Director of Research
Chris Busch is Energy Innovation’s Research Director. He leads the firm’s California climate policy and is an expert in energy modeling and carbon pricing policy.
Chris works to spread awareness of California’s climate accomplishments and policy innovations. In 2016, the state reached its 2020 economy-wide target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels four years early without economic sacrifice, growing income two times faster and jobs 50 percent faster than national averages. His recent work has focused on developing a California version of EI’s Energy Policy Simulator to support achievement of the state’s 2030 goal, aiming for a 40 percent reduction below 1990 emissions.
His prior research shed light on the oversupply of carbon allowances in the Western Climate Initiative carbon market linking California and Quebec. The cap-and-trade program underpinning this market is the best designed in the world, but emission reduction success, principally due to factors other than carbon pricing, has created a surplus of permits. Cap recalibrations as other emissions reduction programs are carried out will increase the likelihood the program delivers reductions California’s Air Resources Board is counting on to achieve the 2030 target.
Prior to Energy Innovation, Chris was Policy Director for the BlueGreen Alliance, where he testified before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Power and Energy Subcommittee. As Climate Economist for the Union of Concerned Scientists he was appointed to California’s Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee. He also worked as a Senior Research Associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Chris holds a PhD in environmental economics from the University of California, Berkeley; he has been quoted major publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal; and he has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Energy Policy, Land Economics, and the Electricity Journal.