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CCEEB names Harvard economist as 2016 Pat Brown Award winner

Business, labor and public leaders gathered at CCEEB’s annual policy conference to honor the work of notable Harvard economist Dr. Robert Stavins, this year’s Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Award recipient.

Director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, Dr. Stavins has been a major voice on environmental policies internationally, nationally, and in California. Stavins’ research has helped infuse climate negotiations at the United Nations with principles of economic logic, and his book, Architectures for Agreement: Addressing Global Climate Change in the Post-Kyoto World, has become the de facto playbook for national delegates, businesses, and non-profits hoping to build an international framework for meaningful climate actions.

Starting in the 1980’s, Stavins began advancing the use of market-based instruments as a way to improve the efficiency of environmental policies. His research led directly to EPA’s establishment in 1990 of an emissions trading program for sulfur dioxide; Mary Nichols would subsequently lead this national effort as EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation. Years later, and with Nichols chairing the state air board, their work to combat acid rain would influence design of California’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade market, the first economy-wide climate program in the United States.

Dr. Stavins continues to educate policy makers worldwide. He has served on a long list of advisories and boards, including chair of EPA’s Environmental Economics Advisory Committee and lead author for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and has been a consultant to numerous organization, including the National Academy of Sciences, the World Bank, NRDC, EDF, the Sierra Club, and private foundations and firms. Stavins is a frequent contributor to periodicals such as The Environmental Forum, and writes a popular blog on environmental policy issues, with many insights on California’s climate programs.

“Everybody knows Rob’s work,” explained CCEEB President Gerald Secundy on this year’s award selection. “While we should certainly be proud of our accomplishments in California, it’s all pretty meaningless if done in a vacuum. Rob shows us a path towards linking to the wider world, to being more than just the ‘Island of California.’ That’s how we’ll ultimately solve the climate problem.”

Previous recipients of the Pat Brown Award include State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus, State Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols, State Senator Fran Pavley, the late Tom Graff of the Environmental Defense Fund, and Governor Schwarzenegger with Speaker Nuñez and pro Tem Perata. CCEEB is a coalition of business, labor, and public leaders that advances strategies for a sound economy and a healthy environment.