Catherine Wolfram, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business associate dean for academic affairs, has been appointed as the deputy assistant secretary for climate and energy economics at the United States Department of the Treasury.
With this appointment, Wolfram will be joining several other campus members in the Biden administration. Wolfram, who specializes in climate and energy economics, is operating under a newly formed position under Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
“Climate change is a very important issue, but not much progress has been made on the federal level,” Wolfram said. “I hope to do what I can to support the federal government in bringing its great power and persuasion into helping us solve the climate crisis.”
According to Wolfram, she was contacted in December for the position but had a variety of other responsibilities to tend to, delaying her start to March 1. Wolfram added that the Biden administration “was very anxious” to bring people on board.
Campus professor of international sustainable development Maximilian Auffhammer said his colleagues are an “amazing collection of brilliant individuals” and he is not surprised that so many UC Berkeley affiliates were chosen to fill these posts.
“This is a great day for Cal,” Auffhamer said. “We’ve worked in these areas of climate and energy for a long time and have been a leader in this field, so having one of our most distinguished colleagues be chosen for this role is a great day for everyone.”
Wolfram said she will be aiding the federal government in its efforts to address climate change as deputy secretary. Along with cataloging and coordinating all climate-related activities occurring under the administration, she will be supporting the White House’s goals and programs regarding the environment.
Auffhammer, who was one of Wolfram’s colleagues on campus, said she combines the “best characteristics” of a scholar and a policymaker. According to Auffhammer, Wolfram’s experience as an associate dean in the Haas School of Business has bolstered her administrative portfolio.
As the United States heads into a new administration, the question of climate change is a looming subject for many. Aufhammer added that in the next four years, he hopes the U.S. government will tackle issues such as climate change, air pollution and income distribution.
“I would hope that we will jointly work on improving the well-being of everyone,” Auffhammer said. “I’m hoping to see policies that are both efficient, but also pay careful attention to making our society a more fair and equitable one.”