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Dave Hawkins, Director of Climate Programs, Washington, D.C.

Dave Hawkins

I’ve only had a couple of jobs in my lifetime. First, I was a schoolteacher in New York City. Then, after law school in the late 1960s, the first thing I did was apply for a job with a new group that would be a law firm for the environment. They told me to come back in a year and see if they were still around and whether they had any money to pay me.

So, after one year at a small public interest firm, I joined the nascent NRDC, and I’ve been here ever since, except from 1977 to 1981 when President Carter appointed me assistant administrator for Air, Noise and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency. Don’t ask me about the noise part.

I came back to NRDC after Carter left office, and worked throughout the next decade primarily on reauthorizing the Clean Air Act.

In 2001, NRDC made a bold step in creating our Climate Center, and I am its founding director. Our goal: a comprehensive limit on heat-trapping greenhouse gases to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. I hope to use this blog to explain some of my ideas on how to make that happen.

Recent Posts

ExxonMobil to Humanity: "Drop Dead (but keep your motors running)"

Posted April 3, 2014 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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Running a major oil company means not having to say you’re sorry.  Or at least that’s what ExxonMobil’s managers seem to believe.  Earlier this week the oil giant posted a report on how it plans to reconcile the need to sharply...continued

Can ExxonMobil Protect Climate & its Bottom Line?

Posted March 21, 2014 by Dave Hawkins in Solving Global Warming

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It’s big news that ExxonMobil (XOM) has agreed to report on the risks to its fossil fuel assets in a world that comes to terms with the reality of climate disruption.  Many investors and others will check out what XOM...continued

Another Assault on Clean Air

Posted March 4, 2014 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Just before Halloween, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) circulated a draft bill that would block EPA from issuing standards that would cut health-threatening carbon pollution from new coal power plants and repeal EPA's authority to apply...continued

Read My Lips: No Tax Credit Polluter Havens

Posted November 23, 2013 by Dave Hawkins

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Last week I blogged here about the letter from four House members claiming that EPA's proposed carbon pollution rule for new coal plants violated the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT).  EPACT includes grants and tax credits for certain coal power projects.  The...continued

Smoke from Capitol Hill

Posted November 18, 2013 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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  “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is a great song but a lousy way to read the Clean Air Act.  The latest coal smoke from Congress is a letter from four House members claiming that a 2005 energy law blocks...continued

Whitfield Bill Puts Big Coal in Charge of Carbon Pollution Standards

Posted October 29, 2013 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Trick or treat! There is a new anti-EPA bill knocking at our door, courtesy of Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY).  The authors know its aim is so deeply unpopular that they have outfitted it with a smiling mask to hide what it...continued

CCS: Ready or Not?

Posted October 18, 2013 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming

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Now that EPA has proposed carbon pollution standards for new coal plants that would end the era of pollution without limits for these monster carbon polluters, coal industry reps are busy proclaiming that cleaning up coal plants is impossible.  They...continued

What New Coal Plants?

Posted December 12, 2011 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming

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As EPA prepares the first-ever national standards for carbon pollution from new fossil fuel powerplants, the coal industry is embarking, predictably, on its latest dis-information campaign to try to block these desperately needed public health and climate safeguards.  New coal...continued

Scott Brown's Attack on the Truth

Posted May 5, 2011 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming

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I haven’t met Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and I am sure he is a nice man but he is definitely on the wrong track in attacking EPA and now the League of Women Voters.  Back in April, Senator Brown voted...continued

A Vote to Remember

Posted March 30, 2011 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming

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Today the Senate is scheduled to vote on a handful of shameful amendments to the Clean Air Act. While the details differ, all these amendments have one thing in common – they aim to block or eliminate parts of the...continued

Clean Air Act Phobia

Posted March 17, 2011 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming

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It’s a sad state of affairs when members on both sides of the aisle in Congress seem to think it is a good idea to attack the Clean Air Act – the landmark law that Richard Nixon signed and George...continued

Dirty Air Extremism

Posted February 9, 2011 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming

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Barry Goldwater famously said, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”  Maybe so, but extremism in the defense of fantasy is a tougher sell.  Still, that doesn’t stop some members of Congress from trying. Exhibit A this week...continued

40 Years of Clean Air Progress

Posted September 15, 2010 by Dave Hawkins in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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I attended the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act at EPA yesterday. It was a breath of fresh air (sorry) to hear so many speakers from industry as well as health groups and from across political...continued

CCS: a piece of the puzzle

Posted February 19, 2010 by Dave Hawkins in Solving Global Warming

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In his recent blog, David Sassoon calls President Obama's creation of a task force for a Carbon Capture and Storage Strategy a big victory for the coal industry.  Let me offer a few thoughts on why I believe this task force...continued

Senate Moving Forward on Climate

Posted October 29, 2009 by Dave Hawkins in Solving Global Warming

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 This has been a busy week for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  Hearings on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733) began on Tuesday and by the end of the day today, EPW will have...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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