Alternative Tuesdays February-May 2023 at 1 pm EST

Analyzing climate change and proposing solutions at the nation-state level can obscure the path forward, as ambition varies widely across countries and can change dramatically as soon as the next election. Furthermore, coordinating the actions of nearly 200 nations (including more than a dozen major emitters) presents its own challenges. Viewing climate solutions as sectoral rather than “national,” may be more productive and give a clearer of how to cut the most emissions in the fastest manner.  

This webinar series, sponsored by American University’s Center for Environmental Policy (CEP) and the not-for-profit think tank Energy Innovation, reframes causes and solutions of climate change as “sectoral” issues.  Over six 75-minute webinars, experts will introduce the problem and present the challenges and successes of efforts to cut emissions in the energy, industry, transportation and buildings, and land use sectors. The final session will present a roundtable discussion on possibilities for implementing a more “sector-based” analysis to complement extant theories of change in the climate mitigation space.

February 21 – Introduction: Why Take a Sectoral Approach to Mitigation?

Why take a sectoral approach to mitigation? How can this complement other approaches to mitigation, such as the traditional approach, based on emissions as measured by nation?  Which sectors offer greater possibilities, which are less promising, and why? Eisenstadt will introduce the series, Orvis will discuss these questions and how Energy Innovation addresses them, and Janet Peace will discuss the propositions presented by Orvis.

Speaker: Robbie Orvis and Rachel Goldstein, Energy Innovation (confirmed)

Discussant: Patrick Bayer, University of Strathclyde  (invited)

Moderator: Todd Eisenstadt, Center for Environmental Policy, School of Public Affairs (confirmed)

Session 1

Robbie Orvis is Senior Director, Modeling and Analysis at Energy Innovation. Robbie directs the firm’s Modeling and Analysis program, which provides policy modeling, analysis, and design insights to decision-makers, think tanks, advocates, and philanthropic groups. Robbie routinely works with federal and state policymakers in the United States as well as international policymakers to analyze legislation and regulation and to provide insights on how to achieve climate goals.

Rachel Goldstein is a Research and Modeling Manager at Energy Innovation, focused on the firm’s Modeling and Analysis Program, where she oversees energy policy research projects and collaborates with external partners and decision-makers to identify decarbonization opportunities. Rachel analyzes emissions trajectories using the firm’s Energy Policy Simulator and communicates key insights from those results. Before joining Energy Innovation, she was a solar research analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables and a solar and storage analyst at the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Patrick Bayer is currently a Reader in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde and will be joining the University of Glasgow as full Professor in Environmental Sustainability & Democracy in May 2023. His research focuses on international cooperation and the political economy of environmental regulation and energy policy. He is particularly interested in how the domestic and international political economy and political incentives shape governments’, firms’, and individuals’ responses to climate change and the global energy transformation. He has published extensively in leading academic journals and is regularly involved in policy work, especially on carbon markets.

Todd A. Eisenstadt serves as research director of the Center for Environmental Policy (CEP), where he organized this webinar series. He has worked on six continents, publishing multiple award-winning books and dozens of articles on climate change and environmental policy, and political development more broadly. He recently co-authored Climate Change, Science, and the Politics of Shared Sacrifice (Oxford University Press 2022) and has written extensively on climate finance and adaptation in the developing world (conducting national surveys in Bangladesh, Ecuador, and currently in Guatemala), and has served as a principal investigator of World Bank and National Science Foundation grants. He is also Professor of Government at American University’s School of Public Affairs.


March 7 –A Sectoral Approach to Climate Mitigation: The Energy Sector

The energy sector has been the focus of many mitigation efforts to date, as clear alternatives like renewable technologies are readily available and increasingly competitive.  Should the energy sector be the highest priority for mitigation strategies?  What has been done right and what has been done wrong to date? What sort of changes would enhance energy sector mitigation strategies (particularly as these relate to the energy grid)?

