Policy Forum: New U.S. Leadership, Next Steps on Climate Change

Speaker Biographies


Katherine States BurkeKatherine States Burke is the Deputy Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University School of Medicine. As Deputy Director, Burke, MM, MSc, fosters interdisciplinary initiatives and partnerships across Stanford University and oversees all administrative operations of the Center. Prior to Stanford, Burke served as a Senior Fellow in Global Health Sciences at UCSF, where she led the UCSF Centers of Excellence Project.

Educated at Harvard University, Burke began her career as a reporter, editor and publishing executive in legal and consumer publications. In the past decade, she returned to an early interest in health and earned a Master of Science in Global Health Sciences from the University of California, San Francisco. She also has a MM from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Her interests include building research, training and health leadership capacity in low-resource settings, and online education as a tool in training health workers in Africa. Burke serves on several boards, including the board of Accordia Global Health Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health Board of Dean’s Advisers.


James L. ConnaughtonJames L. Connaughton is one of America’s most distinguished energy and environmental experts, as both corporate leader and prominent White House policymaker. He currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer at Nautilus Data Technologies, a revolutionary data center company. Previously, Connaughton served as Executive Vice President of C3 Energy, enabling energy companies to realize the full benefit of their IoT and system investments by applying the power of big data, advanced analytics, social networking, machine learning, and cloud computing to improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of power generation and delivery – making the ‘Internet of Energy’ a reality.

Prior to his role at C3 Energy, Connaughton was Executive Vice President and Senior Policy Advisor at Exelon and Constellation Energy (which merged with Exelon). There he served on each company’s Executive Committee with responsibility for major public policy priorities, federal and state energy market regulation, public sector business development, corporate sustainability, technology innovation initiatives and certain venture investments.

In 2001, Connaughton was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. From 2001‐2009 he served as President Bush’s senior advisor on energy, environment and natural resources, and as Director of the White House Office of Environmental Policy. During his service with the federal government, Connaughton worked closely with the President, the Cabinet and the Congress to develop and implement energy, environment, natural resource, and climate change policies. This work led to a series of new market‐based programs, incentives, technology initiatives and public‐private partnerships that included bipartisan energy legislation, nearly $90 billion for clean energy technology research and incentives to accelerate commercial deployment of advanced technologies such as plug-­‐in hybrid vehicles, renewable fuels, nuclear, solar and wind.

Connaughton received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law.


Christopher B. FieldChristopher B. Field is the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies in the Biology Department of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. He is also a Professor of Earth System Science in the Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and a Senior Fellow of the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy. Prior to his appointment as Woods' Perry L. McCarty Director, Field served as Director of the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology, which he founded in 2002. Field's tenure at the Carnegie Institution dates back to 1984.

Field's research focuses on climate change, ranging from work on improving climate models, to prospects for renewable energy systems, to community organizations that can minimize the risk of a tragedy of the commons.

He has been deeply involved with national and international scale efforts to advance science and assessment related to global ecology and climate change. He served as co-chair of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 2008-2015, where he led the effort on the IPCC Special Report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” (2012) and the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (2014) on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Field assumed leadership of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment in September 2016.

His widely cited work has earned much recognition, including election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Research Award, the American Geophysical Union’s Roger Revelle Medal and the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Science Communication. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Ecological Society of America.

Field holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard College and earned his Ph.D. in biology from Stanford in 1981.


Michael Gergen

Michael Gergen, a partner in Latham & Watkins' Washington, D.C. office, is a member of the Energy Regulatory and Markets Practice as well as the Project Finance Practice.

Gergen has extensive experience developing practical applications of economics, finance and regulatory law to assist clients involved in the electric, natural gas and other network industries in the United States and internationally. Gergen represents entities involved in electric generation, transmission and distribution, natural gas transportation, storage and distribution, electric and natural gas marketing and trading, and finance, as well as international governments and financial institutions. Gergen also assists clients regarding federal and state financing support and incentive programs for clean energy technologies, products and services.

