The Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy is an initiative of American University’s School of International Service. It was founded in 2018 in response to growing scientific and political attention to carbon removal technologies and practices. The Institute grew out of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, a separate research initiative dedicated to assessing the social, ethical, political, and legal implications of emerging technologies that fall under the broad rubric of climate engineering.

The Institute’s work is made possible through the generous support of the The New York Community Trust, the Sloan Foundation, Preston Werner Ventures and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Simon Nicholson Co-director

Simon Nicholson, PhD, is an associate professor for the Global Environmental Politics program at the School of International Service at American University. His work focuses on global environmental governance, global food politics, and the politics of emerging technologies. His work on carbon removal is informed by a deep sense of concern about the lack of effective response to climate change coming from mainstream political and social processes. At the same time, prior work on the politics of technology tells him that promising technological responses to complex social problems can too easily go awry, can fail to fulfill expectations, can be repurposed for ill-conceived or nefarious ends, or can entrench the very dynamics that drive the problems to which the technologies are attempting to respond. He brings cautious optimism to the carbon removal conversation, with emphasis on “cautious.” Among his publications, Nicholson is co-editor (with Sikina Jinnah) of New Earth Politics (MIT Press, 2016), and (with Paul Wapner) of Global Environmental Politics: From Person to Planet (Routledge, 2015).

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Wil Burns Co-Director

Wil Burns, PhD., previously served as the Director of the Energy Policy and Climate graduate program at Johns Hopkins University. He has also taught at Stanford, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Chicago, and is currently a visiting professor at Northwestern University in the Environmental Policy & Culture Program. He is also the former President of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, former Co-Chair of the International Law Association’s International Environmental Law interest group, and former Chair of the International Wildlife Law Interest group at the American Society of International Law. He has published over 95 articles and chapters in law, science, and policy journals and books and has co-edited four books, with approximately a third of these publications focused on climate geoengineering topics. He holds a Ph.D. in International Environmental Law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law (now Cardiff School of Law & Politics). Prior to becoming an academic, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs for the State of Wisconsin and worked in the non-governmental sector for 20 years, including as Executive Director of the Pacific Center for International Studies, a think-tank that focused on implementation of international wildlife treaty regimes, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Recent publications include a chapter in the book, Debating Climate Law, “It Would Be Irresponsible, Unethical, and Unlawful to Rely on NETs at Large Scale Instead of Mitigation,” co-authored with Duncan McLaren, and “Governance of Ocean-Based Carbon Dioxide Removal Research under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” published in the Maine Law Review in 2023.

His service to the carbon dioxide removal community includes the following:

  • Creator and Host, Scrubbing the Skies: The Role of Carbon Dioxide Removal in Combating Climate Change webinar series
  • Creator and Co-Host, Plan Sea: Ocean-Based Interventions to Address Climate Change
  • Board of Editors, Frontiers in Climate : Carbon Dioxide Removal
  • Consultative board on climate geoengineering, Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Project Review Committee, Carbon Technology Research Foundation
  • Enhanced Weathering and Mineralization Advisory Group, Verra
  • External Reviewer, Department of Energy, ARPA-E, Monitoring, Reporting & Verification grant program for marine-based carbon dioxide removal
  • Board of Advisors, Restore the Earth Certification Program, Carbon Business Council
  • Board of Advisors, Building Tribal Leadership in Carbon Removal
  • Chair, Vesta, Coastal Carbon Capture Development Fund
  • Expert Reviewer, XPRIZE Carbon Removal Milestone Awards
  • Carbon Removal Proposals Review Committee, Frontier (Stripe/Shopify/Meta/Alphabet/McKinsey) Carbon Dioxide Removal Program
  • Member, Running Tide Advisory Committee
  • Legal consultant, Ebb Carbon
  • Board of Advisors, Sandbox
  • Host, Scrubbing the Skies webinar series
  • Co-host, Plan Sea: Ocean-Based Climate Interventions podcast series
  • Advisor, CarbonUpscale
  • Briefings on CDR to the London Convention and the World Bank




Sara Nawaz Director of Research

Sara Nawaz, PhD, is an environmental social scientist who works on social aspects of carbon removal. She studies how carbon removal technologies and policies might be designed in just, equitable and responsible ways, including how to involve societal groups (e.g., local groups, Indigenous communities, experts, the public) in these processes. She is also affiliated with the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at the University of Oxford and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.

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Jenn Brown Project Manager

Jenn Brown serves as the Project Manager for the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy. She holds a master’s degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University School of International Service in Washington, D.C.

While at the Institute, she has helped lead programming around engagements and convenings with civil society, Environmental Justice leaders, and the private sector. She has also worked with colleagues to lead workshops aimed at gauging consensus amongst soil scientists around aspects of soil carbon sequestration. Jenn also helps organize the Institute's webinar series, annual conferences and other events.

