U.S. Climate Policy at a Crossroads: A Conversation with Mary Nichols
Hosted by EPIC and the Chicago Council.
U.S. climate policy is in a state of significant uncertainty. Over the past year, federal policy has lurched backward through a series of regulatory rollbacks aimed at easing emissions limits on power plants, vehicles, and industry. Yet, in spite of this shift at the national level, policy in California—the world’s fifth largest economy—has grown more ambitious. The state’s cap-and-trade program now extends across all sectors of the economy. Its renewable portfolio standard was recently strengthened to target 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. And a series of technology standards now cover everything from electric vehicle sales to rooftop solar panels. What have been the major successes and challenges for California’s climate policy? What lessons does it offer for the nation and world? And how will the state move forward at a time of significant uncertainty at the federal level?
Over her 40 year career, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols has played a pivotal road in developing and implementing the state’s environmental and climate policy agenda. Join EPIC and the Chicago Council for this unique opportunity to hear from the nation’s most prominent environmental regulator on a wide range of topics. Moderated by Juliet Eilperin, senior national affairs correspondent for The Washington Post.
This is part two of a two-part EPIC series, "The Climate in California," drawing lessons for global policymakers from California’s efforts to confront climate change.
October 4, 2018 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Chicago Council on Global Affairs Conference Center
130 East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Mary D. Nichols is Chair of the California Air Resources Board, a post she has held since 2007. She also served as Chair of the Air Resources Board from 1979-1983.
Nichols has devoted her entire career in public and nonprofit service to advocating for the environment and public health. In addition to her work at the Air Board, she has served as Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air and Radiation program under President Clinton, Secretary for California's Resources Agency from 1999 to 2003 and Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Her priorities as Chair include moving ahead on the state's landmark climate change program (AB 32), steering the Board through numerous efforts to curb diesel pollution at ports and continuing to pass regulations aimed at providing cleaner air for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. She values innovation, partnerships and common-sense approaches to addressing the state's air issues.
The Board is supported by a professional staff of scientists, engineers, economists, lawyers and policy experts, with an annual operating budget of more than $860 million.
Michael Greenstone is the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College, and the Harris School, as well as the Director of the Becker Friedman Institute and the interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. He previously served as the Chief Economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, where he co-led the development of the United States Government’s social cost of carbon, and on the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board. Greenstone also directed The Hamilton Project, which studies policies to promote economic growth, and has since joined its Advisory Council. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the Econometric Society, and a former editor of the Journal of Political Economy. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Greenstone was the 3M Professor of Environmental Economics at MIT.
Juliet Eilperin (Moderator) is The Washington Post's senior national affairs correspondent, covering how the new administration is transforming a range of U.S. policies and the federal government itself. She is the author of two books — one on sharks and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other — and has worked for The Post since 1998. She previously served as The Post’s House of Representatives correspondent and national environmental reporter.