Speakers: Michael O’Boyle and Michelle Solomon, Energy Innovation (confirmed)

Discussant: Dan Fiorino, Center for Environmental Policy, School of Public Affairs (confirmed)

Moderator: Gabriela Siegfried, EPRI (confirmed)

Session 2

Mike O’Boyle is Energy Innovation’s Director, Electricity. He directs the firm’s Electricity Program, which focuses on designing and quantifying the impacts of policies needed to affordably and reliably decarbonize the U.S. electricity grid. Mike’s expertise includes clean electricity standards, wholesale market design, monopoly utility regulation, and energy efficiency policies.

Michelle Solomon is a Policy Analyst in the Electricity program at Energy Innovation, working to accelerate the transition to a clean and affordable electricity sector in the United States. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, she completed her PhD at Stanford University in Materials Science and Engineering, focusing on nanotechnology. Immediately after graduate school, she was a Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow in the office of Senator Ed Markey, where she worked on all things energy and environment.

Daniel J. Fiorino is the founding Director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Distinguished Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University. Fiorino is the author or co-author of seven books and some 60 articles and book chapters, including A Good Life on a Finite Earth: The Political Economy of Green Growth (Oxford University Press, 2018), Can Democracy Handle Climate Change? (Polity Books, 2018), and Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy (with James Meadowcroft, MIT Press, 2017). MIT Press also published the second edition of Environmental Governance Reconsidered (with Robert F. Durant and Rosemary O’Leary) in 2017.

Gabriella A. Siegfried is a Senior Sustainability Analyst at the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI), Gabriella performs research within the energy sector related to ESG governance/disclosure, corporate social responsibility, and cross-industry benchmarking. While at EPRI, Siegfied has led projects on climate change mitigation through sustainability goal-setting and circular economy metric development for the energy sector. Through AU’s Center for Environmental Policy, where Siegfried worked during her MA program, she conducted research on environmental justice, such as analyzing Hurricane Katrina reconstruction and the Texas Freeze of 2021 from an environmental justice lens.

March 21: A Sectoral Approach to Climate Mitigation: Transportation and Buildings

Among the most evident sectors to most consumers, transportation and buildings both involve high expenditures on infrastructure to retrofit extant systems and build new ones.  What are the successes and obstacles to date in these sectors? What is needed in these sectors to generate more effective climate mitigation?

Speaker: Sarah Baldwin and Chris Busch, Energy Innovation (confirmed)

Discussant: David Levy, Director of Planning and Zoning, Town of Vienna, VA (confirmed)

Moderator: Danielle Wagner, Center for Environmental Policy, School of Public Affairs (confirmed)

Sara Baldwin is the Director of Electrification Policy at Energy Innovation Policy & Technology LLC®, where she leads the firm’s electrification policy practice area to advance economy-wide decarbonization through the electrification of buildings, transportation, and industry. She provides policy analysis and original research to support policymakers at the state, federal, and local levels. She previously served as Vice President of Regulatory for the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and as a Senior Policy Associate for Utah Clean Energy. Sara is a member of GridLab’s advisory board and hosts Energy Innovation’s Electrify This! podcast.

Chris Busch is Director, Transportation and Senior Economist at Energy Innovation, where he leads the firm’s Transportation Program and the firm’s carbon market analysis for regions including California and China. Chris previously served as EI’s California lead and in this role, he led development of the California Energy Policy Simulator to strengthen policies in all major sectors, accelerating decarbonization while delivering social and economic benefits worth tens of billions. Chris is an expert in energy economics and carbon pricing policy, and his research accurately predicted the buildup in excess tradeable permits in California’s cap-and-trade program. Chris previously worked for the BlueGreen Alliance, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

David Levy is Director of Planning and Zoning for the Town of Vienna, VA.  He has extensive experience both in government and the private sector. Before coming to Vienna, he served as Assistant Director and Chief of Long-Range Planning for the City of Rockville, MD. Previously, he served as Assistant Commissioner for Land Resources in Baltimore's Department of Housing & Community Development; and as a consultant with both ICF International (a global consulting and technology-services company) and PA Consulting (formerly Hagler Bailly); as Brownfields Project Coordinator for the Baltimore City Department of Planning; and as Special Assistant to the Mayor of Quito, Ecuador. He has been Chair of the Planning Director's Technical Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Vice President of the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association.  He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and of the Urban Land Institute.

