Emmett Institute Leaders Join S.F. Summit to Advance Climate Action

20180921 GCA Summit Group Photo
Participants in a discussion of UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative. From left: Seth Baruch, Marc Fisher, Elizabeth Wilmott, Carol Christ, Ann Carlson, Rachael Nava, Pallavi Sherikar and David Phillips.

Members of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment led several events and drew strong media attention during the Global Climate Action Summit in mid-September. The Bay Area gathering included leaders from state and local governments, business and advocacy groups who are seeking to advance action on planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor William Boyd organized a two-day meeting of the Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), a collaboration of 38 states and provinces from several countries seeking to protect tropical forests. During the meeting, GCF members representing millions of indigenous peoples across Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Brazil, voted in unanimous approval of the Guiding Principles for Collaboration and Partnership Between Subnational Governments, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. The principles recognize the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in conserving forests and managing land to meet climate goals. Boyd is project lead for the task force.

20180921 Carlson Wang Jaiswal Summit

From left: Ann Carlson, Alex Wang and Anjali Jaiswal of the Natural Resources Defense Council

On Sept. 11 at UC Berkeley, Ann Carlson, faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute, member of the University of California Global Climate Leadership Council and Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law at UCLA, welcomed more than 80 guests for a discussion on the University of California's Carbon Neutrality Initiative. The ambitious program calls for every UC campus to reach zero carbon pollution in the next seven years. Earlier this month, the University of California announced an expansion of its sustainability program, committing to draw all of its electricity from clean sources by 2025, further reduce solid waste and install air and water heating powered only by non-fossil fuels in new buildings after June 2019.

Also on Sept. 11, professor Ethan Elkind spoke at Uber headquarters in San Francisco, outlining public policy mechanisms and private sector innovations – including the revolutions in shared, electric and automated transportation – that can lead to greater sustainability. The event included experts from government (Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Association of Bay Area Governments), industry (Chariot, EVgo, Lyft, Lime, Uber, Zoox and Via) and universities (Georgetown Climate Center, the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, Berkeley Law and UCLA Law).

UCLA Law faculty were among the presenters who gathered at the offices of Paul Hastings in San Francisco on Sept. 12 for a discussion on sustainability in Los Angeles and other global megacities. During the summit, L.A. officials announced an initiative for municipal electric vehicle purchasing, and L.A. was recognized as one of 27 global cities to have seen its carbon emissions fall over the last five years, even as its economy grew.

20180921 Cara Horowitz Summit

Cara Horowitz

State Sen. Ben Allen, whose 26th Senate district includes Westwood, Santa Monica and the South Bay, provided opening remarks and joined a panel discussion on sustainability in Los Angeles. The panel was moderated by Cara Horowitz, the Emmett Institute's Andrew Sabin Family Foundation co-executive director, and included Nancy Sutley, chief sustainability officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Barbara Norman, an expert on urban sustainability at the University of Canberra; and UCLA sustainability experts Mark Gold and Laurel Hunt. The discussion addressed important questions on land use, water and energy infrastructure that city and regional leaders must address for L.A. to meet its sustainability targets. Former Emmett student Anna Fero '17 arranged the venue.

Events featuring Emmett Institute leaders were part of a packed calendar of more than 300 official side events in San Francisco during the summit.

Emmett Institute professors Ann Carlson and Alex Wang, fellows Harjot Kaur and Garrett Lenahan and 3L student Alexandra Gay also participated in the main summit at Moscone Center in San Francisco, joining more than 4,000 participants for plenary sessions on a range of climate topics, such as ocean health, food systems, transportation and indigenous rights. Wang, whose scholarship examines environmental governance in Asia, engaged with delegates from China at the China Pavilion, co-sponsored by China's Ministry of Ecology & Environmental Protection.

Publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and The Atlantic quoted Emmett Institute scholars during the event.