Director of Research
Chris Busch is Energy Innovation’s Research Director, where he leads the firm’s California Climate Policy Program and provides evidenced-based reasons for optimism in the battle against climate change.
In 2016 California reached its 2020 economy-wide decarbonization target four years early, creating jobs 50 percent faster than the national average and expanding income at twice that rate while the state’s pioneering electric vehicle policy leadership is generating auto manufacturing jobs at double historical levels. Chris analyzes the causes of the state’s success in pioneering decarbonized prosperity, and provides insights from the state’s policy leadership in order to replicate this success in other states and around the globe.
An expert in carbon pricing policy, Chris’ 2017 and 2018 research on California’s cap-and-trade program accurately predicted the buildup of excess tradeable permits that will keep its carbon price at or near the program’s price floor until program design adjusts for early oversupply.
More recently, Chris led development of the California version of EI’s Energy Policy Simulator (EPS). Capturing both cross-sector carbon pricing and sector-specific policies, the EPS offers an unsurpassed system dynamics perspective on policy effects, showing why the state needs to strengthen existing policies and identifying cost-effective opportunities for doing so in every sector.
Previously, 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. He also served as Climate Economist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, where he was appointed to California’s Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee. Prior to that, Chris worked as a Senior Research Associate in the International Energy Studies Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Chris holds a Ph.D. in environmental economics and a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley; he has been quoted in major publications such as the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, and he has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Energy Policy, Land Economics, and the Electricity Journal.