Some environmentalists said the law extending California’s cap and trade system to 2030 is a sellout to the oil industry and it shortchanges disadvantaged communities that breathe the dirtiest air. How do California’s climate moves play into national politics and policy? Will climate and energy play a meaningful role in the upcoming midterm elections? Will companies make energy policy more of a priority? We look back at how Gov. Schwarzenegger set the tone and how his past leadership continues to influence California’s policies today.
David R. Baker
Energy Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle
Sr. Vice President, Environment & Energy, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Senior Strategist, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Studio segment: US Senator Brian Schatz
A majority of this program was recorded in front of a live audience at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, CA on August 29, 2017.
Speakers at this Event
Greg Dalton: Welcome everyone. Thanks for joining us. We’re delighted to see you here. Climate One is growing, we have increasingly national radio audience. So we’re gonna talk about California in a national context today and how it's leading and how it affects other states in our country.
From the Commonwealth Club of California this is Climate One, changing the conversation about America's energy, economy and environment. I'm Greg Dalton. In 2007, I went to the Arctic on a global warming expedition with scientists and journalists aboard a Russian icebreaker. Experiencing climate change at the top of the world changed my life and when I returned I created Climate One as a project of the Commonwealth Club. For the last 10 years I’ve been interviewing leaders about how burning fossil fuels disrupts all the systems around us our food system, our water system, our energy system, our ecosystems, our lifestyle and our economy. Climate changes everything, and affordable solutions are all around us now. As the Trump administration doubles down on fossil fuels, states around the country are pushing ahead on clean energy. Wind power is big in Iowa with bipartisan support. Solar electricity is expanding in Nevada with support from Republicans and casinos. Minnesota is quietly and gradually cutting its carbon emissions. Massachusetts, New York and other states are considering going to 50 or even 100% renewable power. In California, Democrats and Republicans join with environmentalists and oil companies to agree on expanding the state’s climate action plan. On the show today we’ll discuss how that could affect the car you drive and the proof of pollution that rises when you surf the web or send an email. We have three guests on stage along with our live audience today. David Baker is reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle. Mike Mielke is Senior Vice President with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, association of large tech companies and Parin Shah, Senior Strategist with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network which opposes the extension of California's main climate law. Please welcome them to Climate One.
David Baker, let's begin. In 2006, George Bush is in the White House. Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor of California. The economy is booming, Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth is just about is out and the IPCC U.N. group of scientists are about to come up with their report and California signs what some people would say is the first and most important piece of climate legislation. Pick up the story there.
David Baker: Sure. I’d actually go back here before that’s 2005. We think back to that decade, there was growing public concern internationally about climate change and what to do about it. And Schwarzenegger, who was always very conscious that he was a Republican governor in a democratic state, in 2005, came out and said science is settled we know it's happening. We have a good idea what we need to do about it. So I'm gonna put on an executive order and we are going to cut our emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020. It was just an executive order and that means any governor comes into office afterwards can use it or toss it, trashy without a single problem. So Fran Pavley, legislator here in California from the L.A. suburbs decided that was not going to be good enough. And she put forward a bill with Schwarzenegger to enshrine that goal into law and that's what we had in 2006. For Schwarzenegger it was a really good shrewd move. He was still eyeing whether he’s gonna go nationally and if he had another job pass governorship of California and he was up for reelection. He needed some big bold issue that he could appeal to Democrats and independents with and he made this his cause. He got it through the legislature with only one Republican vote in favor of it.
And yet he was reading the polls pretty astutely because if you go back and look at public opinion polls in California at the time that law actually had almost identical support among Republicans, Democrats and independents. The parties weren't quite aligned that way, but among the voters in California they all pretty strongly backed that law. And so you have from the very beginning California primary climate law always had that kind of bipartisan and compromising origin story to it. It was always something that was put together by Republicans and Democrats, even though in the legislature it didn't quite pan out that way. But that form the basis for pretty much everything that came next.
Greg Dalton: In 2008, there was a recession then there was some concern. Well we can afford to fight climate. There's a recession, people concerned about the jobs. What came out of that?
David Baker: Well, a couple of contradictory things came out of that. California by that point had become the headquarters of the cleantech industry in the United States companies focusing on solar, wind, electric cars, that kind of thing. And we were starting to get some jobs out of that so there was a bit of momentum in that direction. At the same time you had industries that were never happy about the original climate change law and were really unhappy about this idea of cap-and-trade that was coming out of it who thought okay, this recession is our opportunity. And so in 2010, they put together a ballot initiative to try to hit the pause button on this law and suspend it until the economy improved. And it turned into a fairly expensive political fight, but that proposition went down in flames it was pretty handily rejected by voters who basically viewed it as sort of an attack on the California law primarily by the oil industry. And ever since then there was I would say the beginning of the process of the industry adapting to this law once they lost that ballot initiative.
Greg Dalton: Yeah, it was validated at the ballot box. And then 2010, Jerry Brown comes in office and he's initially quite suspicious of cap-and-trade. Because remember, after the great recession there is a lot of suspicion about Wall Street cap-and-trade people worrying that it could be gained and scanned that this was and we might get into this later that people could gain this trading of a gas that you can't see, smell, touch or taste that sounds like a Wall Street dream.
David Baker: There were a lot of people who are thinking that way in 2010, including the people who are putting together the cap-and-trade system. We’ll get into this a bit more later but there are different ways that you can use market mechanisms to try to control greenhouse gases. The two that you hear most often are just putting attacks on them or cap-and-trade, which is a pretty complicated market. And the people at the states, the California Air Resources Board who are in charge of putting together this cap-and-trade system were terrified by the ghost of the electricity crisis that all live through it. And they spent a lot of time consulting with people here in Berkeley, Stanford, some people who are coming out of the industry. Looking for all kinds of ways that people could game the system and then trying to build the end rules that would protect against it. The result is the system's been up and running for several years now. And it appears to be moving pretty smoothly and nobody is ever caught anyone trying to manipulate it in a particular way. The downside is this thing is frigging complicated it’s really difficult to learn all of the rules understand how every last mechanism works, so that was the trade-off.
Greg Dalton: So Mike Mielke, we have this law signed by Republican Governor, been through a recession validated at the ballot box. George Shultz, Republican statesman rode to its rescue in 2010 when it was challenged by oil companies comes to extend it. Why did Silicon Valley companies get behind supporting this climate law?
Mike Mielke: Well, thanks for having me here today really appreciate the opportunity to talk with folks about this in California's leadership on climate. We supported the Silicon Valley Leadership Group are 375 members and high-tech. We supported what was then some of them are Pavley’s bill AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act. Because we saw it as an opportunity to, one, address an issue, a problem a real problem with Valley scientists and engineers. So we not only respect science, believe in science, but we also see this entrepreneur’s opportunity where a lot of other folks don’t. And we also supported cap-and-trade which was part of what came out of the 2006 package because we believe it is the most efficient and cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yes it's complicated. And yes, the folks at the Air Resources Board here in California are up to the task of making sure that the cap-and-trade system works. And we thought it was also a good opportunity to speed the transition to the clean energy economy. I mean right now in California we have over half a million people in the advanced energy economy. So that’s more three times that we have in movies, television and radio more than we have in agriculture it's fast coming up on construction and the gains in that sector have been in double digits. So there's been a real opportunity in terms of the jobs in the future and we saw that as an opportunity back then.
Greg Dalton: Parin Shah, the head of your organization, when this deal was passed she said that this deal was California Governor Jerry Brown playing Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny all in one for big oil. So pretty colorful quote. Explain why you opposed, your group opposed this climate deal. (0:14:10)
Parin Shah: Sure, me as well as those words. And thank you for having me here as well. You know, I wanna actually step back from the sort of support oppose for just a moment and talk about how California and most places actually end up reducing carbon emission. And that's through rules, sustain California meets our obligation from the climate law from 2006 from the Pavley law, 80% of it is met through the rules that the state of California's promulgated, 80%. Cap-and-trade is a bit of a circus sideshow. You know, it catches a lot of attention it’s kind of interesting it’s where the money is. But really the hard work of addressing climate change and improving our air quality happens through the rules that ARB passes, I’m sorry, the Air Resources Board for the state of California and local air districts passed. So I mean some of that is the advancement of renewable energy, we got a 50% goal we’re working at getting to a 100%, you know, environmental justice groups are very supportive of that. We don't need the fossil fuel power plants, you know, Pavley clean cars which is really sort of been a national innovator in terms of getting clean cars on the market. You know that is carrying so much of the reductions. Our initiatives around electric vehicles that, you know, benefit all of us, and certainly, you know, to improve air quality benefit environmental justice communities. Those are the things that are getting our reductions. Now with regard to cap-and-trade we oppose this particular deal that the governor and legislature passed recently. Because it really doesn't get to the environmental, it doesn't get us to where we need to go in terms of the environmental integrity.
There are as David said, there are definitely some complicated components to it. There are allowances in terms of who gets how many sort of trading chips, right. So you’re sort of a casino in Vegas there’s these number of chips that you get for free versus what you have to have to pay for. There’s gonna be a great deal more of those free allowances that are handed off to the oil industry. And we just didn't think that that kind of a giveaway was worthwhile. There were some good components to it as well. There's a companion bill which really update California's clean-air laws which hasn't been updated in decades. So we think that the environmental integrity of the bill as it was written and it is being promulgated may not actually allow us to reach our reductions for the part that little tiny part that 20% the cap-and-trade does. And for the optics nationally, it’s an important thing. This deal in Oklahoma let’s crack open the champagne it’s a good deal in Oklahoma. But in a place like California where we innovate the way that we do we lead the nation by 10, 20 years. This is not something to be incredibly proud of and continues to leave environmental justice communities that APEN members come from in the Bay Area, my organization behind because it's allowing refineries and power plants to continue to pollute and not just emit atmospheric pollution, but emit local pollution that enters into bodies and causes respiratory as well as other sort of public health issues.
Greg Dalton: Do you think the people who've been left behind and suffered the pollution of the brown economy are going to be left behind in the green economy, is that a concern?
Parin Shah: Well that divide us real, right. I mean we have, you know, the electric vehicle standard objective that California's passed, you know, definitely is getting electric vehicles out there.
But, you know, there's a needed push to be able to get those vehicles whether they’re sort of first-generation or in the used car market into the hands and homes of low income folks. That isn't happening, there’s a potential for a green divide in the state and we don't need to do that. We can do better when we uplift all Californians middle income, low income, we uplift everybody. And someone who can afford a Tesla for six digits probably doesn't need that subsidy. But someone who pays two times as much as I do for my energy bill, they need support they need an uplift, they need a hand up to become a part of this green economy.
Greg Dalton: David Baker, a lot of the national environmental regulations car pollution tailpipe start in California. Tell us why people around the country should care about what's happening in California on this climate law and in general California's climate plan. We’re the most populous state, biggest economy, so what?
