350 Bay Area is made up of a dynamic team of volunteers who not only help do the work, but lead the initiatives as well. One of these awesome activists is Claire; read about her work and passions below.

 
What inspired/inspires you to work for action on climate?  
     When I retired from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2006, I had a unique opportunity to use my time, energy, and professional skills to work on anything I wanted.  What could be more important than addressing climate change, an existential threat to humanity?
 
What do you work on at 350 Bay Area?   

    While I understand the importance of preventing further fossil fuel use, my personal preference is to accelerate alternatives to the use of fossil fuels.  So I tried to identify where advocacy (both citizen and technical) could make a difference. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) makes decisions on energy use that can help—or hinder—California achieve its climate targets. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has the responsibility and the legal authority to protect Bay Area communities from toxic refinery emissions as well as greenhouse gases.  If properly implemented, such regulations could put an effective price on carbon emissions as well as protect disadvantaged communities in refinery neighborhoods.

 
Why 350 Bay Area?

    At my first BAAQMD board meeting, Janet Stromberg introduced herself and started educating me about the technical aspects of air quality regulation, and connected me with the 350 Bay Area community of effective advocates. Thank you, Janet!

 

What’s your favorite 350 Bay Area story?

    I’m so inspired by the Community Network seeking to address Bay Area refinery emissions, including 350 Bay Area, the Sunflower Alliance , Communities for a Better Environment, Asian-Pacific Islander Environmental Network (APEN), the Sierra Club, public health experts, and the neighborhood community activists along the refinery corridors. I think is a model for how change will come, although we can’t underestimate the strength of the fossil fuel industry. A vivid memory is Gov. Jerry Brown glowering at us at an Energy Committee hearing as we tried to stop his disastrous cap and trade bill. Language inserted by a Chevron lawyer in AB398 limited local air districts from regulating GHG emissions in their own communities, thus blocking five years of our refinery Community Network efforts.

 
Which climate solution are you most excited about and why?  
    I am excited about the potential for building decarbonization, through building energy efficiency and efficient grid connected space and water heating. I also continue to work at the CPUC where crucial decisions will be made which need to support Distributed Energy Resources (DER) such as rooftop solar and storage. In addition, CPUC decisions about Community Choice Aggregation could lead to a smarter, better electrical grid with investments in local DER; in contrast, the investor-owned utilities are pushing to make more money for their shareholders by investing in long-distance transmission lines and large-scale renewable projects (which may disrupt environmentally sensitive habitats and cost ratepayers more).
 
What do you do for your career?

    I was Deputy Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 1994 -1999 (Acting Director 1998) and chief of the bacterial meningitis and pneumonia branch in the National Center for Infectious Diseases from 1981 – 1990. From 2000 – 2006, I led the development and implementation of the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System, a web based approach to transforming CDC’s national disease monitoring systems.

Currently, I hold an appointment as an Adjunct Professor, Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.

In my professional career, I was responsible for development, implementation, and management of programs in bacterial disease epidemiology, vaccine evaluation, public health informatics and surveillance, and cost effectiveness analysis for policy evaluation.

 
Other than climate activism, what do you do for fun?
    The best thing about retirement is doing whatever you want. I hike with a group every week in the East Bay hills, and love harmony singing–from baroque to bluegrass.