David Wooley is the Executive Director of the Goldman School of Public Policy's Center for Environmental Public Policy. He has over 30 years’ experience with electric power regulation and Clean Air Act implementation. David is also Of Counsel at the Oakland firm of Keyes & Fox LLP, a law practice focused on distributed energy resources. He served as an Assistant Attorney General in NY, taught energy and environmental law at Pace University Law School and was the Executive Director of the Pace Energy Project. Later he directed the American Wind Energy Association’s Northeast Policy Project, served as Counsel to the Clean Air Task Force and as Vice President for Domestic Policy Initiatives at the Energy Foundation in San Francisco. David is co-author of West Group's Clean Air Act Handbook (2016)[email protected]
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Daniel M. Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he holds appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the department of Nuclear Engineering. Kammen is the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) and the co-Director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment. Kammen is the Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. Kammen received his undergraduate (Cornell A., B. ’84) and graduate (Harvard M. A. ’86, Ph.D. ’88) training is in physics After postdoctoral work at Caltech and Harvard, Kammen was professor and Chair of the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 1993 – 1998. He then moved to the University of California, Berkeley. Daniel Kammen is a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He hosted the Discovery Channel series ‘Ecopolis, and had appeared on NOVA, and on ’60 Minutes’ twice. Read more about Daniel Kammen
Simone Cobb is the Program Manager at the Center for Environmental Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Simone supports the Center's Port Decarbonization and Green Bonds projects. Prior to working at GSPP she was an analyst at the political consulting firm Lake Research Partners in Washington, DC. Simone received her BA from UCLA
Lily MacIver is a Graduate Student Researcher for CEPP. She has experience in the public sector and in non-profit fundraising with a focus on environmental health and justice. Past projects include working with the City of Oakland’s Sustainability Program, where Lily collaborated with local community-based non-profits on community engagement implementation and design for Oakland’s Energy and Climate Action Plan. Since 2016 Lily has supported the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project's programmatic and fundraising efforts and is currently their development coordinator. From 2016-2018 Lily worked as a development associate at the Center for Environmental Health. Currently, she is a completing a dual master's at UC Berkeley in City Planning and Public Health. Her research interests include: the impacts of air pollution on low-income communities of color, climate and health equity, community-led policy advocacy and planning, community-based participatory research, and GIS-based analysis
Barbara Haya’s work combines research and policy outreach with a focus on the effectiveness of carbon offset programs. She leads the Berkeley Carbon Trading Project, which examines the outcomes of California’s carbon offset program and performs analysis on any proposed expansion or modification to the program. Barbara is also helping the University of California system develop its strategy for procuring carbon offsets for use towards meeting the system’s carbon reduction and neutrality goals
Barbara holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group, where she studied the outcomes of the Kyoto Protocol’s offset program, the Clean Development Mechanism, and worked closely with NGOs at the international climate change negotiations in support of offset program reform. Prior to returning to UC Berkeley, she worked with the Union of Concerned Scientists and then Stanford Law School contributing analysis on the design and implementation of California’s global warming law
Dr. Nikit Abhyankar, Senior Scientist, has conducted extensive research and policy analysis over 15 years on a range of key energy issues such as renewable energy, transport, energy efficiency, and power sector reforms and regulation in multiple countries including India, U.S., China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In particular, he analyzes the key technical, market design, and policy issues in renewable energy grid integration, energy efficiency programs, and transport electrification. Dr. Abhyankar has published over 50 peer reviewed journal papers, research reports, and conference papers and his research has been widely covered in the professional and popular media, for example - The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, The Verge, The Hindu, Live Mint , Down to Earth, Listening Brief etc.
Dr. Amol Phadke, Senior Scientist, research broadly focuses on energy technology, economics, markets, and regulation. Currently, his work is focused on, grid scale battery storage, heavy-duty electric vehicles, deep RE penetration in the India power sector, and appliance and equipment efficiency in several emerging economies
Amol has published over 80 journal articles, research reports, and conference papers. His work has been featured in the Times of India, Economic Times, The Hindu, Nature Magazine, India and numerous other publications. Amol regularly advises the national government, utilities, and regulators in India on energy policies and programs. Amol has a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Government College of Engineering, Pune, India, and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the Energy and Resources Group, from UC Berkeley
Umed Paliwal, Senior Scientist, conducts research on ways to integrate high share of renewables on the grid and its impact on reliability and electricity prices. He holds a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley where he focused on energy markets, regulation, power systems modeling and data analytics. Prior to coming to Berkeley, he was an Analytics Consultant at a financial services firm. Umed did his undergraduate studies in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (India) where he worked for two years on a project to develop emission inventory of Black Carbon and modeling its concentration in India
Alyssa Cheung is a graduate student researcher for CEPP. She is pursuing her Master of Public Policy degree at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, with a focus on energy and climate. Prior to Berkeley, she was a Senior Program Associate for West Policy at Energy Foundation, where she supported grantees advocating for clean energy policies across the western U.S. She is committed to advocating for policies that will lead to a cleaner, healthier, and more equitable future for all communities in California. She graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Yale University
Kristine Arboleda is a Graduate Student Researcher for CEPP supporting the Center’s work on sustainable finance and green bond market development. She is pursuing a Master of Public Policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School, focusing on climate finance policy and mechanisms. Prior to CEPP, Kristine worked at Ernst & Young and FERC with additional experiences in climate philanthropy. Her interests lie in advocating for policies and cross-sector solutions that promote sustainable financial systems. Kristine graduated with a B.S. in Accountancy from DePaul University and is a registered CPA in the state of California.
