Tzeporah Berman

  • Country: Canada
  • Cohort: 2019
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Tzeporah Berman found her calling almost accidentally—at a highly controversial logging blockade amid the ancient rainforests of Canada in the early 1990s, where she was arrested along with hundreds of other forest activists. That did not stop her. Over the past thirty years, she has built a long record of leading and winning major environmental campaigns and negotiating significant policy victories. 

Strategic, bold, ambitious, a force to be reckoned with. These are just a few ways to describe Tzeporah that have helped her get real-world results and find opportunities to negotiate lasting victories for the environment.

Breakthrough Idea

Fully phase out the production and new development of fossil fuels by building a policy movement toward an international agreement and engaging with corporations in developing progressive sustainability commitments.

Tzeporah was one of the creators and lead negotiators of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement and the Canadian Boreal Forest Initiative, whose work has contributed to the protection of over forty million hectares of old-growth forests. She also co-founded ForestEthics, a group that persuaded major companies that relied on old-growth timber to move toward sustainable practices. It later became

One day, a map caught her attention. “I remember the day I saw a map that showed we were losing more forests to fires as a result of climate change. It was the moment for me where I needed to understand climate change, and I could not just wait for someone else to work on that,” she said in a conversation with Climate Breakthrough.

When Tzeporah received a Climate Breakthrough Award in 2019, she had a bold proposal in mind: launch a fossil fuel non-proliferation movement inspired by past global treaties. 

For so long we’ve been designing policies to reduce demand while production has been continuing to grow and lock in future emissions.

tzeporah berman, 2019 Climate Breakthrough Awardee

A seemingly implausible idea, yet a treaty like that could completely overhaul the world’s energy sector if governments around the world came to endorse it. In a short time since launch, the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative has, according to Tzeporah, “changed the global conversation on climate policy and agreements, forcing decision makers and the UNFCCC process to address the need for a fossil fuel phaseout, and strengthening the global movement by unifying diverse campaigns around a clear ask that is commensurate with the problem.”

post award

With funding from her Award, Tzeporah said she has been able to launch a few bold initiatives by 2023. 

  • A global registry of fossil fuel reserves and production is the first transparent database on fossil fuel production and reserves that shows carbon equivalents and is free online. It is now housed at Carbon Tracker, and they are in negotiations with UNEP to take it over.
  • SAFE Cities program at, which now works with hundreds of cities across North America to help them put policies in place to reduce fossil fuel production and infrastructure.
  • The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, which is a global secretariat supporting the political, legal, and research development of a treaty and running a public campaigning network for a treaty in over 40 countries.


Tzeporah Berman is currently the International Program Director at and the Chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. She is the former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Climate and Energy Program and co-founder of ForestEthics. 

In 2016, Tzeporah was appointed by the Alberta Government to co-chair the Oil Sands Advisory Working Group, tasked with making recommendations to implement climate change and cumulative impact policies, and was listed as one of the 35 most influential women in British Columbia by BC Business Magazine. In 2015, she was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in British Columbia, and in 2013, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of British Columbia. 

She is also the author of This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge

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