals.

Tad is co-author of numerous works on climate mitigation, and international, African, and Chinese environmental and climate law, including: Methane Metrics and Measurement in China  Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, Innovative Technologies for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Carbon Sequestration Monitoring (2023); Fast action on short-lived climate pollutants and nature-based solutions to help countries meet carbon neutrality goals (Advances in Climate Change Research, 2022); The Importance of Stopping Environmental Dumping in Ghana: The Case of Inefficient New and Used Cooling Appliances with Obsolete Refrigerants (Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, 2022); A Call to Stop Burning Trees in the Name of Climate Mitigation (Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, 2022); Narrowing feedstock exemptions under the Montreal Protocol has multiple environmental benefits (Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, 2021); An Opportunity That Should Not Be Missed: Applying Chinese Policy That Promotes Efficient Air Conditioning to Countries That Need It (Sustainable Development Law & Policy, 2021); and Ozone Layer, International Protectionin Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Prior to IGSD, Tad was a partner in private practice in leadership roles focusing on international and Chinese environmental law and public policy, overseeing projects throughout the world involving cross-border transactions, healthcare (including telemedicine), compliance assurance, sustainability, and environmental litigation. He also was General Counsel to and Founder of the China Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Roundtable, an organization dedicated to advancing EHS and sustainability compliance leadership in China and elsewhere in the developing world. Mr. Ferris began his professional career as Asia Program Manager at the Center for International Environmental Law, working with IGSD’s President, Durwood Zaelke.

Throughout his career in private practice, Tad maintained strong ties with public-interest organizations. In 2016 Tad was the recipient of the Distinguished Contribution Award from DC-area nonprofit, nongovernmental organization for his work bringing together Chinese-expatriate and Chinese-American communities to protect China’s environment, and for his contributions to the development of Chinese civil society and U.S.-China relations.

Tad is a graduate of Duke University Law School, receiving J.D. and LLM degrees. He also received an MA degree in East Asian Studies (with distinction in Chinese Economics) from The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, and a BA in International Relations from Clark University. He is a member of the bar in Washington, DC, and Massachusetts. Tad is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and English.