Former Chair: California Air and Resources Board
Mary D. Nichols ’66 is widely recognized for a career as one of the world’s most important environmental regulators. As chair of the California Air and Resources Board (CARB), California’s powerful air pollution and climate regulatory agency from 1975-1982 and then from 2007-2020, she led California’s leading battle to cut smog and carbon emissions. Under Nichols’ leadership, CARB enacted the first comprehensive cap on industrial greenhouse gas emissions by any major regulatory agency in the world. Nichols and CARB also crafted and enforced regulations that slashed air pollution from cars and light trucks by over 99%, paved the way for a new generation of advanced biofuels, and created the roadmap for a transition to a fully electrified transportation system. Nichols now is a professor at UCLA Law School and holds a visiting appointment in the Columbia Global Energy Program. At Cornell Atkinson, she serves as Visiting Senior Fellow and as a member of the Advisory Council. She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the China-California Climate Center and Co-Chair of the Commission on the Future of Mobility.