ACLS19 Climate Leader Q&A: Derek Walker

The American Climate Leadership Summit 2019 (ACLS19) on May 1-2 will feature conversations with prominent climate experts and advocates. This year’s theme is “Breakthrough,” and we’re looking for just that — breakthrough strategies and ideas to help transform the climate action into a true national priority. ecoAmerica offered some of this year’s guest speakers the opportunity to answer climate-related questions, including how they think we can make a breakthrough on climate change in the U.S.  

Derek Walker is the Vice President for U.S. Climate at Environmental Defense Fund, where he oversees all of EDF’s climate work in the U.S., including the federal climate campaign to secure an ambitious limit and price on carbon at the national level, as well as advocacy for market-based policies in states. He served as EDF’s Chief of Staff and as Associate Vice President in the Global Climate program. Derek led EDF’s California-based climate program, and has helped build capacity among jurisdictions looking to take ambitious climate action. Derek was the long-time chair of EDF’s Diversity Committee, helping EDF create and implement it’s first-ever diversity strategic plan.

What was your climate breakthrough moment?  

My breakthrough moment was attending Al Gore’s “Climate Project” training in early 2007. Climate change went from an abstract concept to a clear and present danger, and my concern and interest was so high I got back home and quit my job.

What do you wish more Americans knew about climate change?  

The zero-pollution future is a beautiful place and we can create that for ourselves.

What current climate breakthrough or initiatives inspire you?  

The breakthrough on measurement of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and the increased awareness of how profoundly methane increases the rate of climate change. It is already leading to changes in the industry and stronger policies to control methane pollution.

What do you hope/believe the ACLS19 will accomplish in moving the needle on climate action/breakthrough?  

There’s so much momentum to be leveraged right now. Bringing people together around solutions is a great way to inspire through hope, and to deepen the networks of advocates and experts committed to working on these issues.


Hear more from Derek Walker at the American Climate Leadership Summit 2019 in Washington, D.C. on May 1 and 2. Click Here to Register

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