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Hultman receives first-ever World Citizen Prize in Environmental Performance

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nate appam award

Nate Hultman received the inaugural World Citizen Prize in Environmental Performance at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) annual conference. The prize is awarded for Hultman’s critical work linking analysis, engagement, and policy for climate change, including leading research for the America’s Pledge Initiative on Climate Change and as lead author of Fulfilling America’s Pledge: How States, Cities and Businesses are Leading the United States to a Low-Carbon Future. Hultman is an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and director of the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS).

Granted by David and Joy Peyton, the World Citizen Prize in Environmental Performance “recognizes research that assesses pathways to achieve measurable but as-yet unrealized gains in overall environmental performance.”

Hultman notes, “I am very grateful for this important recognition of our work, and I hope we as a community can use this moment to underscore the importance of innovating and retooling our research and institutional approaches to address one of the most urgent challenges of our time. America’s Pledge is a signal example of the kind of work that I believe is needed more broadly to raise global ambition to address the climate crisis, building the solutions and transformed politics at the rapid pace that the science calls for.”

Fulfilling America’s Pledge demonstrates the scale of coalitions of states, cities, and businesses to advance climate policy in the United States, as well as the potential impact that existing and near-term potential commitments from these actors could have on the overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions trajectory. America’s Pledge research shows that these coalitions are globally significant, as of 2019 representing 65% of the U.S. population and nearly 70% of US GDP—equivalent to the world’s second largest economy. This report further shows that near-term policies available to states, cities, businesses, and others today could reduce emissions by more than 24 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Over 55 co-authors from seven institutions contributed to the assessment. The report draws from the broader approach of the America’s Pledge Initiative, which combines research and analytics with a broad stakeholder engagement and communications program to better understand near-term opportunities and generate results that are directly useful in policy decision-making and discussions. 

“Professor Hultman’s leading work on America’s Pledge has contributed much needed momentum at a critical moment in national and international climate governance,” says Robert C. Orr, dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. “As a well respected expert and practitioner in the climate change community, Professor Hultman continues to bring rigorous analysis into policy and political discussions.”

Hultman notes that his perspective on the urgency and opportunities of this topic stem from his experiences working at the White House on the Obama Administration’s climate and energy policy team. While there, he helped develop the U.S. 2025 climate target, worked on bilateral engagements with China, India, Brazil and others, and participated in the international climate negotiations in Lima and Paris.

“The Paris Agreement depends on a cycle of positive ambition, where countries and other actors scope what they can deliver, set targets, implement and then report transparently on progress. Despite some pockets of progress in the past few years, our global capacity to understand and deliver what is needed to support this cycle is not developing deeply or quickly enough. The research and analytical communities have a key role to play in partnering with broader policy processes and stakeholder groups to support enhanced ambition from both non-national and national actors.”

Hultman serves as research director for the America’s Pledge analytical team, which includes co-authors from CGS and partner research institutions the Rocky Mountain Institute (research co-lead), the World Resources Institute, and CDP. As part of this effort, Hultman is lead author for a forthcoming report, to be released in early December, that will build on Fulfilling America’s Pledge by assessing options for new, bottom-up approaches to a comprehensive and ambitious US climate strategy that includes Federal re-engagement. It thus serves as a detailed roadmap to understanding how national climate action strategies can build from ambitious actions taken at diverse levels of government, which is an important element of building consensus around climate politics in Federal systems such as those of the United States. The report will be released at this year’s United Nations climate conference in December. 

Hultman’s research focuses on national climate target-setting and assessment, U.S. emissions mitigation policy including the role of non-federal actors, energy technology transitions, and international climate policy. He participated in the UN climate process for over 20 years and is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Hultman was formerly a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford, Fulbright Fellow, and NASA Earth Systems Science Fellow. He earned his Ph.D. in energy & resources from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in Physics from Carleton College.

The America’s Pledge Initiative on Climate Change is co-chaired by former California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Michael R. Bloomberg. The Center for Global Sustainability co-leads the America’s Pledge research team with the Rocky Mountain Institute. The Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management is a professional organization for scholars in public policy fields, and is dedicated to "improving public policy and management by fostering excellence in research, analysis and education."

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