State Climate Policy in the Trump Era: California and Beyond

The Trump Administration has made clear that it intends to roll back federal climate regulation in significant ways. Meanwhile, California has embraced an ambitious new set of climate targets and has positioned itself to resist federal retrenchment. This day-long symposium will focus on the role of states in the face of federal backsliding on climate regulation.

In the morning panel, regulators, policy experts, and stakeholders will examine implementation of California's new climate laws, SB 32, AB 197, and SB 1383, through exploration of their strengths, limitations, and open implementation questions.

Afternoon panels will examine the role of California and other leading states in resisting federal backsliding on climate law. Panelists will consider countervailing strategies including affirmative litigation, the future of state coalitions, and other creative approaches to protecting and expanding state authority in the climate sphere.

This event is free and open to the public. It will provide 5 hours of MCLE credit. Lunch will be served. UCLA School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.

Host and main sponsor: Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA School of Law
Cosponsors: UCLA Environmental Law Society | UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Symposium Video Recording

Program agenda

Panel 1: California's Climate Targets and Tools to Achieve Them

In its last session, the California legislature adopted an ambitious climate emissions reduction target for 2030 and gave the state Air Resources Board both additional authorities and new direction about how to reach that target. This panel will examine implementation of three new California climate laws, SB 32, AB 197, and SB 1383, through exploration of their strengths, limitations, and open implementation questions on the path to 2030.


  • Cara Horowitz, Emmett Institute, UCLA School of Law


  • Edie Chang, California Air Resources Board
  • Alex Jackson, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Chelsea Tu, Public Advocates

Conversation with Mary Nichols and Alice Reynolds: California's Path Forward

Mary Nichols is Chair of the state's Air Resources Board. Alice Reynolds is the Senior Advisor for Climate, the Environment and Energy to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. They will discuss the priorities of ARB and the Brown administration as the state works to shore up progress on climate change, in light of the recent federal shifts on climate regulation.


  • Ann Carlson, Emmett Institute, UCLA School of Law


  • Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board
  • Alice Reynolds, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Panel 2: State Strategies for Climate Resistance – Protecting federal safeguards and state progress

This panel will examine the risks posed by federal backsliding from current federal safeguards and state progress on environmental quality, and will explore countervailing strategies. What actions are being taken, or could be taken, by California, other states, and environmental advocates to resist retrenchment and to protect state programs and progress? The panel will discuss, for example, current California legislative proposals as well as litigation approaches to resisting federal law rollbacks, including efforts to protect California's landmark transportation emission-control measures under the Clean Air Act.


  • Sean Hecht, Emmett Institute, UCLA School of Law


  • Brendan Cummings, Center for Biological Diversity
  • Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice
  • Craig Segall, California Air Resources Board
  • Henry Stern, California Senator

Panel 3: State Strategies for Climate Resistance, cont'd. – Interstate implications and collaborations

This panel will continue examining countervailing strategies to preserve progressive climate action. What steps are being taken, or could be taken, by collaborations of states acting together to advance climate regulation? The panel will assess the potential of coordinated state work.


  • Alex Wang, Emmett Institute, UCLA School of Law


  • Ann Carlson, Emmett Institute, UCLA School of Law
  • Chris Davis, Governor's Advisor on Carbon Markets, Washington State
  • Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center

MCLE Materials

Symposium Background Papers

Panel 1

Panel 3

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