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Center for Environmental Policy

The Center for Environmental Policy aims to improve the nation's ability to address environmental challenges through effective governance.

The Center informs and educates future environmental leaders, while promoting innovative technologies, policies and practices in order to strengthen environmental, energy, climate, sustainability and environmental justice practices.

George McGraw and Vernice Miller-Travis are the 2024 Reilly Award Winners Awards to be presented at AU's Washington College of Law on April 17, 2024

Vernice Miller-Travis and George McGraw


Join the Center for Environmental Policy, American University School of Public Affairs, for the William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership on April 17, 2024, at American University. The winners are George McGraw, Founder and CEO of DigDeep, and Environmental Justice Pioneer, Vernice Miller-Travis.

Co-sponsored by the WCL Program on Environmental and Energy Law and E&W Law.

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WaterPitch! The Water Startup Matching Extravaganza, March 19, 2024

Co-hosted by CEP, this one day event matches water startup founders & entrepreneurs, investors & funders, clients & entrepreneur support organizations throughout North America and around the world to advance innovative solutions for water challenges. 

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A Sectoral Approach to Climate Mitigation

Alternative Tuesdays February-May 2023 at 1pm EST

This webinar series, sponsored by American University’s Center for Environmental Policy (CEP) and the not-for-profit think tank Energy Innovation, reframes causes and solutions of climate change as “sectoral” issues. Over six 75-minute webinars, experts introduced the problem and presented the challenges and successes of efforts to cut emissions in the energy, industry, transportation and buildings, and land use sectors. The final session featured a roundtable discussion on possibilities for implementing a more “sector-based” analysis to complement extant theories of change in the climate mitigation space.

Neither mitigator nor adapter: Climate neglect and denial in a vulnerable Brazil (2013-2021)

April 28, 2022, 1:30-3:00 pm (ET)

In this installment of the Ideas, Interests, Institutions, and Nation-state Climate Politics Series: Mitigators, Adapters, and Mitigator-Adapters series, Joana Castro Pereira, Instituto Português de Relações Internacionais (IPRI) and Eduardo Viola, of the University of Brasilia will share their research on the politics of climate change neglect and denial in Brazil. As one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters (accounting for approximately 3% of global emissions), Brazil is also highly vulnerable to climate change. 

Presenters will share the main policies implemented in the country’s major emitting sectors, and the potential and limitations of the national climate change adaptation plan as well as the challenges to its implementation. Focusing on the 2013-2021 period, presenters will discuss the policies implemented in the country’s major emitting sectors, the potential and limitations of the national climate change adaptation plan as well as the challenges to its implementation.

A Conversation with Tom Jorling

Center Director Dan Fiorino chatted with Tom Jorling, who served on the Minority Counsel for the Senate Committee on Public Works that produced the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972. Participants learned about the factors that contributed to the passage of landmark US environmental laws, the roles of various stakeholders in the process, and whether and how such environmental progress could be achieved again.

The European Union as Exemplary Mitigator: Best of a Bad Lot

Watch the second event from the webinar series "Ideas, Interests, Institutions, and Nation-state Climate Politics: Mitigators, Adapters, and Mitigator-Adapters," featuring Professors Claire Dupont, Dave Huitema, and Lisa Dellmuth on the European Union’s declaration that it is a global leader on climate change and its dual leadership role that includes implementing climate mitigation policies domestically while engaging in climate diplomacy internationally to encourage, persuade, coerce, and assist others to adopt similarly ambitious climate mitigation policies.

Understanding China’s Approach to Climate Mitigation

This chapter explored the political, economic, and technical contradictions in China’s approach to reducing emissions. We demonstrated that while China has made many strides toward decarbonization, its recent energy and emissions trends and its near-term targets are insufficient to meet global climate stabilization goals that avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change. As a result, we discussed opportunities for increased action on mitigation and continued international engagement with China on climate change.

Prioritizing Frontline Communities in Infrastructure Investments

June 22, 2021

Watch the first event in a webinar series focused on opportunities for advancing equity in the Biden Administration’s infrastructure efforts, hosted by SPA's Center for Environmental Policy, in partnership with the Center for Environmental Filmmaking and the American Lung Association. Paul Billings moderated this discussion with Shelley Francis, Mychal Johnson, Carol Kriebs, Bakeyah Nelson, Andrew Wishnia, and Mike Natchees on ways in which the Administration can make sure that frontline communities most impacted by major pollution sources, such as transportation, ports, oil & gas development, and power plants, benefit equitably from the American Jobs Plan and other federal investments.

Opportunities for Advancing Equity in Infrastructure

Opportunities for Advancing Equity in Infrastructure Investments

Technology Opportunities Symposium

This interactive symposium addressed methods by which technologies can be used to advance fairer, more equitable, and effective environmental protection. The symposium presented a variety of specific technical issues and the ways in which each can play a role in addressing inequities.

This initiative is supported by the New York Community Trust and Intel.