David Baker: Well, a couple of reasons. One, yes we are a very big economy and a very big state in terms of population. But two, we have now set ourselves up or at least the state government has under Governor Brown as being sort of the champions of climate action at the government level under the Trump administration. With Trump you have essentially the federal government backpedaling as much as they can, or just trying to put things into a deep freeze in terms of taking further national action on climate. Jerry Brown loves this role, he cherishes this role of being able to get up in front of a microphone take a few punches at Trump and say we're still going push ahead and anybody who wants to follow please do.
Greg Dalton: And trots off to China and he’s like the president of climate.
Parin Shah: He’s essentially turned himself into the ambassador of climate even though there are plenty of environmental folks here in the state who had issues with some of his policies. But the point being, he is actually sort of assume this mantle of leadership of saying we've got a model in California maybe it’s not the best but we've got it, it’s up and running, all you can come and join us, please do. And so he’s constantly trying to get other people to adapt our policies and join in our programs with the cap-and-trade market that we’ve been talking about the province of Québec in Canada has been participating in our market for over a year. The province of Ontario just started its own cap-and-trade system and currently plans to join with ours. Their prices are almost exactly the same. So he seems to be having a bit of an effect and at the moment, he's sort of a main game in town nationwide. I don't see anybody else who's done quite as much to basically say no, we're not going backwards.
Greg Dalton: So all the Californians who leave and go to Canada they’ll be familiar with their cap-and-trade scheme, all the people who still be familiar with the price of electricity up there. We spoke with Catherine Reheis-Boyd who is President of the Western States Petroleum Association and she says it's going take more than California to combat climate disruption.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd: It really depends on the approach. And as long as we look at these types of policies in a cost-effective way, that’s gonna be the highest chance of success. Because eventhough California is taking this leadership role, it really does matter if others follow because California is only less than one percent of climate change emissions in the world. So, if we did everything, it would not impact the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It has to be a collective, unified approach.
Greg Dalton: What do you think of those concerns about the environmental justice criticisms this deal that Governor Brown, California Governor Jerry Brown advance recently?
Catherine Reheis-Boyd: Well, first I would say that both of the issues are meritorious. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in a global sense but also how do we deal with local community concerns that are located around facilities, ours or any other manufacturing facility. Both of those are our meritorious concerns. What we have said is that you should not try to handle both of those in the same policy because they’re very, very different. You wouldn’t handle a global pollutant like CO2, which is what we breathe in and out the same way you would handle a local concern I say smog or ozone or particulate matter. One is health-based and one is, you know, has effects on climate temperature which then impacts other things. So that’s why I think it was a very good package that came together.
Greg Dalton: That’s Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association. David Baker, the industry's been trying nationally has been trying to slow down climate progress for some time. Is there a difference between the Western oil companies, oil companies in the West and the national posture?
David Baker: Well, they have to live here. They have operations here. They've refineries here. They have oilfields here. That's a big thing I mean they simply have to be able to find some way to make their operations work with the state regulations. American oil companies in general are still trying to draw out international action on climate change very much contrary to the way the European oil companies have decided to approach it. The European oil companies a couple years ago came together and issued a joint statement saying, this is a serious problem we are going to help address it.
We need a global price on carbon. Need the same price to apply around we don't care how it comes about. We don't care if it's tax, we don’t care if it’s cap-and-trade. We need that price we need to be pretty much as widespread as possible. We will then base our investment decisions on it and you'll see some progress. And the American oil companies wanted nothing to do with that, including Chevron over in San Ramon. They basically said nope, this will lead to higher prices for our customers. We want no part of it. So there is a divide within the industry if you’re talking about American versus international right now.
Greg Dalton: Mike Mielke, Silicon Valley companies support lots of green efforts doing lots of green things and we’ll talk about in a minute, but when they go to Washington they don't lobby on climate. The rep against Silicon Valley and a lot of companies is they do lots of things to say we’re green, our employees and our products, but when it comes down to the political trenches the inside game where they spend money in Washington, climate doesn't register, why?
Mike Mielke: Well, I think there are a couple things here. So one is when you have groups like BICEP which was started by Ceres, which is an investor network. That made clear statements about a price on carbon and the need for that in federal action and supporting the clean power plan and supporting staying in Paris.
Greg Dalton: This is Nike and Levi's and brand companies saying --
Mike Mielke: But it’s eBay, it's Facebook, it's tech companies too. And so they’ve been very clear about that, right. But yes, I think there is a real criticism there in terms of the backroom discussions the hard trench warfare. And I think a lot of that’s because it is a incredibly hot political potato in Washington DC, I mean, you have outright denial from folks. I mean one of the hallmarks of what just happened here in California was we had eight Republicans as opposed what happened in 2006 when there was just one that came and voted for the package to get to the two thirds threshold that was needed.
Greg Dalton: One of those Republicans later lost his job is perhaps because of his vote so.
Mike Mielke: Well, he’s still in the assembly but he’s no longer the leader of this.
Greg Dalton: So there was, yeah, some political price. So when it gets into Washington lobbying is because climate is not a core concern for tech companies. They were more worried about visas for workers, and tax policy and Apple wants to hide their hundred billion dollars in Ireland, that sort of thing more important than --
Mike Mielke: Yeah, I’m not supposed to laugh at that one.
Greg Dalton: Good poker face.
Mike Mielke: Yeah. So I think the issue is yes, there's a whole bunch of concerns they have before congress, right. And we talk about the top list of issues, it’s not there. And I think one of the reasons is because a lot of these tech companies are doing stuff in terms of their operations. Going to hundred percent renewable for their data centers I mean Apple and Facebook and others. But also they don't face the pressure in terms of their supply chain. They're not a Nestle or, you know, someone big in ag that has an incredible vulnerability from climate disruption, right that affects all the sorts of products that we rely on as consumers, right. So I think that's a real issue for them as well. They don’t face that pressure that other companies do.
