Last week, the Schwarzenegger Institute launched a new semester-long course at USC titled, “Environmental Policy from Idea to Passage: AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act.” The course is designed to walk students through the groundbreaking passage of AB 32, from idea to implementation. Co-taught by Governor Schwarzenegger, Academic Director Christian Grose, Environmental Director Senator Fran Pavley, and Global Director Conyers Davis, the class gives students exclusive insight into the world of policymaking. Other leaders who helped with the creation, passage and implementation of AB 32 will guest lecture throughout the semester.
Governor Schwarzenegger FaceTimed into the first class to pump up the nearly one hundered students present and said, “There are many environmental classes you can take, but there are very few—I don’t know of any, that really teach you how to get an environmental law passed, how you get something done from A to Z. This is why it so important to have this class with Senator Fran Pavley, who I worked really closely with.” Governor Schwarzenegger, who signed AB 32 in 2006, shared his excitement for the exclusive opportunity students have to learn from the key actors in the passage of this bill.
In fact, William Barrett, Western Regional Director of the American Lung Association (ALA), was the first guest speaker for the course; not surprisingly, since AB 32 was the first piece of legislation ALA advocated for. Barrett presented on the health impacts of air pollution and explained why the Global Warming Solutions Act was critical in the fight against climate change. His presentation helped students understand the importance of AB 32 and why it has been so widely accepted in most sectors.
Upcoming lecturers will focus on the impacts of climate change, California’s government structure, and the communications and coalition-building behind the success of AB 32. Those scheduled to speak include former Schwarzenegger Administration officials, California State Legislature policy analysts, activists, and private sector representatives.
In addition to hearing from extraordinary field experts, students will also have the opportunity to engage with elected officials in other states by encouraging them to learn and replicate successful climate policies from California and other states. This course takes a holistic teaching approach by not only guiding students through the history of AB 32’s passage, but also preparing them for real-world applications. The Schwarzenegger Institutes understands the importance of preparing the next generation of environmental leaders and hopes this class is beneficial for all students interested in the field.