Danielle Miller Wagner serves as the Program Director of the Center for Environmental Policy at American University, School of Public Affairs. She brings more than 20 years of experience working with local governments, universities, NGOs and federal agencies to facilitate collaborative solutions to complex environmental challenges. In her current role, Wagner works across the university as well as with a broad array of external stakeholders to research and communicate about data-driven equitable environmental solutions. Prior to joining American University, Danielle served as Program Director of Smart Cities Week, Brownfields Program Manager at ICMA and International Policy Manager at the GLOBE Program, among other positions.


April 11:A Sectoral Approach to Climate Mitigation: Land Use

Perhaps the most stressed of the sectors discussed, land use involves worldwide issues of food security, population growth, carrying capacity, biodiversity, and the livelihood of many, especially disadvantaged rural dwellers, as well as mitigation.  Can these issues be disentangled, and how does addressing mitigation impact these other areas? 

Speaker: Crystal Davis, Director of Land & Carbon Lab, World Resources Institute

Discussant: James Moulder, Co-founder of Tasman Environmental Markets

Moderator: Garima Sharma, Kogod School of Business, American University

Crystal Davis is the Director of Land & Carbon Lab at the World Resources Institute. In this role, she builds and executes strategies to harness the Earth data revolution to accelerate nature-based solutions to climate change. Crystal helped found Global Forest Watch in 2014, a powerful near-real-time forest monitoring system that creates radical transparency on what is happening in forests around the world. She works with companies, governments, and civil society organizations to use GFW’s data and tools to mobilize more effective, rights-based conservation and sustainable management of forests. Crystal previously worked on strengthening forest governance Brazil, Indonesia, and Cameroon with WRI’s Institutions and Governance Program.  Prior to joining WRI, she worked in environmental consulting in Half Moon Bay, California.

James Moulder has been an active participant in carbon and environmental markets in New Zealand, Australia and Asia for two decades.  After a successful career as a senior executive within the New Zealand renewable power industry James co-founded Tasman Environmental Markets (TEM,  TEM is one of the Asian regions leading carbon development, technology, and sustainable product organisations.  TEM has been active in the development of carbon projects utilising a range of technologies from nature-based solutions (including avoided deforestation, human induced regeneration and afforestation) through to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.  James retired as a key executive of TEM in January 2023, but remains on the Board of Directors and is a major shareholder in the company.  Additionally, James Board Member of major New Zealand power generator Genesis Energy, as well as having an academic interest in the development of rules around the creation and trading of unitised carbon reductions.  

Garima Sharma is an Assistant Professor at Kogod School of Business, American University. Her research focuses on sustainability, CSR, social entrepreneurship, B Corps, and related tensions of purpose and profits. She is also interested in understanding how research impacts practice, and the topics of research-practice collaboration for addressing grand challenges such as climate change. Her research has been published in several top-tier management journals such as Academy of Management Journal and Journal of Management Studies. Before Kogod, she was an Assistant Professor at Georgia State University and University of New Mexico.


April 18: A Sectoral Approach to Climate Mitigation: The Industrial Sector

What are some “low-hanging” fruit for mitigation in the industrial sector? How might mitigation efforts in the sector be improved? How important is industry to the mitigation strategies of nations and the international community, and how strong should it be? 

Speaker: Jeff Rissman, Energy Innovation

Discussant: Janet Peace, Anew Climate

Moderator: Todd Eisenstadt, Research Director, Center for Environmental Policy and Professor of Government

Jeffrey Rissman is Energy Innovation’s Director, Industry, leading the company’s work on technologies and policies to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions from the industry sector. He is also the originator and developer of the Energy Policy Simulator, a computer model quantifying cost and emissions impacts of various policy combinations. His previous work at the firm focused on clean tech R&D. Jeff holds an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from UNC Chapel Hill, and a B.A. in International Relations with honors from Stanford University.