Greg Dalton: Well, tell us what cleantech companies are doing in terms of their data centers because they don't have a supply chain, but a lot of electricity goes in the data centers. And every time we, you know, click like on Facebook or send an email there is some coal burned somewhere. What have they done to clean that up?
Mike Mielke: Yeah, so the data centers is just for everybody. These are the engines of the cloud, well let’s talk about the cloud and how everything now is on mobile, right. You can order whatever you want on Amazon on your phone if you’d like.
You can do access Facebook and do all these things. And that’s all powered by these data centers which are the engines of the cloud and of mobile applications. And they take a lot of energy and they require a lot of cooling so that they can function effectively and that requires a lot of electricity. And so what these companies have done a lot of these large tech companies have said we’re gonna go ahead and we’re gonna advance our own, you know, in terms dealing with their own operations, green electricity. So they've made huge investments in clean electricity so Apple and as I said, Facebook, Google and others and more than that they've also banded together as part of this effort called the Renewable Energy Buyers Association. So they've gone and they fought at the local level in states across the country for getting renewable power on the grid, right. And that was led by a lot of tech companies. And so they’ve worked to get more wind more solar on the grid around the country in order for their operations elsewhere to be more green.
Greg Dalton: Yeah, in some red states, Utah and others, eBay went into Utah and got the law changed. If you’re just joining us we’re talking about clean energy in California and around the country with Climate One. I'm Greg Dalton. Our guests are David Baker, reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, Parin Shah, with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Mike Mielke with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. We’re gonna to our lightning round and ask some brisk questions to our guests. True or false. Starting with Mike Mielke, true or false. Some Silicon Valley companies are skilled at greenwashing?
Mike Mielke: True. That happens anywhere.
Greg Dalton: Parin Shah. True or false, people who work in fossil fuel companies will rot in hell?
Parin Shah: False.
Greg Dalton: Also for Parin Shah. True or false, you can have empathy for rank-and-file workers at oil companies earning good salaries and providing fuel we need for our daily lives?
Parin Shah: I certainly can. And they need to help us transition to the renewable.
Greg Dalton: True or false, David Baker. Tesla's stock is wildly overvalued?
David Baker: Oh good Lord.
I think I’ll be committing journalistic malpractice if I actually opined on that.
Greg Dalton: To say that their stock is worth about half a million for every car they sell for $400,000. Okay, how about this one David Baker, true or false. Elon Musk and Donald Trump have a fair amount in common?
David Baker: False. Im sorry. False.
Greg Dalton: Mike Mielke, true or false. Tech companies and oil companies had never been on the same side of the battle until the recent extension of the states climate law?
Mike Mielke: Yeah, when Catherine just said what she said I found myself agreeing with a lot of it, and that is a rare thing, yes.
Greg Dalton: Did that leave you feeling dirty or clean?
Mike Mielke: Unchanged.
Greg Dalton: True or false, Parin Shah. Cap-and-trade is sexy?
Parin Shah: Clean air is sexy.
Greg Dalton: Okay, we’re gonna go to association. I’m gonna mention something and you’re just gonna tell me unfiltered what first comes to your mind. David Baker, hydrogen powered cars.
David Baker: Eh-err.
Greg Dalton: Mike Mielke, Greenpeace.
Mike Mielke: Good.
Greg Dalton: They’ve been pressuring a lot of cleantech companies to clean up the cloud. Parin Shah, President Obama.
Parin Shah: Windsurfing.
Greg Dalton: I thought you --
Parin Shah: You said first thing.
Greg Dalton: Yeah, first thing. It’s what he’s doing now. Mike Mielke, steak.
Mike Mielke: Lots of GHGs.
Greg Dalton: Parin Shah, Tesla.
Parin Shah: Great idea, overpriced.
Greg Dalton: This is multiple-choice for David Baker. What has a larger water or carbon footprint, a gin or orange juice?
David Baker: Oh, that’s brutal, man.
Greg Dalton: I read on your Twitter feed that you’re a gin snob.
David Baker: It may very well be gin and I don’t care.
Greg Dalton: Okay. So just for you, your beverage information, the water and footprint contents of beverages goes from good to bad. Gin, coffee, wine, OJ and milk. So milk and OJ really high. Now this came from Diageo, the makers of Tanqueray by the way. So maybe there’s, take that with a grain of salt.
According to the gin-makers gin is better than OJ.
David Baker: Are they sponsoring this show?
Greg Dalton: No, they’re not sponsoring. Let’s give this round to them for getting through that lightning round.
Mike Mielke, some Republican elders recently went to Washington. James Baker, George Shultz, Hank Paulson, these are some of the elders of the kind of old guard statesman. And they said, we need to have a revenue neutral carbon tax. What does Silicon Valley think of that? What are the prospects for that?
Mike Mielke: I’ll take those in reverse order. What are the prospects for that? Currently still dim. I will say thanks to the efforts of folks like Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
There is a climate solutions caucus and that is growing and that's the way that works is one Democrat and one Republican step into that caucus together.
Greg Dalton: It’s called Noah's Ark caucus.
Mike Mielke: Yeah, exactly. There’s safety in numbers and in doing it together, right, jumping off the together, Butch and Sundance. So yeah, and what does Silicon Valley think about that, I mean in general we support, you know, putting a price on carbon, right. It’s the right thing to do for all sorts of reasons, right. It creates all sorts of opportunities and we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
Greg Dalton: Earlier, Parin Shah said that most of the reductions that are happening are because of regulation Silicon Valley is notoriously famously libertarian doesn't like government intervention. So what do you see, do you prefer the market solution because carbon tax is still kind of that regulatory mandate kind of approach to things.
