Ann Carlson, the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, has been appointed to serve as chief counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The administration, which is a division of the Department of Transportation, is responsible for maintaining safe conditions on the United States’ roadways and has joint authority with the Environmental Protection Agency over car and truck greenhouse gas standards. Carlson will take a leave of absence from UCLA School of Law to perform her governmental duties.

Carlson is a nationally renowned leader in legal scholarship, policy-relevant analysis and teaching on environmental issues, including groundbreaking work in air pollution law and policy. She is co-author of the leading casebook “Environmental Law” and is the author of a forthcoming book on the history of air pollution in Southern California. She is a frequent commentator and speaker on environmental issues, particularly on climate change, and she blogs at Legal Planet.

“Ann’s appointment is a recognition of her leadership in developing solutions for climate change and her commitment to public service,” said Sean Hecht, co-executive director of the Emmett Institute. “Ann’s vision drove the creation of the Emmett Institute as the first law school center to focus on climate change, and she has helped build one of the country’s leading environmental law programs. In this new position, she will play an important role in crafting automobile-efficiency standards that are central to the country’s efforts to address climate change. She’s the perfect person for the job.”

Carlson is the recipient of the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching, the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award and UCLA Law’s Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching.