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 V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, the New York Community Trust, and the Johnson Foundation.


Simon Nicholson Co-Director

Simon Nicholson, PhD, is an associate professor and director of 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).

Contact Simon at simon.nicholson@american.edu

Wil Burns Co-Director

Wil Burns, PhD, previously served as the Director of the Energy Policy and Climate program at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. He is also the former president of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, former co-chair of the International Environmental Law interest group, and chair of the International Wildlife Law Interest group at the American Society of International Law. He has published over 80 articles and chapters in law, science, and policy journals and books and has co-edited four books. He holds a PhD in International Environmental Law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law. 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. His current areas of research focus are climate geoengineering; international climate change litigation; adaptation strategies to address climate change, with a focus on the potential role of micro-insurance; and the effectiveness of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.

Contact Wil at wburns@american.edu

David Morrow Director of Research

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, is due out from Rowman & Littlefield International in November 2019.

Contact David at morrow@american.edu

Jenn Brown Project Coordinator

Jenn Brown serves as the Project Coordinator 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.  Her specific research area is food and agriculture regarding industrialized supply chains. She also has conducted research on pesticide usage in Costa Rica, Heir’s Property issues the U.S. Deep South, and fisheries in North Carolina. She holds a bachelor’s in Journalism from University of Hawaii.

Contact Jenn at jennifer@ceassessment.org

Allison Tennant Project Assistant

Allison Tennant is excited to join the ICRLP team as the Carbon Dioxide Removal Project Assistant. In this joint position with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Allison will convene a working group of NGOs to discuss carbon removal issues and bring more groups into the conversation. Previously, Allison was a Program Assistant in the Climate Program at UCS. She graduated in 2019 from Amherst College with a BA in Environmental Studies and French.

Jason Funk Faculty Fellow

Jason Funk, PhD, is Principal & Founder of the Land Use & Climate Knowledge Initiative, a project of the Global Philanthropy Partnership. Dr. Funk works at the intersection of land use and climate change, focusing 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.

Contact Jason at lucki.funk@gmail.com

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.

Contact Maya at MBreitburg-Smith@resolv.org

Dr. Raphael Apeaning

Dr. Apeaning’s research focuses on exploring the interplay between socio-economic development and climate mitigation policies, through the lens of the existing state and expected transitions of the global energy systems. This research mainly applies integrated energy-climate-economic models to explore the dynamic of low-carbon investments under assumptions of socio-economic and technological constraints. At SIS, he is working in collaboration with Dr. Morrow to improve the representation of carbon removal technologies in integrated assessment models. This project aims to elucidate the critical role of negative emission technologies in climate mitigation pathways and aims to inform policy strategies required to achieve a cost-effective mitigation pathway.  Dr. Apeaning completed his Ph.D. at SUNY Stony Brook’s Technology, Policy and Innovation program in 2019. He holds an M.Sc. in Energy and Environment Engineering from Linkoping University in Sweden and B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.  

 

Isabella Corpora

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. 

Nebal Abu Abdo Research Assistant

Nebal Abu Abdo is a second year M.A. candidate in the Ethics, Peace, and Human Rights program with a concentration in Middle Eastern politics, identity, and women's rights. Nebal serves a graduate research assistant and aides the institute in various projects. She is interested in sustainable and environmental innovations being used in the Middle East using limited resources. Nebal holds two bachelors degrees in Political Science and Behavioral Science with two minors in Philosophy and Psychology. 

 

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