Mike Mielke: Yeah, so I mean he's right and everything up until now. But once we get out into the out years, once the low hanging fruit has already been picked it’s gonna be harder and harder to get those emission reductions and that's where cap-and-trade really get to come in to affect more fully. So yes, currently it's all these complimentary measures that are doing the heavy lifting. But in the future it’s gonna change. So, you know, as I said, we support cap-and-trade because it’s the most effective and efficient way to get there. That doesn’t mean that we would not consider something else in the future.
Greg Dalton: So Parin Shah, trying to like cap-and-trade has taken root, seems like it’s here to say. A lot of environmentalists don't like it, don’t trust it because they think it's, you know, it’s just an extension of Wall Street. They’re trying to overthrow it or they’re trying to tame it. What’s with the approach?
Parin Shah: Well, carbon pricing generally has a role in the toolbox. As Mike said, and there’s definitely a place for it. I think it has a very limited role in its value.
And in this last year, EJ organizations really do try to work with leadership in Sacramento here in California to try to shape a cap-and-trade program that we could all get behind. This iteration like I said doesn’t get there.
I think in terms of going forward, there is a role for carbon pricing. We think it's better to have it be a straight tax, it’s cleaner, have less folks. And one problem with it I will say with the tax is a lot of people at ARB will lose their jobs and that's not a good thing. But maybe they can transition to working on clean air, right.
Greg Dalton: Bureaucratic in momentum and inertia to continue the status quo in government. We’re talking about clean energy around the country at Climate One. Parin Shah is with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Mike Mielke, with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and David Baker with the San Francisco Chronicle. I'm Greg Dalton. We spoke with Loren Kaye who works with a group affiliated with the California Chamber of Commerce and he says that fighting climate has a big cost.
Loren Kaye: We have always been supportive of cap-and-trade. There's no doubt about it that climate change regulation in California is going to be expensive. But the cap-and-trade program will make it less expensive than it might have been otherwise just a command-and-control approach. Every sector of the economy is gonna be affected. But obviously the energy industry is going to have the most direct effects, the tourism industry will be affected in California the agricultural industry will be affected. There's nobody who was out of reach of the climate change regulations in California. We need to be monitoring the progress of this law over the next 10 years because it’s going to be very expensive. It's going to add cost to energy and it’s gonna add cost to goods and services in California.
It’s gonna make us slightly less competitive than we would otherwise be. The great hope of course for this and the most important test of success is whether other states and countries also adopt cap-and-trade measures.
Greg Dalton: That was Loren Kaye with the California Foundation for Commerce and Education. So two things there, cost and expansion. First, Parin Shah, he’s saying that cap-and-trade is going to have smaller increases for electricity bills that’s gonna affect people that you care about, is that fair?
Parin Shah: It’s a fair statement but that's part of the answer. So while cap-and-trade will have a smaller impact because its price will be lower right now, a ton of carbon let’s say the California selling for $14.75, $15 a ton. The true cost of carbon on the economy or the social costs of carbon is anywhere from $35-$50 a ton. So what we do need to be doing and what EJ organizations like ours are concerned about is bringing us up and not subsidizing the polluters with that sort of $35 delta between 15 and 50 and in bringing that cost up. Now you can do different things with that revenue. In California we've advanced that we and the notion that we make investments into frontline communities and communities that have been impacted by fossil fuel use. So those are living next to refineries or power plants, you know, another piece of it is having a dividend. And a dividend that is means tested so one that allows for low income folks to be able to have access and to address that sort of change in price as we transition from what might be a cheaper or might be considered a cheaper fuel into something else.
I will tell you though that wind and solar and I can probably speak to some of the folks that he's working with our parity with natural gas and certainly with coal in terms of generation. So these notions of sort of apocalypse in terms of the price is the chamber doing what they do best I mean trying to sort of keep the status quo as opposed to innovate. We’ve had a century of oil a century of oil where we can go to now and do it equitably is a century of renewable energy for all. That can be designed public policy is not something that just sort of happens public policy is born of our intellect, it’s born of our collective wisdom. And I think we can design something if we so chose. That was equitable that kept the business going and was good for the planet. Triple bottomline, that’s pretty good deal.
Greg Dalton: Mike Mielke, a lot of concern about the really tremendous concentration of wealth in Silicon Valley across our society. We just heard Parin Shah talk about some people being left behind. How much is the equity piece of this, the people who are frontline fence line communities’ part of the conversations you have in Silicon Valley?
Mike Mielke: More and more. It's a big part of it. And I think it's due to the hard work of Parin and others. And a lot of folks in the legislature now are taking up this issue with real force. I mean it’s part of the package as Parin had mentioned that was just passed. I mean there are three bills, right? So we're talking about the cap-and-trade extension, but there was also a constitutional amendment put forward by the Republicans to look at cap-and-trade expenditures in the future. And then there was this local air quality bill. And that’s where Catherine and I agree, right. Let's not use a mechanism cap-and-trade that's meant to deal with the global pollutant to deal with local pollutants.
Let's use existing loss, let’s enforce them better. Let's make sure that we're putting real teeth into that. And that was part of the package so that was certainly not something that the oil companies were wild about to say the least. And yes, I mean there is this question now I think a lot of folks in Silicon Valley are wrestling with which is equity with large and what do we do about folks as either they’re left behind or as the transition takes time to sort of take root and for people to go from, you know, one sector of the economy to the other and learn new skills. It is not easy. It takes time and we have to think really hard about how to make that happen in a way that doesn't leave people behind.