Gergen has assisted clients on a wide range of transactional, controversy, policy and legislative matters and has represented clients both in commercial negotiations and before various federal and state regulatory agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and various state public utility commissions, and numerous federal and state courts and arbitral bodies. Gergen also has served as an economist for an investor-owned public utility, as well as an economic consultant for a state energy commission.

Gergen is listed as a leading energy attorney in Who's Who Legal and in Chambers USA , which describes him as having “developed a positive reputation in the industry as ‘a quick, clever and creative lawyer.’” He has given a variety of speeches on energy regulatory and policy matters. He is a member of the Federal Energy Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Gergen was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2012 as a recommended attorney in Energy Law. Gergen is an Adjunct Professor of Law and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law.


Kate GordonKate Gordon is Vice Chair of Climate and Sustainable Urbanization at the Paulson Institute, where she provides overall strategy and coordination for the Institute’s climate change, air quality, and sustainable urbanization programs both in the US and China. She is also a nonresident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal as one of the paper’s “Energy Experts.”

Gordon is a nationally recognized expert on the intersection of clean energy and economic development. Before joining the Paulson Institute, she was Senior Vice President for Climate and Energy at Next Generation, a non‐partisan think tank based in San Francisco, where she worked on California policy development as well as large-scale national communications and research projects. While at Next Generation, she helped launch and lead the “Risky Business Project,” co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer, and focused on the economic risks the U.S. faces from unmitigated climate change.

Earlier in her career Gordon served as Vice President of Energy and Environment at the Washington D.C.-based Center for American Progress, where helped develop and author policy recommendations related to the Congressional cap-and‐trade negotiations, Gulf oil spill, and American Reinvestment and Recovery Act implementation. Prior to CAP, Gordon was the Co‐Director of the national Apollo Alliance (now part of the Blue Green Alliance). She still serves on the Apollo Alliance board, as well as on the board of Vote Solar. Gordon earned a law degree and a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California-Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.


David J. Hayes

David J. Hayes is a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Law at the Stanford Law School where he has been teaching courses focused on renewable and conventional energy, wildlife trafficking, NEPA reform, natural resources, and climate change. Hayes also is a Consulting Professor at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment; a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress; Chair of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (www.uswta.org) and Vice Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. Hayes is a member of the White House’s Trade & Environmental Policy Advisory Council. He serves on the Advisory Council of Stanford’s Lane Center for the American West; Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Sustainability Advisory Council; and on the Board of Advantek Waste Management Services.

Prior to teaching at Stanford, Hayes served as the Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Department of the Interior for Presidents Clinton and Obama from 1999-2001 and 2009‐2013, respectively. As the Senate‐confirmed number two official at Interior, he had line authority over Interior’s 70,000 employees, $14 billion dollar budget, and the Department’s ten major bureaus and agencies.

Hayes focused on energy, climate change, conservation and Indian issues during his two tours of duty at Interior. On the energy and climate change front, he was a key leader in facilitating the approval of more than 13,000 megawatts of renewable energy projects on public lands and offshore waters; he led the Interior Department’s Climate Change and Energy Task Force and developed a network of Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives to study and address climate change‐related impacts on water, wildlife and coastal resources; and he served as point for Secretary Salazar in managing Interior’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, including reorganization of the Department’s offshore leasing, regulatory and enforcement functions.

From 1997 to 1999, prior to his appointment as Deputy Secretary in the Clinton Administration, Hayes served as Counselor to Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Before and between his service in the Clinton and Obama Administrations, Hayes worked in the private sector where he was a partner and Global Chair of the Environment, Land and Resources Department at Latham and Watkins, an international law firm. He is a former Chairman of the Board of the Environmental Law Institute, Chairman of the Board of Visitors for Stanford Law School and Vice‐Chair of the Board of American Rivers. He also formerly served as a Senior Fellow for the Hewlett Foundation and for the World Wildlife Fund.

Hayes graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and received his J.D. from Stanford University, where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review.