Workforce of the Future Symposium

Thursday, June 3 | 3:00 PM Eastern

In this second of two symposia under the Center's initiative, 21st Century Environmental Protection: Putting Equity at the Top of the Agenda, practitioners address the workforce needed to achieve fairer and more equitable environmental protection, and meet future environmental challenges. The model characteristics and capabilities of the future environmental workforce were discussed along with the opportunities for, and challenges of, developing the environmental workforce of the future. 

This initiative is supported by the New York Community Trust and Intel.

2021 William K. Reilly Awards

The Center for Environmental Policy at the School of Public Affairs held a special event honoring the 2021 winners of the William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership: Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and EPA career civil servants, represented by current EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

Pathways to a Decarbonized Economy and a More Livable Planet

Webinar Series

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As the U.S. rejoins other leading nations in the race to mitigate climate change, the debate is no longer about whether it can be, but about whether we can limit its harms. What will it take to get to Net Zero Emissions by 2050? Fears about a perceived trade-off between climate mitigation and economic development continue, but this webinar series seeks to move beyond that conceptualization and understand how climate change can be dramatically slowed, and the economy “decarbonized,” without economic loss. Join the Center for Environmental Policy this spring as we explore these issues with some of the world’s leading experts.

Looking Ahead: A Roadmap for Healthy Air & Equitable Climate Action for the Biden Administration

Thursday February 4, 2021 | 3:00pm - 4:30pm EST
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This event was featured a conversation about opportunities for the Biden-Harris Administration to advance climate action and the promise of the Clean Air Act - healthy air for all communities. On this virtual panel we heard the perspectives of an environmental justice leader, a state air regulator, a legal expert and a utility industry official. In order to ensure healthy air, immediate action on climate change is critical. In this discussion, subject matter experts explored ways the Administration can help to deliver equitable and health-focused climate solutions by supporting full implementation of the Clean Air Act, improving air quality monitoring technologies and reporting, fostering the growth of clean, non-combustible energy and low-emission and zero-emission vehicles, and other promising approaches.

This event was hosted by The American Lung Association and American University's Centers for Environmental Policy and Environmental Filmmaking

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Clean Air for All 50 Years of the Clean Air Act Online Symposium

September 29, 2020 | 12:00-5:00PM EST

The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Clean Air Act and the 30th anniversary of the 1990 amendments. This landmark public health law was enacted with bipartisan cooperation and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. However, more than 141 million Americans still live in areas where the air quality puts their health at risk. Join us for a half-day online symposium featuring expert speakers and practitioners who will address the law’s tremendous legacy as well as the work that remains to be done.

Hosted by the SPA Center for Environmental Policy, the American Lung Association and the Center for Environmental Filmmaking.
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A Good Life on a Finite Earth wins Charles Levine Prize

Each year, the International Political Science Association’s Research Committee on the Structure of Governance sponsors the Levine Prize, named in honor of Charles H. Levine, an acclaimed member who served on the editorial board of its official journal, Governance. A distinguished committee awards the prize to the best book on comparative administration or public policy published in the previous year.

This year’s committee has selected “A Good Life on a Finite Earth: The Political Economy of Green Growth,” by CEP Director Daniel J. Fiorino, as the 2019 recipient of the Levine Award.

Meet the 2024 Reilly Scholars

Aidan Black (MPA, 2025)

Reilly Scholar Carsen Lennon

Lily Kincannon (MPP, 2025)

A Future Inspired By the Past

This video history, produced by the Center for Environmental Policy, honors William K. Ruckelshaus, for his tenure as EPA Administrator and his many contributions to federal, state, and local environmental governance.

Reflection on U.S. Environmental Policy

This video history, produced with support from the EPA Alumni Association, honors William K. Reilly’s tenure as EPA Administrator and his many contributions to federal, state, and local environmental governance.

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Cows on rural landscape

Environment ·

Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide on Environmental Issues

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A Good Life on a Finite Earth

Daniel Fiorino, distinguished executive in residence at the American University School of Public Affairs, argues that policymakers need to protect the environment if they want the economy to grow in the long-term.

In his new book, A Good Life on a Finite Earth: The Political Economy of Green Growth, which was published in December by Oxford University Press, Fiorino links academic research with policy analysis.

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More News & Announcements

Community by ocean

Environment ·

The Challenge of Protecting the Environment Amid Populist Opposition

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Todd Eisenstadt

Environment ·

Climate Change Lessons from Some of the World's Most Vulnerable Communities

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Looking Ahead: A Roadmap for Healthy Air & Equitable Climate Action for the Biden Administration

Environment ·

SPA Center for Environmental Policy Co-Hosts Panel on Biden Climate Priorities

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Baehler and McGraw Lead Pipe Research News

Environment ·

Timely Study by SPA Researchers Provides Roadmap for Equitable Lead Pipe Replacement

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Boy catching frisbee.

Celebrating 50 years of the Clean Air Act: Looking back and moving forward to provide Clean Air for All

by Paul Billings and Dan Fiorino

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