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, the Sloan Foundation and the Johnson Foundation.

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, was published by Rowman & Littlefield International in November 2019.

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Simon Nicholson 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).

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Jenn Brown Project Manager

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.

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Wil Burns Senior Fellow & Co-Director Emeritus

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. Recent publications include a chapter in Debating Climate Law "It Would Be Irresponsible, Unethical, and Unlawful to Rely on NETs at Large Scale Instead of Mitigation" coauthored with Duncan McLaren.

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Jason Funk Senior 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.

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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.