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Climate and Energy Policy Program

wind mills and power lines
Wildfire Strategy

Whitepaper: A New Strategy for Addressing the Wildfire Epidemic in California

Providing insight to drive an equitable, resilient, and effective transition to clean energy.

The Climate and Energy Policy Program (CEPP) operates at the interface of policy analysis, academic research and education, and stakeholder engagement. It serves as a practical, timely, and neutral voice focused on informing decision making on climate and energy law and regulation. Understanding the costs, trade-offs, and consequences of policy and regulatory strategies is critical for improving our climate future and building a just, equitable, and resilient transition to a clean energy system. By collaborating with external partners in the government, private, and non-profit sectors, the CEPP integrates interdisciplinary research with direct policy engagement, while also providing opportunities for Stanford students and faculty to directly engage with and solve real energy and climate policy problems.

Focal Areas


Wildfire Risk and Response

Wildfires have devastated California and beyond in recent years and the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. The CEPP works directly with policy principals and their staff, as well as diverse stakeholders, to develop and understand policy initiatives aimed at addressing the causes, impacts, and effective responses to catastrophic wildfires in the American West.

Gas and Electric Burner

Building Decarbonization

Eliminating fossil fuel use in homes is an important avenue for decarbonization. The CEPP analyzes legal and regulatory strategies to electrify new and existing buildings, the implications of electrification for natural gas systems serving residential properties, and the cost and equity issues associated with these changes.

Flooded Houston

Climate Financial Risk

Climate change and its associated impacts may create systemic risks for the financial system. Through development and use of modelling tools and policy analysis, the CEPP studies both the physical risks posed by climate change, such as more frequent and severe extreme events, and the risks associated with the transition to a low carbon economy, such as the impact of a fragmented climate policy landscape, on firms and financial assets.

capitol building

Assessing Policy Implementation

While setting ambitious targets for reducing emissions is important for combatting climate change, successfully implementing climate and energy policies to actually meet those targets is both critical and difficult. The CEPP looks at real world examples of successful and unsuccessful policies to better understand progress to date. Measuring the impact of policies and outcomes allows us to reflect on lessons learned and gain insight into future mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Real-time Policy & Regulatory Analysis

The CEPP aims to provide evidence-based, rapid, transparent, real-time analysis of policies under consideration and their impacts on people, communities, and industries. It also takes a deep look at energy system modeling efforts informing policy goals and strategies to evaluate key assumptions against real-world conditions.

Environmental justice march

Environmental Justice

The CEPP is dedicated to building environmental justice and equity into the clean energy transition. Through its analysis and outreach, the program strives to empower diverse audiences to advocate for themselves in legal, regulatory and government settings, particularly those who have historically suffered from structural racism in the energy system.

Our Team

Michael Wara

Director, Climate and Energy Policy Program and Senior Research Scholar, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Michael Mastrandrea

Research Director, Climate and Energy Policy Program and Senior Research Scholar, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Resources & Opportunities

Stanford Walkway

Stanford undergraduate and graduate students can explore courses and educational opportunities offered by CEPP and related partners.

Cover page of a report

Read white papers, reports and other publications from CEPP and our partners.

CA state capitol

The CEPP partners and collaborates with a number of entities across sectors on critical climate and energy policy issues.

Related News

four people at the hearing
On August 25, the California State Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy hosted an informational hearing “Beyond New Construction: Decarbonizing California’s Existing Building Stock,” which...
Wildfire-weary Californians may be wondering whether their state – the world’s fifth largest economy – is destined for an ever-intensifying cycle of destruction. Can ambitious interventions slow the...
April 15, 2021 | Vox
Michael Wara comments on California Gov. Gavin Newsom's new announcement about funding to help the state manage wildfires.
April 8, 2021 | Los Angeles Times
Michael Wara disucsses the importance of treating California wildfires as an emergency and why funding for prevention plans is justified.
It wipes out entire communities in a matter of moments, weakens our lungs and even taints our drinking water, yet federal strategy to combat wildfires remains outdated and largely ineffective. The...
March 22, 2021 | San Francisco Chronicle
Michael Wara discusses how to provide a broad benefit to many communities in California to make them safer by putting fire protection and earthquake seismic safety in the same bills.