Daniel Zarrilli

Daniel Zarrilli

Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs

Personal Details

Focus Areas: Cities, Resilience, Sustainability, Climate policy

Daniel Zarrilli is the Special Advisor for Climate and Sustainability at Columbia University where he is supporting the creation of its new, world-leading climate school and advising on pathways to achieve the university’s deep decarbonization goals. He joined Columbia University from the NYC Mayor’s Office, where he served most recently in the role of Chief Climate Policy Advisor.

With senior climate and resilience appointments from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mayor Bill de Blasio over eight years, Daniel positioned New York City as the global leader in the fight against climate change. Notable successes include launching a comprehensive $20 billion climate adaptation program, aligning the city’s greenhouse gas emission reductions with the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement, divesting the City’s pension funds from fossil fuel reserve owners and investing billions into climate solutions, committing to end the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure serving New York City, and launching a ground-breaking program to embed environmental justice into the City’s decision-making.

Under his leadership in 2019, New York City released its latest long-term strategic plan, OneNYC 2050, which includes bold new actions to confront our climate crisis, address health and wealth inequities, and strengthen our democracy. He also served on NOAA’s advisory committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, concluded a 3-year term on FEMA’s National Advisory Council, and advised the State of Louisiana on its 2017 Coastal Master Plan update. He is currently an author on the Fifth National Climate Assessment and serves on the NYC Water Board.

Previously, he was Senior Vice President for Asset Management at the New York City Economic Development Corporation and spent five years with Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation. Daniel is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York, a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and holds an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT and a BS in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. He resides in Staten Island with his wife and three children.


  • MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • BS in Civil Engineering, Lehigh University