Joe Mendelson serves as Senior Counsel, Business and Policy Development, where he leads Tesla’s policy and government relations work on international trade, climate change and carbon pricing, solar manufacturing, and sustainability. His current work supporting Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy includes addressing the impacts of altered federal tariff policies, reductions to vehicle fuel-efficiency regulations, and relaxation of Clean Air Act emissions standards on the company’s automotive, energy storage, and solar businesses.
He was Director, Policy & Electricity Markets for SolarCity prior to the company’s acquisition by Tesla in June 2016. From 2013 to 2015, he worked as the Democratic Chief Climate Counsel for the U.S. Senate’s Committee on the Environment and Public Works.
Prior to working on Capitol Hill, he was Director of Policy for the National Wildlife Federation’s Climate & Energy Program. He also co-founded and served as the Legal Director of the Center for Food Safety and International Center for Technology Assessment for over a decade. During his tenure with both organizations, he initiated the first legal case in the U.S. seeking the control of carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. Acting as co-counsel during litigation of the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the effort resulted in the landmark ruling of Massachusetts v. EPA.
He holds a B.A. from Colgate University and a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, he and his family currently reside in Arlington, VA.