Greg Dalton: Mike Mielke, also this could be an issue in the 2018 midterm elections. Climate has not been a salient issue in a lot of elections around the country barely plays in presidential elections maybe after, you know, Hurricane Harvey I don't know, a bubble up. Is climate gonna be an issue in the midterms?
Mike Mielke: So I’ll first put a plug in for another effort that I have laid and that is climatepolitics.info or climatepolitics.org where you can go and you can learn where every legislator stands on climate change. That's another effort that we've been leading here. We’ve got that for Congress and we've done that here in California with the bill package that just passed. So is it gonna amount too much in 2018? No. And I think there are a couple of reasons for that. One is because I think amongst the list of concerns that folks have climate change for a lot of people doesn't rise very high. Folks are not making sure their representatives are held accountable for how they act on climate which is why we watch climate politics. And another thing that I learned is that folks who think that the environment is an important issue are some of the worst voters, right. So I mean one of the main things that we can do if we care about climate is vote.
I mean number one and not just vote but go to town halls as folks did with regards to the Affordable Care Act and say this is important to me. I mean I'm feeling these effects. If you live in Houston, Texas or you live in wherever, if you live, you know, parts of the country that are Miami which is literally spending hundreds of million of dollars to arm itself to raise itself out of the sea, which is rising around it. You have to let folks know that this is an important issue and hold them accountable.
Greg Dalton: Parin Shah.
Parin Shah: I was gonna say that I mean will it play a factor. I think it plays a factor if we start to look at it holistically. And Mike just said it, and there’s a daily occurrence in Miami is that waters come up out of the sewer, over --
Greg Dalton: Sunny day flooding.
Parin Shah: Right. And so I mean that isn't about a polar bear which is telegenic megafauna is great but humans are pretty telegenic too, right. And if we start to talk about this issue from the place of how it impacts each one of us individually, then it does become and we all can. Like it does become something that becomes a factor in the 2018 election as it needs to be, right. Because when we're looking at the impacts, you’re looking at the impacts of the hurricane the recent hurricane or, you know, even of Sandy or Katrina in the past. I mean folks are being displaced, it’s only gonna get worse, right. As we start to see through sealevel rise as we start to see these big storms coming through where we’re gonna start to have huge chunks of the population not just in the United States but around the world, the coastal communities all over the world that are gonna need to move from where they are. And we start to look at it, not just from the place of, oh, the natural system, but that we look at it from the system that is the human system maybe we can actually start to have the impact. Healthcare hits us because it’s our health. Climate hits us because it’s actually our livelihood as a species.
Greg Dalton: So Parin Shah, what can an individual do that will affect something so mega, mambo, mega-scale, right. Just even powerful people feel like they don't have enough power for something that’s so big. How can an average citizen listener do something meaningful other, you know, okay, yeah, your electric car, your Prius, no meat, vote. What can we do?
Parin Shah: It’s all of those things, right. I mean just do what your conscience says. I mean there is no I mean, sure, change your lightbulb, plant a tree, you know, if you can afford it, you know, get an electric vehicle. Now if your utility allows it purchase renewable energy and do those little things. This is not something that is as the years, here’s the magic, here’s the magic solution, you know, it is a series of small actions that are required by all of us a big piece of it. I personally think the biggest piece of it and this is my nonprofit at the side, is vote. And hold those individuals that do not stand for healthy communities and a healthy planet accountable. Vote them out of office.
Greg Dalton: Mike Mielke, other than voting, what can people do. I've heard people talk about roles you have as a parent, as a consumer, as an employee. What can people do as an employee to okay do all those things to move their company to do more?
Mike Mielke: Yeah, I think the first thing is talk about it. I mean one of the reasons I moved out from Washington DC almost a decade ago to come out here was because I was tired of not having anything get done in Washington DC on these and other important issues. I wanted to come to a place where you can get things done.
And so it's easier in many ways. The quality of conversation here in California because of this broad awareness and this broad public support for doing something about this year is higher than it is in lots of other places in the country, right. And so the first and most important thing is to speak about it is to make it real for people. Is to talk about for example, as you and I we’re in the green room just before Harvey and the fact that climate scientists now are increasingly saying that climate change is supercharging these kinds of storms, right. And what does that mean and tie things like droughts or other kinds of things and talk about that with your peers, and then come up with a plan of action. You know, look at what you're doing in terms of your operations at your company. What can you do better and what has the biggest bang for the buck in terms of greenhouse gas emissions if that's what you're shooting for.
Greg Dalton: We’re gonna go to your audience questions and invite you to join us at the microphone back there. One, one-part question or comments keep it brief. I'm here to help you if you need some help with that. And we have 18 minutes left and we’ll get through as many questions as we can. And welcome you to just briefly identify yourself, state your question and we’ll get to it. Let’s go to audience questions. Welcome to Climate One.
Male Participant: Thanks for the opportunity to take question. I’m a 33-year EPA employee so I’m having my fun right now. So California is really ag, oil and tech industry. And the tech industry is not in this because there are a lot of groundwater issues related to them. But those three groups coming together are responsible for a lot of the problems that we’re addressing. What’s the status of those three groups working as a unit to address some of the issues you brought up tonight?
Greg Dalton: Who’d like to tackle that? Mike, that seems to be your area of intersector cooperation.
Mike Mielke: Yeah, I mean I think those folks and others came together to support the bill package that we was just passed, right. I mean we have a Big Ten here in California we really good. I mean this really came to an effect back in 2010 when we had that ballot proposition, right which pitted Texas oil companies versus California.