Janet Peace is head of advisory services for Anew Climate. She was previously Chief of Advisory Services at Bluesource. Bluesource works with companies, governments and NGOs to reduce and mitigate environmental impacts. They develop projects that create land, water and climate benefits, using strategic partnerships, finance, innovation and markets to achieve these goals.Prior to Bluesource, Peace was the Senior Vice President of Policy and Business Strategy at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) where she worked for over a decade, managing the center's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), the largest U.S.-based association of companies devoted to climate-related policy and corporate strategies. The BELC contains mainly Fortune 500 companies with combined revenues of over $2 trillion and more than 3.5 million employees.


May 9: A Sectoral Approach to Climate Mitigation: Roundtable on Possibilities and Challenges

Which sectors offer the most promise for increased mitigation? How might the promise of all sectors best be accessed? What should government’s role be in redirecting mitigation efforts? The private sector’s role? How can the international community (such as the United Nations) better leverage the potential of the sectoral approach, and how might this approach be more commonly used to complement other extant approaches to measuring and assessing mitigation efforts (such as by country)?

Speakers: Anand Gopal, Energy Innovation 

Elin Boasson Lerum, University of Oslo

Todd Eisenstadt, Center for Environmental Policy, School of Public Affairs

Daniela Stevens, Inter-american Dialogue, Energy Program director (moderator)

Anand R. Gopal is Energy Innovation’s Executive Director, Policy Research, where he leads the firm’s research and modeling teams, supporting policy design to reduce emissions equitably at the speed and scale required to meet the climate challenge. From 2018 to 2021, he was a program officer in the Environment Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, managing global strategic grantmaking on clean power and transportation, as well as support for climate policy in India. Before that, Anand was a research scientist in clean energy and transportation at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), leading LBNL’s global research on energy policy solutions for climate mitigation. He is Vice Chair of the Board at the International Council on Clean Transportation, a board member at Veloz, and serves on the Drive Electric Campaign’s steering committee aiming to accelerate the global transition to zero-emission road transport.

Elin Lerum Boasson studies variation in climate and energy policy accross countries, and explores how and to what extent business, governmental organizations, politicians and EU steering shapes the policy development. She is one of the lead authors in the 6th Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with a special responsibility for national policies and institutions. Boasson has a 20% position at CICERO Center for International Climate Research. Boasson was a leader of working group 1 ‘Sources’ (focusing on climate policy invention) in the COST Action Innovations in Climate Governance: Sources, Patterns and Effects. She also led the  large research project 'Revising the National Renewables Policy Mix: The role of state aid and other key EU policies (REMIX)'.

Todd A. Eisenstadt serves as research director of the Center for Environmental Policy (CEP), where he organized this webinar series. He has worked on six continents, publishing multiple award-winning books and dozens of articles on climate change and environmental policy, and political development more broadly. He recently co-authored Climate Change, Science, and the Politics of Shared Sacrifice (Oxford University Press 2022) and has written extensively on climate finance and adaptation in the developing world (conducting national surveys in Bangladesh, Ecuador, and currently in Guatemala), and has served as a principal investigator of World Bank and National Science Foundation grants. He is also Professor of Government at American University’s School of Public Affairs.


Daniela Stevens is director of the Energy, Climate Change & Extractive Industries Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. Before joining the Dialogue, Stevens was assistant professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. Prior to that, Stevens was a research fellow at Yale University, where she performed research on coalition-building in Latin America, and energy reform in Mexico.  Stevens has published widely in specialized environmental and climate journals, such as Global Environmental Politics by MIT Press, and written opinion pieces for Nexos and commentary for El Universal. A Mexican national, Stevens has experience in the local and federal public administrations. She holds a PhD in Comparative Politics from the School of Public Affairs at American University.