California: Global Game-Changer for Climate Leadership

ClimateCan California act as a global leverage point to shift the world on climate disruption?

A Bioneers Pre-Conference Intensive:  Oct. 16 from 9:00-5:30, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael, CA

Register: Click Here

Schedule: Click Here (PDF)

Program: Click Here (PDF)

“Since Gov. Jerry Brown’s first term in 1974, California has been on a steady march to an alternative energy future. California is the likely catalyst in the spreading battle against climate change, which the state Energy Commission calls ‘the great unifier.’ Enter Brown as a modern Archimedes, the ancient Greek philosopher who searched for a leverage point from which to transform the world. California is that leverage point.”  — Tom Hayden

Join us for a special one-day workshop with visionary policy, government, finance and civil society representatives on how the state of California under the leadership of Governor Jerry Brown is emerging as the potential game-changer for global climate leadership.

In plenary presentations, panels and participatory breakout groups, we’ll explore:

  • Key components of California’s practical and policy leadership on climate change;
  • Ways to accelerate California's clean energy achievements as leverage for addressing climate change globally;
  • How to re-imagine infrastructure that is clean, green, equitable and efficient, and creates a sustainable prosperity;
  • The roles of sub-national collaborations, government, market capitalism, and civic society in developing a new clean energy paradigm;
  • The paths forward: investment-divestment, state, regional, local and sub-national action and collaboration, civic engagement, media outreach, framing and more.

Featured speakers include:

Additional speakers still being confirmed

Register: Click Here

The Context:

California has a long history of providing national leadership on environmental issues.  An early adopter of leading-edge policies, California’s state-level efforts have played a catalytic role in the development of landmark national laws and standards, from air pollution to water quality, energy efficiency, fuel-efficiency standards and green building.

In the absence of federal climate leadership, California has been a crucial player in developing and implementing a broad suite of clean energy and low-carbon incentives and policies, while maintaining a fairly robust economy and green jobs creation. As the world’s 8th largest economy, California today is in the midst of spending $120 billion on clean energy in the next five years, more than any other state and most foreign countries. California is poised to achieve 33 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020, and may double its rate by 2030. The state's goals include 1.5 million zero-emission cars and one million solar rooftops in the coming decade.

Dispelling the myth of "jobs versus the environment," California now employs 199,000 workers in clean energy industries, showing how an advanced economy can set future goals of 100 percent renewables while shuttering its last nuclear plant. Consumers have saved an estimated $70 billion on energy efficiency programs. Silicon Valley leads the U.S. in green venture capital. A growing policy and regulatory focus on climate adaptation and resilience is underway because climate change is here now.          

Yet climate change is a global issue and requires collaboration. California’s clean energy diplomacy has led to low-carbon pacts with China, Germany, Mexico, Quebec, British Columbia, and multiple states in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest and New England.

Serious issues also loom, from fracking policy to environmental justice concerns. “We need to teach the electric car to speak Spanish,” said state Sen. Kevin de León. Globally, environmental justice may become the deal-breaker between rich and poor countries, and has cratered recent international summits. California is a green energy model the U.S. government can point to in climate summit meetings leading to Paris in 2015.

Is it enough? No, but it's a solid measure of far we've come and how rapidly change can happen. Is this the moment to double down and initiate a relentless push toward a 100% clean energy future? How can these models be scaled and replicated globally?

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