The ChE in Context: Members Will Shape AIChE’s Climate Change Policy


In the eight months since the U.S. Presidential election, AIChE and its Public Affairs and Information Committee (PAIC) have received many calls for action to expand AIChE’s climate change policy. As evidenced by many threads in the AIChE Engage online discussion forum (, climate change and climate policy have been of interest to many chemical engineers. For example, some members are comfortable with the levels of uncertainty characteristic of the projections of climate change and its impacts, while others are not and maintain significant doubt.

Many AIChE members and their companies have supported U.S. participation in the international Paris Climate Agreement, which has substantially relied upon U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations adopted during the Obama Administration. In the agreement, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2020, each participating nation committed to determine the extent and mechanisms of its own contribution toward mitigating GHG emissions. On June 1, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw U.S. participation or renegotiate it. This has stirred new interest in AIChE’s position.

AIChE’s existing climate change policy (, drafted in 2014, focuses on the roles of AIChE and its members in contributing technical insights for the public and for...

Author Bios: 

Mary Ellen Ternes

Mary Ellen Ternes is a partner in the Oklahoma City office of D.C. based Earth & Water Law, LLC.  Ms. Ternes represents energy, manufacturing and other industrial and municipal clients, with in-depth experience in air, hazardous waste, wastewater, drinking water program permitting, compliance, with particular emphasis in developing efficient regulatory strategies for complex and high profile processes and industries, enforcement defense, risk management, due diligence, voluntary cleanup practices as well as federal and state rulemaking, administrative proceedings and litigation....Read more

Phillip R. Westmoreland

Phillip R. Westmoreland was 2013 President of AIChE. He is Past Chair of the AIChE Public Affairs and Information Committee, a trustee of the AIChE Foundation, and a trustee and past president of the educational nonprofit CACHE Corporation (

He is presently Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU). His chemical engineering degrees are from NCSU (BS, 1973), Louisiana State University (MS, 1974), and MIT (PhD, 1986). He has previously worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Union...Read more

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