APL Colloquium

May 7, 2021

Colloquium Topic: America's Zero Carbon Action Plan

Climate change represents a profound policy challenge to America and the world – requiring a response at a sweeping scale and with unprecedented speed centered on remaking the energy foundations of our society. The move to a clean and renewable energy future must be advanced at the same time America works to recover from the most serious pandemic in a century and the parallel economic collapse triggered by Covid-19. The Zero Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP) responds comprehensively to this multidimensional policy imperative.

Colloquium Speaker: Dan Esty

Dan Esty is the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University with primary appointments at Yale’s Environment and Law Schools and a secondary appointment at the Yale School of Management. He serves as director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (www.yale.edu/envirocenter) and as co-director of the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance. Professor Esty is the author or editor of thirteen books and dozens of articles on environmental protection, regulatory reform, finance, and energy policy -- and their connections to sustainability, trade, and broad-based economic progress. 

His prizewinning volume, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage, was recently named the top “green business” book of the past decade. Long recognized for his work to bring environmental concerns into the international trading system (dozens of articles and five books, including the pathbreaking, Greening the GATT), Professor Esty’s recent research and writing offers cutting-edge thinking about climate change, corporate sustainability, environmental performance metrics, sustainable investing, innovation, global governance reform, and new approaches to environmental protection -- including a widely hailed article, “Red Lights to Green Lights: From 20th Century Environmental Regulation to 21st Century Sustainability” as well as a 2019 edited book, A Better Planet: 40 Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future. Professor Esty’s most recent (edited) book, Values at Work: Sustainable Investing and ESG Reporting has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan.

From 2011 to early 2014, Professor Esty served as Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection where he earned a reputation for fresh thinking and practical results – including an ability to consult widely, engage diverse stakeholders, and deliver transformative change. His policy innovations included the launch of Connecticut’s first-in-the-nation Green Bank to promote clean energy using limited public funding to leverage private capital and a restructuring of all of Connecticut’s environmental permitting programs to make the state’s regulatory framework lighter, faster, more efficient, and effective. 

Prior to taking up his Yale Professorship in 1994, Professor Esty served in a variety of senior positions at the US Environmental Protection Agency where he helped to manage the agency’s regulatory programs and negotiate the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change.  He also worked as a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC, where his research and writing on the links between trade and sustainability issues and the broader challenges of globalization gained widespread recognition.