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Ian  Bowles

Ian Bowles

Energy & Environment Expert/Former Clinton Advisor


An energy and environment innovator with experience in foreign policy, state regulation, and clean energy entrepreneurship, Ian Bowles is Managing Director of Rhumb Line Energy LLC, a clean energy advisory and project development firm in Boston; Senior Director at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a Washington-based international strategy firm; and an advisor to several clean energy technology companies.           Read More >

Bowles served as principal international environment and natural resources advisor on the White House staff for President Bill Clinton. Holding the posts of Senior Director of Global Environmental Affairs at the National Security Council and Associate Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, he played key roles in the Kyoto Protocol process, trade and environmental negotiations, and clean energy development, and accompanied the President on foreign travel to India, New Zealand, and the G-8 Summit in Okinawa.

In early 2011, Bowles stepped down after four years as Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs for Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. In that position, he created the first state cabinet agency encompassing both energy regulation and environmental protection – overseeing six line agencies that employ staff of more than 3,000 – and positioned his office at the intersection of business and government. He oversaw environmental review of all major real estate development and business expansion projects in the Commonwealth, spearheaded reform of environmental and energy permitting, and led the largest land conservation initiative in the state’s history. Championing clean energy as an economic opportunity, Bowles overhauled utility regulation to make Massachusetts the national leader in energy efficiency investment and the third largest market for solar power installation in the United States. By approving the environmental review and permitting for Cape Wind, Bowles made Massachusetts host for what is likely to be the first offshore wind power project in the United States. Bowles also set the highest standards in the nation on greenhouse gas emissions and building codes and, as Chairman of the Board, made the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority a national leader on integration of clean energy technology into daily operation of its $8 billion in capital assets.

Bowles also held leadership positions at Conservation International, an international nonprofit NGO, where he led land and habitat conservation initiatives in more than 20 developing countries, brokering creation of protected areas such as a new four million acre national park in Suriname. As senior advisor to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, he oversaw the largest US foundation grant given for environmental protection. 

Bowles’s academic career includes posts as a Senior Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and as adjunct member of the teaching faculty at Oxford University. He holds an honorary doctorate from Emerson College. Bowles co-edited Footprints in the Jungle (Oxford University Press) and has written broadly on energy, environment, conservation, and sustainability in both professional journals such as Science and in the popular media including The New York Times. He received his A.B. cum laude from Harvard College and a masters degree from Oxford University. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Global Natural Resources: Supply, Demand & Innovation

The Clean Energy Revolution: US, China & Opportunities Ahead

Why Wilderness Matters: An International Perspective

No California Dreaming: Why the East Coast Is the Future of Clean Energy

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