• Reducing Greenhouse Gases in California

    April 10 2008, 18:00 - 18:00
    Location: AmCham France


    Catherine Witherspoon is an international consultant on air quality and climate change issues, with 26 years of combined experience at the federal, state and local level.  Most recently, she served as Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), where she managed a staff of 1,000, oversaw an annual budget of $350M, and reported to an interdisciplinary Governing Board appointed by the Governor.  Ms. Witherspoon presided over the adoption of California’s greenhouse gas standards for motor vehicles and was directly involved in the drafting of Assembly Bill 32, California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.   

    Ms. Witherspoon began her career as a CARB student assistant in 1981 and held increasingly responsible positions over the next 13 years including Legislative Representative, Chief of Air Quality & Transportation Planning, and Assistant Executive Officer.  Between 1995 and 1998,
    Ms. Witherspoon served briefly as an Expert Consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1995), was Legislative Director for the South Coast Air Quality Management District (1995-1997), and ran her own consulting firm (1998).  In 1999, Ms. Witherspoon returned to CARB as the Senior Policy Advisor to then-Chairman, Dr. Alan Lloyd.  She became CARB’s Executive Officer in January 2003, a position she held through July 2007.   Ms. Witherspoon holds a B.A. in Politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz. 

    Since 1967, California has led the nation and the world on cutting-edge research to identify the causes and impacts of air pollution, including those upon public health, societal welfare and the broader ecology.  California has pioneered technology-forcing regulations across a wide spectrum of emission sources including mobile sources, fuels, consumer products, industrial facilities and diesel engines of all kinds.  In the 1970s, California launched major energy efficiency programs that have held the State’s per capita power consumption constant for the last 35 years.  Now California is moving aggressively to reverse the growth in greenhouse gases, with a long term goal of cutting statewide emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.   California’s half-century of experience is instructive to other governments seeking to advance environmental initiatives.