SDG Policy Initiative Director

Gordon McCord

9500 Gilman Drive

La Jolla, CA 92093-0519

Office # 1321

Associate Teaching Professor & Associate Dean

Gordon McCord has an extensive background in sustainable development and works at the intersection of development economics, public health and the environment. His research often employs spatial data analysis and remote sensing to explore topics such as the evolving role of geography in economic development, the burden of infectious diseases in a changing climate, the impact of agricultural technology diffusion, and the spatial patterns of violent conflict.  Gordon is also Senior Advisor to the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.  He does extensive policy work promoting the Sustainable Development Goals, including leading the SDSN-USA network of U.S. universities, and is deeply involved in the global FABLE project bringing together interdisciplinary teams to chart sustainable land use pathways for the largest countries around the world.  Gordon has advised developing country governments on poverty reduction, health systems and economic growth.  Prior to his doctoral work in sustainable development at Columbia University, Gordon was Special Assistant to Jeffrey Sachs at the Earth Institute and at the United Nations Millennium Project. 


Senior Advisor


Modeling Team

Faculty Affiliate


Ricke and McCord discuss Wollburg et al.’s study on the intersection of poverty and climate change. Eliminating extreme poverty by 2050 might increase global greenhouse-gas emissions by less than 5%, challenging assumptions. With climate-smart growth, considering improved tech and reduced inequality, this impact reduces tenfold. The analysis highlights the . . .

Dec 1, 2023

Gordon McCord’s NYT highlights the predictable nature of the weather phenomenon known as El Niño and its potentially disastrous consequences for various regions worldwide. They emphasize its impact on global temperatures, precipitation patterns, and the subsequent threats it poses to human health, food systems, and vulnerable populations, particularly children. . . .
Meeting ambitious climate targets will require deploying the full suite of mitigation options, including those that indirectly reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Healthy diets have sustainability co-benefits by directly reducing livestock emissions as well as indirectly reducing land use emissions. Increased crop productivity could indirectly avoid emissions by reducing cropland . . .