Thank You for Your Service: An Open Letter to Mary Nichols

December 18, 2020
Mary Nichols
California Air Resource Board

Dear Chair Nichols,

The climate crisis is the most far-reaching and potentially irreversible problem facing humanity today and it must be addressed at the speed, scope and scale that science dictates.

Under your leadership at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Golden State has served as a model for the rest of the nation and the world in terms of implementing the programs needed to address climate pollution, and California has rightfully become a beacon of hope for what can and should be done to fight the climate crisis.

As the Chair of the CARB under three different California governors from two different parties, you and your team worked tirelessly to craft thoughtful and workable programs to boost fuel efficiency, cap climate pollution, and address local air quality problems all across our state. You were also at the forefront of the effort to preserve California’s right to set its own emissions standards. As a result, California has the most far-reaching and elaborate set of policies for addressing the climate crisis of any large-scale economy in the world.

In the process of doing this groundbreaking work, you have clearly demonstrated the ability to listen to all sides, problem-solve, and lead the development of solutions, all while never losing sight of the over-arching goal of decarbonizing the fifth largest economy in the world as quickly as is practicable. CARB’s important work, along with that of the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission, has helped give the once nascent clean-tech sector the critical boost it needed to help the industry flourish and create the products and services of tomorrow and spur the development of good jobs of today. As a result, California is now home to a thriving and diverse clean-tech sector. The number of clean energy jobs in California has grown from 123,000 in 2009, early in your most recent tenure, to over 512,000 in 2019, thanks in no small part to the important work you have helped lead.

The Golden State is now well down its bold path, thanks to your years of clear-eyed and steady leadership. I know I speak on behalf of our 350 members when I say that we greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with you.

Further, California owes you a debt of gratitude for your service. Please know that while we look forward to working with your successor, Liane Randolph, we will miss your leadership. Please consider us a continuing resource; our organization and members will always be here, should you ever reach out.

With great appreciation,

Mike Mielke
Head of Public Policy + SVP, Climate