Green Scientist Is Tom Steyer’s New Policy Guru

Lashof: Leading Tom Steyer's think tank.
National Journal
April 7, 2014, 5:50 p.m.

In February 1979, Herbert Inhaber published an article in Science magazine arguing that solar energy was more dangerous than nuclear energy. The so-called Inhaber Report, which came out just a month before the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania, was roundly derided and prompted a savage response from John Holdren, then a faculty member at the University of California (Berkeley).

At Harvard University, a young Dan Lashof was mesmerized by the imbroglio. “Experts at that time were just starting to think about how to address the energy crisis in ways that were sustainable in the long term,” remembered Lashof, who this month takes over as chief operating officer of San Francisco-based NextGen Climate America. “That debate in the pages of Science is one of the reasons I decided to make a career out of this.”

At NextGen Climate America, Lashof will formulate policy in keeping with founder Tom Steyer’s mission of spurring action on climate change and defeating the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. NextGen Climate America is the equivalent of a miniature think tank, designed to complement the San Francisco billionaire’s new advocacy group, NextGen Climate Action.

Lashof arrives from the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he oversaw the organization’s climate and clean-air program. Along with David Doniger, who will succeed him at NRDC, Lashof helped devise the Senate’s first cap-and-trade bill, which eventually formed the basis of the 2009 American Clean Energy and Security Act, or Waxman-Markey bill.

In his new role, Lashof will advise states as they set up regulatory mechanisms to comply with Environmental Protection Agency rules for reducing carbon emissions from power plants.

Despite his role in developing cap-and-trade, Lashof is amenable to alternative regimes. “The debate about the mechanism is somewhat beside the point,” he said. “At the end of the day, I don’t care how we reduce carbon, but we have to do it. The mechanism may vary from state to state.”

Lashof, 54, grew up in Chicago’s Hyde Park, just a few blocks from President Obama’s Kenwood residence. His father, Richard Lashof, was a mathematician at the University of Chicago.

After graduating from Harvard, Lashof spent a year at what is now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., before earning a doctorate in energy and resources at Berkeley. He wrote his dissertation on climate feedbacks.

Before arriving at NRDC in 1989, Lashof spent two years working at EPA, where he was one of the first officials to focus on climate change. In fall 2011, he was named a lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Lashof’s new employer, Steyer, made a splash earlier this year when he announced that he intended to pour tens of millions of dollars into the midterm elections. In 2013, Steyer’s largesse helped secure victories for Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

“This transition allows me to bring my background to a new set of players who are investing to make the breakthroughs that we need,” Lashof said.

Lashof is married to Diane Regas, senior vice president for programs at the Environmental Defense Fund.

What We're Following See More »
PENTAGON WILL DRAFT LEGISLATION FOR CONGRESS
Trump Directs DoD to Launch Space Force
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump signed a directive on Tuesday that ordered the Department of Defense create a Space Force as a sixth military branch. Known as Space Policy Directive 4 (SPD-4), the directive orders the Pentagon draft legislation for Congress that would create the Space Force as a part of the U.S. Air Force. This would establish the first military branch in 72 years. The Air Force is the nation's youngest branch and was added shortly after World War II."

Source:
MATTHEW WHITAKER, THEN AG, REFUSED
Trump Tried to Put Ally in Charge of Investigation Targeting Him
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call."

Source:
PER HOUSE DEMOCRATS' REPORT
Trump Appointees Promoted Saudi Arabia Nuclear Sales Despite NSC Objections
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Several current and former Trump administration appointees promoted sales of nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia despite repeated objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials, according to a new report from congressional Democrats. The officials who objected included White House lawyers and H.R. McMaster, then the chief of the National Security Council. They called for a halt in the nuclear sales discussions in 2017, citing potential conflicts of interest, national security risks and legal hurdles."

Source:
FOLLOWING LONG'S SUDDEN RESIGNATION
Trump Will Nominate Jeffrey Byard to Lead FEMA
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump announced Friday night that he would nominate Jeffrey Byard to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after FEMA head Brock Long abruptly resigned earlier this week. Currently FEMA's associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, Byard is the agency's "senior-most executive over disaster response, recovery, logistics, and field operations," according to a White House statement. Before joining FEMA in September 2017, he served in multiple positions in the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, including as executive operations officer."

Source:
ON VERMONT RADIO
Bernie Sanders Declares Bid
12 hours ago
THE DETAILS
Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login