CARB Chair Mary Nichols (Photo: CARB)

Update March 23: Here’s the segment from This Week in Northern California in which Craig Miller asked the questions.

Update March 18: The questions Craig Miller asked Mary Nichols:

  • A lot of people remain convinced that AB 32 implementation will be a drag on California’s recovery. How do you respond to that?
  • How many times have you taken alternative transit to work in the past year?

On Friday, Climate Watch Senior Editor Craig Miller will sit down with Mary Nichols for a one-on-one interview, which will later be broadcast on This Week in Northern California.

As chair of the California Air Resources Board under both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, Nichols has presided over the nation’s most ambitious assault on the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. She’s charged with implementation of the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), which has survived well-funded attacks from industry and is now fending off a lawsuit from environmentalists. She’s also partially responsible for enforcing CA’s goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020, and with finding ways to get Californians out of their cars and onto alternative transit.

We’ll review the questions you send us and pick one or two for the interview, crediting the source. Send your questions to or leave them in the comments section.

What Would You Ask California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols? 23 March,2011Jon Brooks

  • Corey

    Don’t you think that now is a time to worry about jobs and the well-being of people? Do you understand how many jobs this bill will kill? Do you understand that the amount of “green” jobs created will still not cover the jobs lost?

  • Troy Cox

    How can CARB still back law passed by Caliofrnia legislators based on Hien T. Tran’s research? If legislation was based on research that was not relevant to California, and studied by a man with no degree, shouldn’t CARB work with law makers to reppeal the diesel regulators legislation?

    • ADavis

      I’d like to reiterate one of the above questions…

      How can you STILL back laws based on FALSE research by a FALSE “expert” who obtained his degree from an on-line “university”???

  • R. Allen Reynolds

    Judging from the first two comments, both good questions, Ms. Nichols has a lot to answer for — why don’t you interview her live and take questions from a studio audience that you haven’t picked from your regular pledge lists? Or from folks who have real knowledge and expertise, and aren’t politically favored Agency appointees who can’t be voted out of office? Or better yet, just send her over to John and Ken.

    I’m afraid you folks don’t have the backbone to ask the hard questions that need to be asked. This woman can single-handily destroy (further) the State’s economy with CARB’s ridiculous positions and denial of real facts and information that’s in any way contrary to their fraudulent positions.


      Mr or Ms R. Allen Reynolds. Very good!

      • R. Allen Reynolds

        You too, David! She’s not costing me my job or my business, so you’ve got a real stake in this.

        KQED hasn’t the backbone and won’t do anything with all these great comments and questions, but (for now) at least they’re getting posted. I can’t even get them on my cable system in Orange County since they’re gone off air.

        • R. Allen Reynolds

          And THAT’S why she’ll appear on KQED — no one will watch and she won’t be challenged.

    • Craig Miller

      It’s not a matter of backbone. I would love to moderate such a discussion but we have not been offered that opportunity. We can certainly ask, though, and I will look into it. This particular interview is only about 7 minutes long and will be limited (by me, not CARB) to topics related directly to climate policy, as opposed to CARB’s other areas of responsibility.

      • R. Allen Reynolds

        Copout! If you’re the host and you don’t have the courage to ask at least some of the GREAT questions that have been posted here, you’re right — it’s not about backbone — you’re missing something further south.

        This woman NEVER submits to interviews for precisely the reason that she’ll get hammered with good questions like you see here. Craig, I’ve followed these posts by email since yesterday, and you’ll note there’s not ONE positive question in here. Everyone of them can be construed to be critical of Nichols and CARB, but none of them are dishonest, profane or even particularly nasty. This woman owes a lot of people a lot of answers, and you and/or KQED would be blowing a great opportunity to get them (and a million hits if you were to pin her down on these issues and them put the interview on YouTube). If you ‘softball’ her, all you’re going to do is prove to everyone what we already know — you’re a bunch of insufferable squishy nardless liberals like NPR and don’t know anything about real world issues that affect people that DON’T send you money (get the connection there?).

        Show some stones, buddy, and ask some hard questions.

      • Craig print a copy of all these responses and let her comment on her lifes’ justification. or call me I explain it to her 916-599-7088

  • Jessica Bowen

    Remind you of anyone?

    “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good
    of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
    The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may
    at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval
    of their own conscience.” C.S. Lewis

  • Vincent Bunker

    First: How do you explain the millions of dollars CARB has cost the taxpayers due to the MTBE and reformulated diesel debacles? Second: how do you sleep at night knowing your agency was responsible for polluting our lakes, steams, and ground water, by forcing the use of the cancer causing agent MTBE in our fuel? Finally: Based on the fact that you use data from unqualified personnel (Hien T. Tran) and CARB’s track record of polluting California, how can you assure the California public that your latest round of regulations (SB32) are sound?

  • Cindy Lemos

    Based on the current economy, debt & unemployment numbers, how do you logically – backed by real statistics from qualified personnel – defend the job killing/industry demolishing policies that would be employed with AB32 and the future cost to generations of taxpayers?


