The latest U.N. report on climate change says that “there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” Headlines from the report could make even the most optimistic person flirt with “doomism.” But there’s no time for doom at the UCLA Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, where students and faculty are sprinting for solutions this Earth Month. 

On April 12, the Emmett Institute will convene a symposium at the UCLA School of Law to explore how we must rapidly transform America’s infrastructure to meet urgent climate goals. Lawyers, energy experts, environmental advocates and architects of climate legislation will share their visions for new, much-needed infrastructure at the all-day event.

There is reason for some optimism. Two laws passed by Congress — the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — comprise the largest U.S. investment in fighting climate change. “The two bills are really fascinating,” says Cara Horowitz, executive director of the Emmett Institute. “They provide a host of new incentives, but how the bills are implemented will be key. And lawyers are really at the heart of many of those implementation questions.” 

The symposium will kick off with a keynote address by David J. Hayes, former Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy in the Biden administration, followed by three panel discussions. 

The first panel will examine how these laws represent a paradigm shift in federal policy that favors carrots over sticks — economic incentives over traditional regulations. The second, a case study on energy, explores building an electricity-transmission system to meet the demands of transitioning to renewable energy. The final panel will look at decarbonizing the transportation sector. 

The Emmett Institute 2023 Symposium will be held April 12 from 8:20 a.m.–3:45 p.m. Learn more and register at the event page.