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Environmental Law Miscellany – A Bi-Monthly Discussion Series: Reflections on the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26)

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November 30, 2021 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

We invite our Environmental Law Section (ELS) members to stay connected and inspired through our new bi-monthly discussion series.  Each session attendees learn, connect, and share about a current topic in environmental law and policy, such as current trends, new legislation, significant case decisions, documentaries, and more.

Our discussions will touch upon environmental law issues through a range of topics and mediums.  Register for an online discussion below.  This series alternates bi-monthly with the ELS Book Club and additional discussions will be announced soon.  If you have an idea of a future session topic, please submit your idea to!

For this first session, we will have a moderated discussion reflecting on the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) and the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.  Please join us to discuss international climate policy with these experts.  The event is free and will be held over Zoom.

MODERATOR: Richard Frank, Professor of Environmental Practice and Director, California Environmental Law and Policy Center


  • Amanda Hansen, Deputy Secretary for Climate Change, California Natural Resources Agency
  • Mary D. Nichols, Distinguished Counsel, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law
  • Jamie Callahan, Chief of Staff & Policy Advisor, Office of the Chair, California Air Resources Board
  • Ken Alex, Director, Project Climate, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE), Berkeley Law

Amanda Hansen joined the California Natural Resources Agency in April 2019 as the Natural Resources Agency’s Deputy Secretary for Climate Change. In this role, she drives the Agency’s efforts to build California’s resilience to climate impacts and accelerate the contribution of nature based solutions to meeting our ambitious climate goals. She also coordinates the Agency’s national and international climate engagement. Amanda previously worked on climate issues for the Governor of New York, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and U.S. Department of State. She grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland, and earned a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University. Amanda lives in El Dorado Hills with her husband, children, and dog. They enjoy traveling, hiking, biking, camping, games, and sports such as tennis, baseball, and soccer

Mary D. Nichols currently serves as Co-Chair of the Commission on the Future of Mobility, as Vice Chair of the California-China Climate Institute with former Governor Edmund J. Brown of California, holds visiting appointments at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and Cornell Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, is a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a professor of Law at UCLA. In December 2020 Nichols completed her long tenure at the California Air Resources Board, a post she held since 2007. She also served as Chair of the Air Resources Board from 1979-1983. Nichols oversaw the development and implementation of multiple globally recognized programs to cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in ways that create jobs and support economic growth. Nichols many other positions include serving as Assistant Administrator of Air and Radiation for the U.S. EPA, California Secretary for the Natural Resources Agency, Executive Director of Environment Now Foundation, founder of the Los Angeles Office of Natural Resources Defense Council, Professor and Director at UCLA Institute of Environment, and co-founder of the first environmental justice working group. Nichols received her B.A. from Cornell University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Jamie Callahan is the Chief of Staff and Policy Advisor to the Chair of the California Air Resources Board. Previously, Callahan served as Deputy Cabinet Secretary in the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, overseeing executive branch operations and policy development focused on climate change, business and economic development, international affairs, and service and volunteering. From 2015-2018 she served as Director of External Affairs in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., overseeing the conception, planning, and execution of all major events for the Governor, including the State-of-the-State address, key bill signings, and visits with foreign dignitaries. She also directed the Governor’s international portfolio: identifying engagement opportunities, strengthening partnerships between the office and other leaders and offices around the world, and advising the Governor on key meetings abroad. She helped to devise and strengthen several of Brown’s signature climate initiatives, including the Under2 Coalition and the U.S. Climate Alliance, and served as Chief Executive Officer of the Global Climate Action Summit, which brought thousands of delegates to San Francisco over three days in September 2018 to spur climate action and leadership around the world.

Ken Alex is the Director, Project Climate at the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) at Berkeley Law. He spent eight years as a Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the Chair of the Strategic Growth Council, focusing on climate, environment, and land use issues. Before joining the Governor’s Office, Ken was the Senior Assistant Attorney General heading the environment section of the California Attorney General’s Office, and the co-head of the Office’s global warming unit. From 2000 to 2006, He led the California Attorney General’s energy task force, investigating price and supply issues related to California’s energy crisis. Ken is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a B.A. in political theory from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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