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Reed Hundt imagined the green bank concept in 2009, while he was working on the Obama Transition Team. After working for several years on federal green bank legislation, including the Green Bank Act of 2009 and the 2010 Senate Energy Committee Bill, Hundt decided to focus on state green banks. He founded the Coalition for Green Capital in 2012 and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer.

Hundt is also the Principal of REH Advisors, an advisory firm serving private firms. Hundt is on the board of directors of Intel Corporation and Kno, Inc. He is also on the advisory board of the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority of Connecticut, the Yale School of Management, Peek Inc., and Mytonomy. He is a senior advisor to GTCR, a private equity firm. Hundt was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 1993‐97 and was co‐chairman of the Forum on Communications and Society at the Aspen Institute (1998-2006). Previously he was a partner at Latham & Watkins, an international law firm. He is a member of the District of Columbia bar.  He has written many articles and four books, including In China’s Shadow: The Crisis of American Entrepreneurship (Yale University Press, 2006).

Hundt graduated from Yale College (1969) with a B.A. in History magna cum laude and honors with exceptional distinction in history and from J.D. Yale Law School (1974) where he was member of the executive board of the Yale Law Journal. He is married to Elizabeth Katz and has three children: Adam, Nathaniel, and Sara.


Robert B. Jackson

Robert B. Jackson is the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Provostial Professor, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University. He studies how people affect the earth, including research on the global carbon and water cycles, biosphere/atmosphere interactions, energy use, and climate change.

Jackson’s team published the first studies examining fracking and drinking water quality and, with colleagues, mapped thousands of natural gas leaks across cities such as Boston and Washington, D.C.  He is also examining the effects of climate change and droughts on forest mortality and ecosystems.

Jackson has received numerous awards. He is a Fellow in the American Geophysical Union and the Ecological Society of America and was honored at the White House with a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering.  In recent years he directed the DOE National Institute for Climate Change Research for the southeastern U.S., co-chaired the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan, and is currently co-chair of the Global Carbon Project (www.globalcarbonproject.org).

An author and photographer, Rob has published a trade book about the environment (The Earth Remains Forever, University of Texas Press) and two books of children’s poems, Animal Mischief and Weekend Mischief (Highlights Magazine and Boyds Mills Press).  His photographs have appeared in many media outlets, including the NY Times, Washington Post, USA Today, US News and World Report, Nature, and National Geographic.


Jeffrey Koseff

Jeffrey Koseff, William Alden Campbell and Martha Campbell Professor of Engineering and founding Perry L. McCarty Co-Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, is an expert in the interdisciplinary domain of environmental fluid mechanics. His research focuses on the interaction between physical and biological systems in natural aquatic environments, and in particular on turbulence and internal wave dynamics; transport, mixing, and phytoplankton dynamics in estuarine systems; and coral reef, kelp forest, and sea-grass hydrodynamics. More recently he has begun focusing on the fate of brine discharges in the near coastal ocean from desalination facilities, and on the use of natural vegetation for providing coastal protection and resilience. Long-term research projects include understanding the transport of mass and momentum in estuarine systems such as San Francisco Bay, and understanding how water flow affects the functioning of California kelp forests, and the coral reef systems of the Great Barrier Reef, the Red Sea and Hawaii.

Koseff has served on the board of governors of the Israel Institute of Technology and has served on the visiting committees of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University, Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. He is a former member of the Independent Science Board of the Bay/Delta Authority. He is the recipient of the Knapp Award in Fluids Engineering from the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), and an outstanding service award from the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE). Koseff has also been the recipient of a number of six teaching awards at Stanford, including the Stanford School of Engineering Tau Beta Pi Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching (1989), and the Eugene L. Grant Award (1995 and 2011). In 2015, Koseff was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and also received the Richard W. Lyman Award from Stanford University.


Arun MajumdarArun Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Co-Director of the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy.

