Climate Coffee Break: A Chat with California Climate Leaders about recent accomplishments and what remains to be done

International Labour Organization Pavilion in the Blue Zone at Zone B7, Building 88 on the 3rd Floor

California passed a number of important bills into law this year, including bills to hold corporations accountable for their carbon emissions, codify 30×30 conservation goals, move transportation toward zero-emissions vehicles and infrastructure, make it easier to implement transmission infrastructure and finance large-scale infrastructure projects, and reign in oil industry greed at the expense of consumers. … Read more

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Reforming California’s Cap and Trade Program Policy Brief

Analysis and Recommendations

Sacramento River. Photo via Canva.

Executive Summary and Key Recommendations The California Cap and Trade Program plays a pivotal role in the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A review of the program ahead of the upcoming 2025 compliance period has opened a critical window of opportunity to address and correct the program’s recognized shortcomings. In this policy brief, … Read more

Harnessing the Power of Nature in Achieving 1.5 C

Pathways to 1.5 Pavillion (The Climate Registry); Blue Zone

Protecting 30 percent of the world’s lands and waters by 2030 (30×30) to prevent biodiversity loss is often viewed as a conservation-focused goal. But nature-based solutions and efforts to achieve 30×30 have the potential to contribute significantly to broader climate objectives.  This conversation will examine the relationship between nature and climate, drawing from real-world examples … Read more

Liane Randolph

Liane Randolph has spent most of her career in public service, specializing in environmental law and policy, effective administration, and a commitment to transparency and public process. She was appointed Chair of the California Air Resources Board by Governor Gavin Newsom in December 2020. Starting in 2015, Randolph served six years as a Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission and managed numerous decisions on energy efficiency, integrated energy resource planning, and regulation of transportation network companies, as well as spearheading significant Commission policy reforms. Prior to the PUC, Randolph served from 2011 to 2014 as Deputy Secretary and General Counsel at the California Natural Resources Agency, where she worked on a wide variety of legal and policy issues. Her work at the state level builds on experience with local government that she gained while practicing municipal law as a contract City Attorney for the Cities of San Leandro and Suisun City. Randolph earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and lives in Oakland with her husband and family.

Matt Petersen 

Matt Petersen is the President and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI.) LACI is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation (e.g., incubating leading startups), transforming markets (i.e., creating aspirational partnerships), and enhancing community (i.e., inspiring future entrepreneurs). LACI’s three priorities are accelerating transportation electrification, clean energy, and sustainable cities. Prior to joining LACI, Matt Petersen was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as the first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. Serving as CSO for four years, Petersen was the chief architect of the groundbreaking Sustainable City pLAn, led efforts to make LA a global leader in EVs, and helped create the Climate Mayors.

Luisa Keßler

Luisa, a political scientist with a focus in interdisciplinary sustainability research, started working at Bellona’s Berlin office in 2022. The international environmental and climate action organization pursues a systemic approach to climate change mitigation on a science-based and solution-oriented basis. Bellona Deutschland is committed to paving the way for a climate-neutral economy in Germany. As policy advisor for a sustainable hydrogen economy, Luisa is responsible for analyzing and advocating for a systemically sensible production, distribution, and use of hydrogen.

Collin Rees

Collin Rees is the U.S. Program Manager at Oil Change International working to stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, support grassroots resistance against dirty infrastructure, end public support for oil, gas, and coal, and wind down fossil fuel production with a just and equitable transition. He has campaigned on climate and racial justice, labor issues, and new economic models for over a decade, spanning local to international levels. Prior to joining Oil Change, Collin worked to build the power of the student fossil fuel divestment movement at, and trained youth to run campaigns with the Energy Action Coalition (now the Power Shift Network). He campaigned at the international climate negotiations with youth advocacy group SustainUS and is now a Board member, and previously worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Collin studied Mechanical and materials Science Engineering at Harvard University.

Richard Folland

Richard Folland has been Carbon Tracker’s policy and government affairs adviser since 2014 and in 2023 joined as the Head of Policy and Engagement. Richard has over 30 years of experience as a diplomat and advocate, operating at the highest level, based in Europe and elsewhere. He has worked on the climate and energy agenda, as a policymaker and as a private sector advisor, for 15 years. A former head of international energy policy at the UK Foreign Office, Richard has also been JPMorgan’s European Advisor on Energy and Climate Change, the Executive Director of the Climate Markets and Investment Association (CMIA), and the Head of Energy and Environment at Inline Policy. He was Co-Founder of the strategic advisory firm, Sustineri, working with institutional investors on climate and sustainability issues.

Serena McIlwain

Serena McIlwain was confirmed as the Maryland Department of the Environment’s 11th Secretary on March 2, 2023. Prior to that, Secretary McIlwain was the Under Secretary at the California Environmental Protection Agency. A native of the Washington Metro area, Secretary McIlwain also worked for the federal government as a Senior Executive for numerous Executive Branch agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as Assistant Regional Administrator for Region 9 in San Francisco, California, Performance Improvement Officer, and Director of Continuous Improvement at U.S. EPA Headquarters, and Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. Secretary McIlwain received a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University and a Master’s degree in Administration and International Studies from Central Michigan University.​