    I am a small time trucker. I have 5 trucks, and over 50% of my miles are out of state. Why should all these local minorities have preference for funding for replacement trucks or upgrading than me? I have been here In Ca all my life, and you are going to take my life away from me. Is that right? Just because your child has asthma, you are way too quick to blame trucks, when the real data shows otherwise. You are wrong in what you are doing. You need to loose your job.

  • You yourself are on public record stating that AB32 will have no effect on either carbon dioxide concentration or on global temperature. No other state is attempting to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, and most European countries are walking away from it. Thousands of climatologists world-wide agree that carbon dioxide is not the cause of global warming and that the UN IPCC documents are fictional and primarily intended to further a global governance agenda.

    It would appear that the first duty of the chief of a public agency would be to do no harm to the public, yet AB32 will essentially double (or more) the economic dis-incentive to do business in CA, thrusting the state unemployment, mortgage defaults and tax revenue still higher and continuing on in a viscous spiral to a bottomless pit. So as a professional person responsible to the public, why do you continue to support the fallacy of AB32?

  • Taggart

    I’d like to know how many times Ms. Nichols has taken “alternative transit” to work in the past year. Bet I could guess.

  • ask ms. Nichols how her department justifies there existence, knowing that her implimentation of these diesel rules have killed the citizens she was sworn to protect. thousands of california families lives devastated by enviro socialism. did she feel no connection to the suffering she was party to when she appologized to the CARB board in dec 09 for misleading them to vote in the diesel rule by not disclosing her involvemet with hiding relovent facts and her lead author Tran’s non status as an phd who wrote the rule. ask ms Nichols how retrobution against dr James Enstrom in the UC system has made her feel. does she justify any meens to her end and what are her limits to the amount of death and despare she is willing to cause to Californians and to the world.

  • Matthew Rottman

    You may very well get away with what you are doing because the majority of the people in California have no interest in the world around them. They bury their heads in the sand while people like you, Judas Schwarzenegger, and Fabian push your destructive radical agenda on us and black list people who find fault with your data. Please keep in mind that you will pay for this in the afterlife and there is no escape from that.

  • “Madam Unelected” Given the enormity of Global Warming and the threat posed by CO2 emissions EXACTLY how much longer will you be exhaling your poisonous gases upon this society? Also if I may…what public transport do you currently use? Do you derive your tax authority from the California State Constitution or the US Constitution? Could you show me exactly the point in the Constitution where the authority to impose ANY tax upon citizens by an UNELECTED official is granted? What two Countries are the largest polluters of “global climate change” pollutants? So given that, do you STILL REALLY believe California unilaterally can impact and reduce GWCC pollutants? What medications are you currently taking for your delusion?

  • jeremy schellhardt

    I just want her to answer her feelings about what taxation without representation means to her, and then follow up her answer with, “if you feel that taxation without representation is wrong. Then why are you doing it? Were you elected? Since you were not, isn’t it are you doing it? Were you elected? Since you were not, isn’t it hypocritical of you to raise taxes while not being an elected or electable representative of the people?”

  • Jason Andrews

    1. Does Mary Nichols realize how imperialistic she comes off towards the taxpayers, as if she stares down her nose at us peasants?

    2. Why continue to employ Hein Tran, after he was found to falsify documents regarding his education for employment with CARB. (he is still employed to this day)

    3. With the continued employment of Mr. Tran, how does she think the Air Resources Board is viewed, in terms of integrity, by the taxpayers?

    4. With the Air Resources Board being funded by the taxpayers, does Mrs. Nichols feel that the board should be held accountable by the taxpayers?

    5. How does she feel about running most of an entire industry (the sandcar/offroad businesses) out of the state….an industry that did over a billion dollars of business in the state, until CARB passed laws back in 2006, making most of the powersports industry leave for more off-road friendly states, like Arizona and Nevada?

  • Calvin

    I just want to know -do you hate California or just businesses in California?

  • Enoch

    The question I would ask -does she plan to leave California like so many of us have after she is done. Or will she stay there wave to the rest of the people as they leave?

  • Jess E. Bell

    I want to know if she as ever had a real job in which she was held accountable to an employer????

  • BJ Lenihan

    How can anyone not question your intentions and your aganda when you disregard the fraudulent credentials and fantasy research of proven and admitted liars on your own board in order to pursue your political goals? Why was Tran allowed to remain when he possesses neither the qualifications nor credentials necessary for his position?

  • The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article about how North Dakota is booming and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation due to their drilling for oil and welcoming business. The article compared North Dakota to California’s contempt for energy production and belief that “green” jobs will magically come and save our train wreck of a state. Given how many people are suffering and the magnitude of the budget crisis, I would like to know whether Mary Nichols would be open to reforming the way CARB does business and start allowing entrepreneurs to create prosperity in a free market?