Prior to working at the Institute, she spent several years working in the maritime industry where she traveled the world living and working on boats.

She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Hawai'i and Manoa.

Contact Jenn at

Veronica Limeberry Senior Research Associate

Veronica Limeberry is a current doctoral candidate at the American University School of International Service. She holds an MA in Gender and Diversity Studies and an MPA in Economic Planning and Development, as well as additional certifications in agricultural science and agroecology. Her research interests relate to global environmental governance for conservation, biodiversity preservation, and community land-and-water rights. Specifically, she works on intersections of Indigenous territorial rights, food and agricultural sovereignty, and agrarian policy in the Americas. She also works on issues of environmental peacebuilding, especially related to transitions from illicit crop production and agrobiodiversity for conflict resolution. She is the founder of an Appalachian non-profit that provides education and outreach to promote food justice and regional seed biodiversity conservation. Veronica has advocated at the UN for rural women's roles in hunger eradication and completed a Fulbright Research Fellowship in India, working with women and Indigenous farmers across the country. She was also awarded a Ford Dissertation Fellowship for 2020-2021.Veronica has worked for more than a decade on issues of food access, biodiversity conservation, Indigenous rights, and supporting women/women-identified people in farming. Her work spans the Appalachian US, India (specifically the Himalayan region and the Western Ghats), and Latin America (predominantly in Mexico, Peru, and Colombia). She advocates for community-led and participatory research and has extensive training in critical theory, decolonial methodology, ethnography, and participatory action research. Additionally, Veronica is also trained in GIS, Rstudio (text-as-data), network analysis, and policy research.

David Morrow Senior Fellow

David Morrow, PhD, works on normative aspects of climate policy, especially climate justice and the ethics and governance of carbon removal and climate engineering. He was previously an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he taught in the philosophy and political economy program. He is the author or co-author of several philosophy textbooks, including Moral Reasoning: A Text and Reader on Ethics and Contemporary Moral Issues (Oxford University Press, 2018). His latest book, Values in Climate Policy, was published by Rowman & Littlefield International in November 2019.

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Jason Funk Senior Fellow

Jason Funk, PhD, Jason became Director of REDD+ Strategy at Conservation International in 2022. Prior to joining CI, he held various roles related to climate science and advocacy at Carbon 180, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Environmental Defense Fund, always working at the intersection of land use and climate change. He has consistently focused on ways to incentivize land management activities that can help slow climate change, improve rural development, and shape more sustainable landscapes. He has advocated for sensible land-use policies at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for over 10 years, and he is certified as an expert reviewer for land-use emissions inventories. Dr. Funk earned his Ph.D. in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, and he holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Science from the Ohio State University. He lives near Chicago, Illinois, with his spouse and two children. 

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Holly Buck Research Affiliate

Holly Buck, PhD, is a Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University at Buffalo. She is interested in how communities can be involved in the design of emerging environmental technologies. Her diverse research interests include agroecology and carbon farming, new energy technologies, artificial intelligence, and ecological restoration. She has written on several aspects of carbon removal, including humanitarian and development approaches to climate intervention, gender considerations, and human rights issues. Her book After Geoengineering (Verso, 2019) looks at best-case scenarios for carbon removal and solar geoengineering.  Currently, she is focused on how policy for large-scale carbon removal can better address the social implications of such technologically-oriented projects. Prior to her academic life, she has worked as a foreign affairs analyst, a geospatial technician for a remote sensing company, and a creative writing teacher.

Maya Breitburg-Smith Research Affiliate

Maya Breitburg-Smith is a Senior Mediator in RESOLVE’s Washington, DC, office, where she designs and facilitates collaborative processes and consensus-building dialogues to navigate complex and technical questions, bridge cultural divides, and engage diverse perspectives. Her work focuses primarily on environmental, natural resource, and public health issues. Her recent projects
have focused on tribal and endangered species issues on the Missouri River, strategies for coordinated climate policy, and public input into state disaster preparedness plans. Prior to joining RESOLVE, Maya served for three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji, where she organized a local environmental committee, managed community-based marine conservation projects, and
facilitated project development and management trainings. Now, at RESOLVE, Maya’s facilitation, strategic approach, and subject matter expertise empower people involved in environmental, natural resource, and public health decision-making to reach sustainable solutions.

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Isabella Corpora Research Fellow

Bella joins our team as a Research Fellow for the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy. She holds a BS in Society and Environment and a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley. Through Berkeley's College of Natural Resources, Bella designed and taught a class on climate geoengineering technologies along with adaptation and mitigation strategies to combat climate change. She also conducted research on Swiss direct air capture technology and is interested in carbon storage methods and climate policy. Previously, Bella has worked at Lyft corporate for their self-driving cars division. 