In October 2009, President Obama nominated Arun and the Senate confirmed him as the first director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, where he served until June 2012. Between March 2011 and June 2012, Arun was also the acting under secretary of energy and a senior advisor to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

After leaving Washington, DC and before joining Stanford, Arun was the vice president for energy at Google, where he created several energy technology initiatives, especially on the electricity grid, and advised the company on its broader energy strategy. Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Arun was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at University of California– Berkeley and the associate laboratory director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Arun serves on the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s advisory board, the councils of the National Academy of Engineering and the Electric Power Research Institute, the science policy committee of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is a member of the international advisory panel for energy of the Singapore Ministry of Trade & Industry and the U.S. delegation for the U.S. –India Track II dialogue on climate change and energy. The U.S. State Department recently appointed him as a U.S. science envoy with an emphasis on energy and innovation in Poland and the Baltic region.

Arun is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He earned a bachelor's degree at the Indian Institute of Technology– Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in 1989, both in mechanical engineering.


Nancy E. PfundNancy E. Pfund is Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, located in San Francisco and Palo Alto. DBL Partners is a venture capital firm whose goal is to combine top-tier financial returns with meaningful social, economic and environmental returns in the regions and sectors in which it invests. As a leading player in the growing field of “impact investing”, DBL has helped to reveal the power of venture capital to promote social change and environmental improvement, and Ms. Pfund writes and speaks frequently on the field of impact investing. She sponsors or sits on the board of directors of several companies, including; SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) on both the audit and compensation committees, and is chair of the corporate governance committee; Farmers Business Network, Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Off-Grid Electric, Primus Power, The Muse, and, prior to their public offerings, Tesla Motors and Pandora.  Ms. Pfund was recently featured in 2016 Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business list; featured #17 in the 2014 FORTUNE Inaugural World's Top 25 Eco-Innovators;  is Chair of the Advisory Council of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University; a member of the Advisory Board of: the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab); and the UC Davis Center for Energy Efficiency, and a Trustee of the National Geographic Society. She has been a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Yale School of Management; and is a C3E Ambassador to the U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Program, led by the U.S. Department of Energy. She is also a founding officer and director of ABC2, a foundation aimed at accelerating a cure for brain cancer.  Ms. Pfund received her BA and MA in anthropology from Stanford University, and her MBA from the Yale School of Management.


Dan Reicher

Dan Reicher is Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, a joint center of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School, where he also holds faculty positions. Reicher came to Stanford in 2011 from Google, where he served since 2007 as Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives. Reicher has more than 25 years of experience in energy and environmental policy, finance, and technology.  He has served three Presidents including in the Clinton administration as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Department of Energy Chief of Staff, as a member of President Obama’s Transition Team and Co‐Chair of the Energy and Environment Team for Obama, and as a staff member of President Carter’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island.

Before his position at Google, Reicher was President and Co-­‐founder of New Energy Capital Corp., a private equity firm funded by the California State Teachers Retirement System and Vantage Point Venture Partners to invest in clean energy projects. He also was Executive Vice President of Northern Power Systems, one of the nation’s oldest renewable energy companies and a recipient of significant venture capital investment. Reicher was also an adjunct professor at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Vermont Law School.

In the Clinton Administration, Reicher served for eight years at the Department of Energy as Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Energy, and Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs. He also worked for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the World Resources Institute. Earlier in his career Reicher was as an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, a law clerk to a federal district court judge in Boston, and a legal assistant in the Hazardous Waste Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Reicher holds a BA in biology from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. He also studied at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and MIT.


Michael WaraMichael Wara, an expert on energy and environmental law, focuses on climate and electricity policy. Professor Wara’s current scholarship lies at the intersection between environmental law, energy law, international relations, atmospheric science, and technology policy. Wara, J.D. ’06, was formerly a geochemist and climate scientist and has published work on the history of the El Niño/La Niña system and its response to changing climates, especially those warmer than today. The results of his scientific research have been published in premier scientific journals, including Science and Nature.

Wara joined Stanford Law in 2007 as a research fellow in environmental law and as a lecturer in law. Previously, he was an associate in Holland & Knight’s Government Practice Group, where his practice focused on climate change, land use, and environmental law.

Wara is a research fellow at the Program in Energy and Sustainable Development in Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, a Faculty Fellow at the Steyer‐Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, and a Center Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment.

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