And, you know, folks came together and we've got, you know, environmental justice environmental equity. We've got folks in labor. We got folks in health, loan associations and others we got a lot of business come together and working on this. And so I think it's easier to get things done here in California because you have a history, we have a history. I mean part of the narrative here I understand tonight is to sort of pit industry versus EJ against each other, but Parin and I have worked on many more things and have agreed on many more things than we disagreed on. And that's the virtue I think in the sense of being here in California.
Greg Dalton: Let’s go to our next question. Welcome to Climate One.
Male Participant: There is a new wind power device that is vertical rather than horizontal. It’s smaller, you can put 10 of them around one of the big ones and the mechanics for it are at ground level, which makes it cheaper to operate. The only place I can find anything about this is Duke Energy. Do you know any other place worth being developed?
David Baker: I’d have to take that offline but that format that style of wind turbine people have been using that small scale for about 10 years. It is not as cost-effective as the other forms but there are companies out there that do offer it to you. I can’t name them off the top of my head, but they’re there, yeah.
Greg Dalton: Let’s go to our next question. Welcome to Climate One.
Female Participant: Hi, thanks. I’m Lisa Diantwitz [ph] Citizens’ Climate Lobby. And my question is for Parin Shah. I understand that APEN supported SB-775 as an alternative to AB-298. And I’m curious to know your perspective on why the fight went the way it did and why, you know, AB-398 jumped in and sort of beat out SB-775 and how we can improve in the future and, you know, get these coalition endorsed bills passed.
Greg Dalton: A little bit of unpacking. There’s a lot of numbers in there that we didn’t follow. But the question was about some of the laws passed.
Parin Shah: Yeah. So there are really sort of three now four bills that were in play in this particular legislative session. And ultimately, the one that was signed was the one that was supported as Mr. Eduardo Garcia from the assembly his bill along with the governor's office. Those sort of the one that came in that came in and was signed. There's an alternative on the Senate side that was sponsored by Senator Wieckowski that really did take a look at really transforming the cap-and-trade system and having a little bit more certainty around it. I honestly think that it might've been a little bit too much too fast, right. So, you know, ag, oil and tech as the previous question was about our important players, the most important players the populist in the state of California, right. We are the voters we are the ones who can work with industry, we can work with our legislature and we can make our voices known, you know, in the media. And I don't think enough folks really were ready and knew about what could happen if that alternative bill were passed to get it to go. So it’s sort of my called action. Keep it up.
Greg Dalton: We’re talking about clean energy at Climate One. Yes, welcome.
Male Participant: Hi, my name is Steve Hams [ph] also from Citizens’ Climate Lobby. My question relates to the issue that was raised about why businesses don't make climate a priority in their lobbying efforts. And I wanted to mention that with the Climate Leadership Council that was brought up before that 11 major corporations became founding members endorsing that carbon dividends plan that they put out, including four oil companies. So my question I think to either Mike or David, do you feel that that is a watershed moment for companies speaking out on specific climate policy?
Mike Mielke: You haven’t spoken for awhile I mean I’m happy to talk to it, yeah.
Greg Dalton: David Baker.
David Baker: Sure, I’ll give you my take on it. I wouldn’t say a watershed moment. And I would hesitate on that simply because I think we've seen some up and down cycles in terms of industry's willingness to go to battle on climate issues. There is a big push probably would have been ’05 or ’06 somewhere in that ballpark by a number of major U.S. corporations, including PG&E here in town. Where they very much came out in public and started demanding some kind of action on this. That went on for a few years, faded out into the background.
Greg Dalton: That was Caterpillar, John Deere some real heartland companies say we got to solve this.
David Baker: So we’ve already gone through a couple of up and down cycles so I'm very hesitant to say that anything recently is a watershed.
Greg Dalton: Mike Mielke.
Mike Mielke: Yeah, I think I agree. It’s important, it’s a step forward and we’ve been taking lots of steps back at the national level so, I’ll put it that way.
Greg Dalton: Let’s go to our next question. Welcome.
Male Participant: My name is Rob Williams I'm with the original Environmental Tax Policy Institute. My question goes something like this. I would say the question is for Mike and Parin. Isn’t one of the principal things that people in the first world can do to fight climate change is simply not procreate?
Greg Dalton: Population is often the, yeah, the elephant in the room. Who’d like to tackle that?
Parin Shah: So the footprint one, you know, the procreation thing, you know, the parts associated with that quite, you know, I don’t know we’re gonna stop that.
Greg Dalton: We need some fun along the way.
Parin Shah: Got to have a little bit of fun. But, you know, the carbon footprint, right sort of the ecological impact of folks in the United States is pretty tremendous. And I don’t know if they are really sort of taking a look and saying, hey you should have children or you should not have children as maybe the right answer. But it’s really taking a look at the daily actions, you know, you can do the sort of reduce that particular footprint. You know the daily actions that you can take to sort of try to move the companies that you purchased your products from. You know, whether they be food or car or whatever, you know. Buying from those that have a smaller footprint that are using renewable energy, you know, that are supporting adjusted transition away from fossil fuels towards a renewable energy economy. That might be the sort of the better way to get at it for my opinion.
Greg Dalton: Let me follow up on that because the average carbon footprint of an American is 10 times what it is for an Indian for sure. So, you know, Western people living our lifestyle have a much bigger impact. And yet population growth a lot of it's happening in the emerging economies, you know, it stabilized in China, India's gonna surpassed China, you work with Asian communities, you know, are you saying that family planning is off the table, you’re not gonna go there in terms of addressing climate or it’s too difficult culturally insensitive?
Parin Shah: Well I think it’s a little bit blind to go there. I mean we should acknowledge the century of consumption that is existing on this continent and in Europe before we start, you know, sort of telling others whether they should have children or not have children. I mean that is antithetical to sort of free choice and to the for the EJ, you know, say antithetical to sort of an individual's, you know, right of self-determination.
