In North America and around the world, alliances are rolling out their own initiatives to address climate change, taking a bottom up approach and focusing on local action. Representatives from these groups will lead a discussion on their activities, what they hope to accomplish and the role of sub-national initiatives now and in the future.
Linda S. Adams, former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) , is a seasoned policy maker, strategic communicator and a trusted and respected public servant. For almost four decades, Linda has served the people of the State of California as a long-time environmental leader.
Most recently, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed her the first woman to serve as Secretary of the Cal/EPA. As Secretary, Adams oversees the environmental activities of the Air Resources Board, State Water Resources Control Board, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Department of Toxic Substances Control, Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the approximately 5,000 employees that serve the state’s diverse environmental programs.She continued serving in this capacity under newly elected Governor Edmund G. Brown during the transition period.
In this capacity, Adams worked as the lead negotiator for California Assembly Bill 32, the most comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction law in the United States. Amongst other accomplishments as Secretary, Adams implemented some of the first environmental justice programs in the country. These programs focused on protecting the most vulnerable groups in the state, including California’s Native-American tribes, regarding water, toxic substances, and other regulatory matters. Adams also developed a number of environmental policies, including the Green Chemistry Initiative, which calls for a more comprehensive look at California’s chemical policies and the State’s bio-monitoring program, which seeks to link environmental contaminants to human health. Adams also negotiated, on behalf of former California Governor Gray Davis, the creation of the state’s first environmental education programs and served as a board member of the Ocean Protection Council, Strategic Growth Council and Chair of the California-Mexico Border Relations Council.
Prior to her time at the California EPA, Adams served as a committee consultant for over twenty years, providing counsel to both houses of the California Legislature. She later served under former California Governor Gray Davis as his Chief Deputy Legislative Secretary, where her primary responsibilities were negotiating legislation related to environmental protection and natural resources. Adams also negotiated, under Governor Davis, the Pavley “Clean Cars/Clean Air” legislation, earning her the “Environmental Hero Award” from the California League of Conservation Voters. She later served as Chief of Staff to former California State Controller Steve Westly.
As part of her extensive international work, Adams forged partnerships with countries and subnational governments throughout the world. She signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), concerning carbon offsets, between California and regions in Mexico and China. Additionally, in 2007, Adams helped launch the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) to encourage the development of a global carbon market.
Adams currently serves as chairwoman of the Climate Action Reserve, a nationally recognized carbon offset program. She spearheaded the creation and now serves as the founding President of R20/Regions of Climate Action, chaired by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is the first international consortium for subnational governments seeking to combat climate change. She also represents Oxfam America’s Sisters of the Planet as a global ambassador and serves on the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps, along with serving on the board of the Delta Vision Foundation and as an advisory board member for the Verification Carbon Standard program.
In the absence of an international agreement that would create a truly global carbon market, state and national governments around the world are demonstrating leadership by establishing a network of emissions trading programs and exploring linkages under a series of unique multi- and bilateral agreements. In a cross-cutting panel discussion, international leaders will discuss their efforts and the prospects for these approaches to build a new global framework for limiting greenhouse gas emissions.