  • Steve

    You have too much power for an unelected official. If I don’t like you I can’t vote you out. Creating regulations without representation is why America revolted from England. You are power hungry and use global warming to grab as much power and money from us as you can. I her no questions for you because I don’t care what the answer would be. You should step down and CARB should be destroyed.

  • What are your off shore bank account #’s please? !

  • Dave Jackson

    Mary … you are a fraud; your policies are based on fraud; the Hien Tran scandal will never go away. Your part in the strong arm attack on Professor James Enstrom of UCLA is nothing short of criminal. That said … here is my question. Is it possible, for you, to scrape together the barest tendrils of ethical perspective and do the honorable thing … disband CARB, and surrender yourself to law enforcement for violations of ethics, misappropriation of public funds, slander, libel, and the very personification of human avarice?

  • Betty Plowman

    Where are the green jobs?

    Why is it that the solar manufacturing company Solyndra shut their doors at the Fremont location after receiving 535 million dollars in stimulus funds? (paid by the taxpayers.)
    Perhaps even this “green” business cannot remain in this over-regulated state.

  • tony

    We are all for clean air but you are crippling small business. Wouldn’t it be more practical to relocate the people that have the asma that deisel smoke irritates? And I don’t understand how big Corporations can sell smog credits to other companies. Can we buy credits if our company only runs part time in the high problem areas?

  • Rod Michaelson

    On March 11th, 2011, The “Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association” (MECA) posted in their newsletter:

    “In terms of employment, MECA member companies currently account for approximately 65,000 green jobs in the U.S. These jobs are located in nearly every state in the U.S. – the top 10 states are: Texas, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska – as well as in Canada and Mexico.”

    How could it be that all these green jobs are in other states and countries? Could it be it is too hard to do business in California to be green and make any money?

  • To Ms. Nichols

    As a life long resident of California, I would like to make a few of my points heard.’

    I see ab32 as a scam in the biggest sense of the word. Do you think you and CARB can really get away with this!?!

    You are using the shield of “global warming” and helping the environment as your front for your fraud!

    I will make a few points of that front:
    You are going to enslave the remaining californian’s as in the word’s of barack obama
    ” the cost of energy will necesarilly sky rocket”

    You and the rest of Carb are looking to line your pockets off of the scam called ab32.
    I also know that you understand that this is ludacris and that Californian’s cannot afford to pay anymore for energy and that you are going to force countless citizens and businesses out of the state and bankrupt the remaining!

    By passing off these carbon taxes to big companies they will inturn pass them on to their customers which are the residents of california.

    So let me get this right, you plan on skyrocketing the rate of electricity, natural gas, gasoline,diesel and then tax water in an effort to do what exactly make you and Carb rich??? and redistribute our wealth ??

    This has nothing to do with the environment and you are looking to divide us into rich and poor and get rid of the middle class.

    Sounds to me like you want to turn the general population into serf’s as in the middle ages and taking away our rights,freedoms, and money and binding us into an endless cycle of work which has to end and we cannot climb the social and economic ladder to a better life and enjoy our freedom’s as american’s!

    I also saw that under ab32 you would allow clear cutting of forests, which would count for the displacement of carbon by company’s, tell me how does that work!?!

    You sicken me with the thought of your fiendish plans on taxing carbon, You want to hit us where it hurts and crush california’s economy!

    We need carbon energy, like we food and water and you know this!

    Let’s also point out carb’s great prior decisions putting mtbe in our fuel. Poisoning our ground water and causing cancer, that HURT the environment, our water, our health and safety and cost this state how much to clean up??

    Also lets bring up carb’s 300+% of over calculation on the pollutance of diesel in this state, can carb say whoops?

    Lastly global warming is a sham and let the real facts be known it’s made up and is not affecting the environment. The true and honest scientist and climatologists have pointed out that global warming is a made up and our co2 out put is not affecting the earth.
    And is carb going to stop china or india from their co2 output… No they are not!!!!

    I cannot wait until the majority of the citizens in california wake up to what ab32 really is!!!

    Nice get rich scheme Ms. Nichols, give Carb a pat on the back for me!

  • Kevin

    Why doesn’t CARB do research before implementing new regulations ? the massive pollution caused by CARB could have been prevented with the propper research, like the reformulated gas that caused all the car fires and reformulated diesel that caused fuel leaks that ended up in our waterways and MTBE that will be in the ground water for many years to come and now the new diesel regulations that result in a less efficient engine and more fuel to be burned and ultimately released in the environment in one form or another.

  • Kevin

    Why are European countries racing ahead with low polluting high efficient cars while USA is forced by EPA and CARB in the opposite direction ,for instance a 2011 Ford Focus in the United States is listed @ 29 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and the same 2011 Ford Focus in Europe is available with a TDCI motor and listed @ 50.4 mpg city , 76.4 mpg highway, clearly a nearly 50% reduction in burned fuel released in the environment and yet not allowed into United States ?


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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