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

Friday March 10, 2017

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 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; strategies to promote zero emission vehicles and alternative transportation systems; and the future of our state’s distinctive climate change “foreign policy.” As part of the discussion 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

9:00-9:45 AM: Introduction, keynote, and opening remarks

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

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

Keynote: Ashley Conrad-Saydah, Deputy Secretary for Climate Policy at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)

9:45-9:55 AM: Morning Break

9:55-11:10 AM: Panel 1

Implementing California’s Bold New Climate Legislation

In 2016, the California Legislature adopted SB 32, which directs the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to forty percent below 1990 levels by 2030. To meet this mandate, California must rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors. Panelists will discuss SB 32’s mandate and strategies to implement the law, including the California Air Resources Board’s draft SB 32 scoping plan. Lawyers in attendance will learn how the state can use SB 32 as a tool to improve life in disadvantaged communities, and how the legal community can work with state business leaders to support entrepreneurial efforts to combat climate change.


Jeffery Greenblatt, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Gabriel Monroe, Counsel, California Air Resources Board
Nancy Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Partners
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 about 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 will address the impact of agriculture law on rural, often impoverished communities. Panelists will also discuss why nearly all of the 2016 state legislation (e.g., SB 1317 and SB 1350) that was slated to have a positive impact on agriculture and climate change was stalled or voted down.


Renata Brillinger, Executive Director, California Climate and Agriculture Network
Sonja Brodt, Academic Coordinator, UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute
Jennifer Lester Moffitt, Deputy Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture
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 newer and more climate-friendly modes of personal transportation. During this panel, panelists will discuss existing laws and policies that promote zero emission vehicles and alternative mobility (e.g., walking, biking, and public transportation) in California, such as SB 375 and the state’s Advanced Clean Cars program. Panelists will debate the efficacy of existing laws and suggest legal solutions to the state’s transportation emissions problem.


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

Moderator: Professor Rick Frank, UC Davis School of Law

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 internal commitments to reduce GHG emissions have, in many ways, led the way. Yet California’s commitment to lead on climate policy has not remained strictly within its borders. From the Under2 MOU as well as individual strategic partnerships, to sending delegations to international climate negotiations, California has emerged as an outspoken leader on international climate policy. What opportunities are there to address climate change in the absence of federal action? Panelists will discuss the role of sub-national governments, private climate change governance efforts, and possibilities for domestic carbon taxes.


Danny Cullenward, Carnegie Institute for Science
Richard Frank, UC Davis School of Law
Albert Lin, UC Davis School of Law
Lesley McAllister, UC Davis School of Law
Darien Shanske, UC Davis School of Law
Michael H. Dreibelbis, Latham & Watkins

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. 

Co-sponsored by Sacramento County State Bar Environmental Law Section, Orrick, Herrington & Suttcliffe, and Somach Simmons & Dunn.

FREE MCLE event.



For more information, please contact Sophie Wenzlau at