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò Research Fellow

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of California Los Angeles in 2018, under the supervision of AJ Julius and Daniela Dover. He has published in academic journals ranging from Public Affairs Quarterly, One Earth, Philosophical Papers, and the APA Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience. His research focuses on ethical theory and social/political philosophy, especially as these intersect with topics in anti-colonial thought and the Black radical tradition. His public philosophy concerns these same topics, and has been featured at The Nation, Slate, al Jazeera, and Foreign Policy.

Danny Cullenward Research Fellow

Danny Cullenward is an energy economist and lawyer working on the design and implementation of scientifically grounded climate policy. He is the Policy Director at CarbonPlan and the California Senate’s appointee on the Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee, which is charged with reviewing California’s cap-and-trade program. Danny serves on the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (BERC) advisory board and previously taught climate policy at UC Berkeley. In addition to his public interest administrative law practice, he has represented environmental scientists as amici in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court. Danny holds a JD from Stanford Law School and a PhD in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) from Stanford University, where he earned his MS in Management Science & Engineering and a BS with Honors in Earth Systems.

Michael Thompson Research Fellow

Michael's work with the Institute is on understanding what developing country capacity building means with regards to Direct Air Capture and exploring and understanding new climate justice narratives for CDR. Michael has earlier worked with the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative, and the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, the Smithsonian Institution, NRDC in the U.S., and the Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi, India.

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Chris Carr Research Fellow

Chris K. Carr is the president of C2E2 Strategies LLC and an attorney and advisor on leading-edge climate change, energy and environmental issues. Chris is a former senior legal advisor on carbon finance for the World Bank and served as the climate practice group co-chair at Vinson & Elkins. He also serves as the Chair of the Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee of the American Bar Association Section on Energy, Environment and Resources.  Chris has worked on carbon capture, utilization and storage for industrial sources (CCUS), and nature-based carbon removal such as biosequestration through forestry projects, agriculture, and REDD+.  Chris is a graduate of Brown University and has a JD from the Columbia University School of Law.

Evvan Morton Research Fellow

Evvan Morton is a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Department of Energy. She obtained her PhD in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering from Arizona State University with a certificate in Responsible Innovation. Her research examined the effectiveness of U.S. policies that govern carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to mitigate climate change, and explored the necessity for carbon dioxide removal through political, technological, and ethical lenses. She is also the co-founder and Vice President of BioGals, a non-profit organization that empowers women of color in STEM through participation in global sustainable development projects. Motivated to bridge the gap between science and decision making, Evvan looks forward to a career in science policy to develop innovative policies for transitioning to a sustainable energy future.

Ben Rubin Research Fellow

Ben Rubin is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Carbon Business Council, working with a coalition of carbon management innovators to responsibly restore the climate. Ben has led climate initiatives and campaigns for startups, accelerators, governments and nonprofits. Ben is a fellow with the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy and a domain expert with Carbon13.

Rob James Senior Research Fellow

For 40 years, Rob James has provided legal counsel on a wide range of energy and infrastructure transactions. His projects have included both conventional and renewable sources of energy generation, transmission, processing and distribution. His renewable projects include onshore and offshore wind, PV and thermal solar, geothermal, tidal and biofuels. In the carbon removal field, he has advised on pre-combustion (synthesis gas), post-combustion (amine scrubber) and oxyfuel carbon capture and storage projects and proposals, and clean development mechanism decarbonization initiatives. Rob is a graduate of Stanford University and the Yale Law School. He has been a Lecturer at UC Berkeley Law and a speaker at the University of Hawaii Law School, UC Davis Law School, University of New Mexico Law School, and Stanford Law School. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the Advisory Council of the Institute for International and Comparative Law of the Center for American and International Law, and a board member of several legal societies and youth organizations.

Amanda Borth Research Fellow

Amanda is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at George Mason University, Virginia. She is also a Graduate Research Assistant for the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University on their project, Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Technology Public Forums and Application to Governance Frameworks. In her work, Amanda unites research and practice by using communication science as a tool for effective climate change decision-making. Her dissertation research explores how stakeholders, members of the public, and literature can co-construct effective deliberative engagements around carbon dioxide removal.Amanda holds a BA in International Studies from American University, Washington DC. She has previously worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University; Program Coordinator for the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy, American University; Museum Educator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; and has taught college-level classes on topics including environmental communication and research methods. 

Bhagyashree More Grants and Contracts Assistant Manager

Bhagyashree More serves as the Grants and Contracts Assistant Manager for the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy. She is pursuing her MS in Sustainability Management from American University- Kogod School of Business in Washington, D.C. She has over 6 years of consulting experience working for Big 4s in Mumbai, India. She also holds a MS in Finance from Grenoble Ecole De Management in Grenoble, France and a bachelor's degree in Banking and Insurance.