MacArthur Fellows Program

Michael Walsh

Vehicle Emissions Specialist | Class of 2005

Designing and implementing inventive, cost-effective programs to improve air quality for populations around the globe.

Vehicle Emissions Specialist
Arlington, Virginia
62 at time of award

Michael Walsh is an independent engineer and policy analyst committed to improving regional public health and the global environment by reducing the impact of internal combustion engines on air quality. Beginning in the 1980’s with his work shaping legislation that significantly reduced lead emissions in the United States, Walsh has developed a reputation for finding effective and practical solutions to thorny public policy problems. His bimonthly publication, Car Lines, is widely recognized by governments, manufacturers, and research institutions as a vital resource for information regarding technical advances in emissions control and trends in regulatory policies. Because of his encyclopedic knowledge of international standards, engineering policy, and air pollutant chemistry, government agencies throughout the world turn to him to help tailor policies to protect air quality that accommodate local priorities and economic conditions. In Central America and Asia, Walsh has demonstrated how leapfrogging emissions standards of the most industrialized economies positions other economies to become centers of advanced technology. Recently, he has turned his attention to reducing sulfur emissions from diesel engines, helping to design fuel standards in the U.S. and elsewhere. With projections of over 1 billion vehicles on the roads worldwide by the year 2025, the problem of protecting health and air quality looms large. By virtue of his indefatigable commitment, soft-spoken persuasion, and unrivaled expertise, Walsh continues to play an important and strategic role in translating science into effective policy action.

Michael Walsh received a B.S. (1966) from Manhattan College and pursued graduate study at Princeton University (1969-70). Early in his career, he worked in government service, directing motor vehicle pollution control efforts in the City of New York Department of Air Resources (1970-74) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1974-81). Since 1981, Walsh has been an independent technical consultant advising governments and industries worldwide on vehicle emission standards. Among his many clients are the American Lung Association, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Program, and the Environmental Protection Agencies of Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland, Thailand, and China.

Recent News

Michael Walsh remains active around the world addressing motor vehicle pollution–related issues in India, Europe, the United States, and Asia. Recently, his work has focused primarily on China, and he received the Silver Magnolia award for service to the City of Shanghai in 2009 and the Friendship award, the highest award for international experts in China, in 2010. Walsh currently co-chairs a special project dealing with short-lived climate forcers for the China Council on International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

Updated August 2015

News About This Fellow
May 1, 2011
“In Conversation with: Michael Walsh”
Asian Clean Fuels Association
Michael Walsh , 2005 MacArthur Fellow
View all news

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