David Victor, Co-Chair, Energy Security and Climate Initiative

David G. Victor

David Victor is a professor of innovation and public policy at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego. He is the Center for Global Transformation Endowed Chair in Innovation and Public Policy. Victor is also the co-director of the campus-wide Deep Decarbonization Initiative, which focuses on real world strategies for bringing the world to nearly zero emissions of warming gases. Victor is also an adjunct professor in climate, atmospheric science, and physical oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prior to joining the faculty at UC San Diego, Victor was a professor at Stanford Law School where he taught energy and environmental law.

His research focuses on regulated industries and how regulation affects the operation of major energy markets. Much of his research is at the intersection of climate change science and policy. Victor authored “Global Warming Gridlock,” which explains why the world hasn’t made much diplomatic progress on the problem of climate change while also exploring new strategies that would be more effective. The book was recognized by The Economist as one of the best books of 2011.

Victor was a convening lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations-sanctioned international body with 195 country members that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Victor has been tapped by Southern California Edison to lead the company’s Community Engagement Panel for decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. According to utility officials, he was chosen to lead the panel because he has the vision, leadership, and experience to bring together a diverse group of concerned people. Victor, in 2016, was appointed to co-chair the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Energy, where his work focuses on the role of natural gas as a transition fuel to deep decarbonization as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2020, Victor was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest and most esteemed honorary societies in the nation.

At UC San Diego, Victor and researchers at the Deep Decarbonization Initiative work at the intersection of science, technology and policy. They are focused on helping the world cut emissions of warming gases given the very real technology, economic and political constraints that exist.

American Association for the Advancement of Science, member
American Geophysical Union, chair
American Political Science Association, member
American Society of International Law, member
International Institute for Strategic Studies, member
International Studies Association, member

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Climate
    • Energy
    • International relations
    • Political science
  • Current Positions

    • Professor of International Relations, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego
    • Co-Director, Laboratory on International Law and Regulation, University of California, San Diego
    • Co-Director, Deep Decarbonization Initiative, University of California, San Diego
    • Adjunct Professor, Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography, The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
    • Co-Chair, Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, The Brookings Institution
    • Senior Research Fellow, Climate Leadership Council
    • Nonresident Senior Associate, Energy and National Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Past Positions

    • Co-Chair, Cross-Brookings Initiative on Climate and Energy (2016-2020)
    • Professor, School of Law, Stanford University (2006-2009)
    • Director, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University (2001-2009)
    • Robert W. Johnson, Jr. Senior Fellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations (1998-2009)
    • Research Scholar, Project on "Environmentally Compatible Energy Strategies," International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (1997-1998)
    • Co-Leader, Project on "Implementation and Effectiveness of International Environmental Commitments (IEC)," International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (1993-1997)
  • Education

    • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1997
    • B.A., Harvard Univeristy, 1987
  • Languages

    • English
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