The Center on Global Energy Policy hosted the third episode of Columbia Energy Straight Talk, a discussion series hosted by David Hill, CGEP Adjunct Senior Research Scholar, and Cheryl LaFleur, CGEP Distinguished Visiting Fellow. This series focuses on frank, practical, bipartisan discussions on how to make change happen in the energy world. The hosts bring decades of energy experience in the public and private sectors, including David's service as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy and Cheryl's as Commissioner and Chairman at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Environmental regulation, especially to address climate change, is a key part of planning for our energy future. However, even though energy and climate issues are intertwined, energy and environmental regulators have different statutory obligations and often have an incomplete understanding of each other’s responsibilities and priorities. As we work to adapt the nation’s energy, transportation, and other sectors to reflect climate imperatives, it is critically important for economic and environmental regulators to understand what the other is doing and to work cooperatively.
In this episode, Cheryl and David hosted Mary Nichols, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA. Sometimes called the "Queen of Green," Mary has been at the forefront of American environmental regulation for more than 40 years. She has served twice as chairman of the California Air Resources Board and, during the Clinton Administration, served as the EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation. She has run a successful cap and trade program at the EPA, was instrumental in establishing California's system of carbon pricing, and led the effort to pull California, other states, and vehicle manufacturers toward full electrification of the vehicle fleet. During this session, Mary, Cheryl, and David discussed climate initiatives at the federal and state level, the future of carbon pricing, vehicle electrification, and what it all means for the public, the environmental community, energy markets, energy companies, and investors.