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Environmental Law Symposium - The Future of California Climate Law and Policy: View to 2030

Friday, March 10

Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom, room 1001
8:30 AM – 5:30 PM

The 2017 UC Davis Environmental Law Symposium will explore California’s role as a prominent national and international climate leader by bringing together legal and policy authorities from government agencies, academia, business, industry, nonprofit organizations, private practice, and individual communities. The day-long event will feature panels addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with California’s bold new climate legislation; the relationship between climate change, agriculture, and water scarcity; legal and policy strategies to promote zero emission vehicles and alternative transportation systems; and the future of our state’s distinctive climate change “foreign policy.” Each panel will address the potential impacts of President Trump’s political agenda on California climate law and policy.       

FREE MCLE event.


8:30-9:00 AM: Breakfast and Check-in

9:00-9:55 AM: Introduction, keynote, and opening remarks

Opening Remarks: Ben Houlton, Director, UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment

Introduction: Professor Rick Frank, Director, California Environmental Law & Policy Center

Keynote: TBD (Waiting for responses from Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon)

9:45-9:55 AM: Morning Break

9:55-11:10 AM: Panel 1

Implementing California’s Bold New Climate Legislation, SB 32

In 2016, the California legislature adopted a bold new law—SB 32—which directs the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. To meet this mandate, California must rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors. Presenters will teach the audience about SB 32’s mandate and strategies to implement the law, including the California Air Resources Board’s SB 32 scoping plan. Lawyers in attendance will also learn how SB 32 can be used as a tool to uplift the state’s most disadvantaged communities and how the legal community can work with California business leaders to support entrepreneurial efforts to tackle climate change.


  1.     Jeffery Greenblatt, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  2.     Gabriel Monroe, Counsel, California Air Resources Board
  3.     Nancy Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Partners
  4.     Alvaro Sanchez, Environmental Equity Director, Greenlining Institute

Moderator: Sophie Wenzlau, UC Davis School of Law (’17)

11:10-11:20 AM: Morning Break

11:20 AM-12:35 PM: Panel 2

Climate Change and Agriculture in California

What will climate change mean for California as a leader in global food production? This panel will address the challenges associated with maintaining sufficient crop production to feed a growing population in the face of a changing climate and increasing drought conditions.

Lawyers in attendance will learn about the nexus between climate law, water law, land use law, and agriculture law, and what can be done to ensure that California becomes a more sustainable food producer. The audience will learn how California’s water laws and policies, such as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, could affect water allocation to agriculture in the context of climate change. Panelists will also teach the audience about pesticide and fertilizer regulation and climate-friendly alternatives to the existing regulatory framework and address the impact of agriculture law on rural, often impoverished communities. Panelists will also discuss why almost all of the 2016 legislation (i.e., SB 1317 and SB 1350) that was slated to have a positive impact on agriculture and climate change was stalled or voted down.

  1. Renata Brillinger, Executive Director, California Climate and Agriculture Network
  2. Sonja Brodt, Academic Coordinator, UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute
  3. Jennifer Lester Moffitt, Deputy Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  4. Jay Lund, Director, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences

Moderator: Dane Jones, UC Davis School of Law (’18)

12:35-1:20 PM: Lunch

1:20-2:35 PM: Panel 3

The Future of Personal Transportation in California: Zero Emission Vehicles and Alternative Mobility

California’s transportation sector is responsible for approximately forty percent of statewide greenhouse gas emissions. The vast majority of these emissions come from cars, motorcycles, and light-duty trucks. In order to meet the state’s ambitious climate change mandate of a forty percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2030, Californians must transition to new and climate-friendly modes of personal transportation. In this panel, presenters will teach the audience about existing laws and policies that promote zero emission vehicles and alternative mobility (i.e., walking, biking, and public transportation) in California, such as SB 375 and the state’s Advanced Clean Cars program. Panelists will teach lawyers in the audience about the efficacy of existing laws and potential legal solutions to the state’s transportation emissions problem.   


  1. Irene Gutierrez, Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
  2. Jonathan London, Director, UC Davis Center for Regional Change
  3. Gil Tal, Professional Researcher, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies
  4. Daniel Witt, Business Development and Policy Manager, Tesla

Moderator: Sophie Wenzlau, UC Davis School of Law (’17)

2:35-2:45 PM: Afternoon Break

2:45-4:00 P.M.: Panel 4

California’s Foreign Policy on Climate Change

What role does California play in the international response to climate change? California’s commitment to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions has, in many ways, paved the way for other governmental entities to follow suit. Panelists will teach the audience about California’s international climate policy, including the Under2 MOU coalition, individual strategic partnerships, and participation in international climate negotiations. Lawyers in the audience will learn about the relationship between sub-national governments, climate policy, federal preemption, and foreign relations.


  1. Danny Cullenward, Research Associate, Carnegie Institution for Science
  2. Alexa Kleysteuber, Deputy Secretary for Border and Intergovernmental Relations, California Environmental Protection Agency
  3. Margaret Minnick, International Liaison Manager, California Air Resources Board
  4. Alana Sanchez, International Relations Senior Advisor, California Energy Commission

Moderator: Jamie Katz, UC Davis School of Law (’18)

4:00-4:10 PM: Closing Remarks

4:10-5:30 PM: Reception

Presented by the Environmental Law Society and Environs: Environmental Law & Policy Journal at UC Davis School of Law, in partnership with the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment and the California Environmental Law & Policy Center. 

FREE MCLE event.