Activist Elizabeth Yeampierre has long focused on the connections between racial injustice and the environment and climate change. In the wake of George Floyd’s killing and the outsized impact of Covid-19 on communities of color, she hopes people may finally be ready to listen.
The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans have cast stark new light on the racism that remains deeply embedded in U.S. society. It is as present in matters of the environment as in other aspects of life: Both historical and present-day injustices have left people of color exposed to far greater environmental health hazards than whites.
Elizabeth Yeampierre has been an important voice on these issues for more than two decades. As co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance, she leads a coalition of more than 70 organizations focused on addressing racial and economic inequities together with climate change. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Yeampierre draws a direct line from slavery and the rapacious exploitation of natural resources to current issues of environmental justice. “I think about people who got the worst food, the worst health care, the worst treatment, and then when freed, were given lands that were eventually surrounded by things like petrochemical industries,” says Yeampierre
Yeampierre sees the fights against climate change and racial injustice as deeply intertwined, noting that the transition to a low-carbon future is connected to “workers’ rights, land use, [and] how people are treated,” and she criticizes the mainstream environmental movement, which she says was “built by people who cared about conservation, who cared about wildlife, who cared about trees and open space… but didn’t care about black people.”
Yale Environment 360: You’ve spoken about the big-picture idea that climate change and racial injustice share the same roots and have to be addressed together, and that there is no climate action that is not also about racial justice. Can you describe the links you see connecting these two issues?
Elizabeth Yeampierre: Climate change is the result of a legacy of extraction, of colonialism, of slavery. A lot of times when people talk about environmental justice they go back to the 1970s or ‘60s. But I think about the slave quarters. I think about people who got the worst food, the worst health care, the worst treatment, and then when freed, were given lands that were eventually surrounded by things like petrochemical industries. The idea of killing black people or indigenous people, all of that has a long, long history that is centered on capitalism and the extraction of our land and our labor in this country.
For us, as part of the climate justice movement, to separate those things is impossible. The truth is that the climate justice movement, people of color, indigenous people, have always worked multi-dimensionally because we have to be able to fight on so many different planes.
When I first came into this work, I was fighting police brutality at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund. We were fighting for racial justice. We were in our 20s and this is how we started. It was only a few years after that I realized that if we couldn’t breathe, we couldn’t fight for justice and that’s how I got into the environmental justice movement. For us, there is no distinction between one and the other.
In our communities, people are suffering from asthma and upper respiratory disease, and we’ve been fighting for the right to breathe for generations. It’s ironic that those are the signs you’re seeing in these protests — “I can’t breathe.” When the police are using chokeholds, literally people who suffer from a history of asthma and respiratory disease, their breath is taken away. When Eric Garner died [in 2014 from a New York City police officer’s chokehold], and we heard he had asthma, the first thing we said in my house was, “This is an environmental justice issue.”
The communities that are most impacted by Covid, or by pollution, it’s not surprising that they’re the ones that are going to be most impacted by extreme weather events. And it’s not surprising that they’re the ones that are targeted for racial violence. It’s all the same communities, all over the United States. And you can’t treat one part of the problem without the other, because it’s so systemic
Yeampierre: With the arrival of slavery comes a repurposing of the land, chopping down of trees, disrupting water systems and other ecological systems that comes with supporting the effort to build a capitalist society and to provide resources for the privileged, using the bodies of black people to facilitate that.
The same thing in terms of the disruption and the stealing of indigenous land. There was a taking of land, not just for expansion, but to search for gold, to take down mountains and extract fossil fuels out of mountains. All of that is connected, and I don’t know how people don’t see the connection between the extraction and how black and indigenous people suffered as a result of that and continue to suffer, because all of those decisions were made along that historical continuum, all those decisions also came with Jim Crow. They came with literally doing everything necessary to control and squash black people from having any kind of power.
You need to understand the economics. If you understand that, then you know that climate change is the child of all that destruction, of all of that extraction, of all of those decisions that were made and how those ended up, not just in terms of our freedom and taking away freedom from black people, but hurting us along the way.
It’s all related. You can’t say that with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans the loss of lives was simply because there was an extreme weather event. The loss of life comes out of a legacy of neglect and racism. And that’s evident even in the rebuilding. It’s really interesting to see what happens to the land after people have been displaced, how land speculation and land grabs and investments are made in communities that, when there were black people living there, had endured not having the things people need to have livable good lives.
These things, to me, are connected. It’s comfortable for people to separate them, because remember that the environmental movement, the conservation movement, a lot of those institutions were built by people who cared about conservation, who cared about wildlife, who cared about trees and open space and wanted those privileges while also living in the city, but didn’t care about black people. There is a long history of racism in those movements.
Yeampierre: With the Green New Deal, for example, we said that it wasn’t a Green New Deal unless it was centered on frontline solutions and on ensuring that frontline leadership would be able to move resources to their communities to deal with things like infrastructure and food security. When that happens, we’ll be able to move the dial much more efficiently. In New York, for example, we passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which is aggressive legislation that looks at how you move resources to frontline communities and how you invest in those communities
Nationally, we need to be looking at stopping pipelines — reducing carbon but also reducing other pollutants. We need to start focusing on regenerative economies, creating community cooperatives and different kinds of economic systems that make it possible for people to thrive economically while at the same time taking us off the grid
In every community there are different things people are doing, everything from putting solar in public housing to community-owned solar cooperatives. This is not the ‘60s or the ‘70s or the ‘80s where we follow one iconic leader. This is a time where we need to have numerous people really taking on the charge of directing something that’s big and complex