And we got to take a look at our individual choices in this moment and not superimpose our wrongdoing as a society, our consumption over the last century and say oh because we did that you've got to kinda, you know, take it back a notch. And that's a form of colonialism.
Greg Dalton: And that's been at the heart of lot of the U.N. negotiations that those countries shouldn't pay for the sins of our grandfathers. Let’s go to our next question. Welcome.
Female Participant: Hi, my name is Karen Hoffman. I'm a professor of sociology at the University of Puerto Rico. My question is for Mike Mielke. You mentioned that you believe that cap-and-trade is the most effective way to get to where we need to be in terms of carbon reduction. And I’m supposing that you mean as opposed to the tax as opposed to regulation. And I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how and why you came to that belief that cap-and-trade is most effective.
Mike Mielke: Yeah, well, certainly you put two other alternatives forward. So one is direct regulation and that's where we differ with our friends in the environmental justice community, the EJ community. I think an important part of all of this is, A, maintaining public support and B, building public support. And let's face it, we've tackle a lot of low hanging fruit here in California and we made lots of great progress. But in the future as I noted, it's gonna get harder and harder and it’s gonna be incumbent upon us to figure out and have this conversation as a society. What's the best way to do this. In the least disruptive way as quickly as we need to do to make sure that we’re not bidding down a path in the future that we want none of our children no matter where we live to face.
And so compared to direct regulation it was no contest. Tax, I think the issues there are manifold I mean one of them with the bill that was mentioned previously that the alternative bill in the Senate was that it would institute a border adjustment tax and there's all sorts of that's a big bureaucracy there's all sorts of fraud legal questions with that. You know, how do you institute that here in California. How do you put that forward and that was a big concern of ours frankly. Another one was the market disruption. We’ve had this system up and running now for five years. It is widely recognized as the best in the world and that includes the EU, right. And so we didn’t want to put in jeopardy what we were already doing with something as Parin himself noted that was too much, too fast to insert.
Greg Dalton: Welcome to Climate One.
Male Participant: Thank you. My name is Gary Deeter [ph] and I have a general question about the comparability of the cost to generate electricity. You do read quite often and I think Parin even mentioned in some of his comments that the cost of renewable energy is comparable to fossil fuel energy. You do read that a lot, like I said. When you consider the intermittent nature of renewables, you know, how do you really make that comparable and is the cost really on par because it takes a little more maybe than just an intermittent generation source. I have solar panels on my house so I know it doesn't go work at night. Thank you.
Mike Mielke: Do you have storage at your house too?
Male Participant: No, I do not.
Mike Mielke: Okay.
Male Participant: But that cost that’s kind of --
Mike Mielke: No, I understand. So you’re saying don’t just focus on the renewables, focus also on either the energy efficiency. Because I mean it’s all part of the pie, right. So one is we wanna reduce the size of the pie, right to make it easier to get to more, you know, renewable energy and so that’s energy efficiency.
And that has a great payback and it’s sort of a no-brainer in terms of investment. Then there are other renewables that we’re talking about. When we refer to that, we’re talking about new generations. So yes, I think almost universally, no matter what country you look at right now, renewables are beating fossil fuels, right in terms of new power generation, new facilities. But storage is a big and important thing, right because we do have to figure out what to do when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing, right. And so it's a very real issue that we have going forward and it's part of the equation. I mean right now there's another bill in the legislature which we’re working with the author on SB-100 to get the state 100% renewable electricity. It’s a big issue and there are all sorts of things that are associated with that. But yes, it's all part of a much larger, much larger puzzle. So I think if you actually look at the energy efficiency piece of it and sort of the cost decreases there. I think you can still make that claim that's it's on par if look at it holistically.
Greg Dalton: Parin Shah.
Parin Shah: I’ll just add two things. One, a little over 100 years ago we gave and we continue to give from the federal government subsidies to fossil fuel companies. They’re on in the perpetuity we've not stop those giveaways, those subsidies for that industry to exist. One, first, in the beginning to sort of come up and mature but now they're just getting that. Every 10 years or so renewable industry has to go and sort of bag and borrow to try to get the tax credits.
Mike Mielke: That’s more often than that, unfortunately.
Parin Shah: Well right. So every 10 years we’re kind of like trying to piece this thing together, you know, while the fossil fuel industries sort of gotten us out of subsidies into perpetuity. Like that is impacting our ability to sort of advanced newer technology. We got to really get at that head on.
Greg Dalton: Thank you. Welcome to Climate One. Let’s have our next question.
Female Participant: Hi, my name is Julia Barbara and I’m a sustainability consultant at Quantis International. I was hoping to talk a little bit about the way that we talk about climate change because it’s incredibly inaccessible to most people. So I was wondering if you guys could share some of the best ways that you have heard that has made the climate challenge real because we do know that people care about their jobs, their family and their health. And there's plenty to unpack there in this issue. So I’d love to hear from all of you on what you would recommend and when do you think the industry that we’re in might transition to make this more accessible to others.
Greg Dalton: I'll take a first crack of that. There’s a fabulous book called, “Don't Even Think About It” by George Marshall, whose a British author. He cites some other research in there that says it needs to be PAIN, there’s an acronym PAIN things need to be personal they need to be abrupt, they need to be a moral and they need to be now. So if you think about climate, it’s not personal, it’s not abrupt, it’s slow moving. You can get to the morality issue that we've touched on here and it's not now. So things have to be personal abrupt, and moral, and now, you know, that can reach people, you know, one of the concerns is climate doesn't have a human face. Think about how much we react to one act of terrorism and a handful of deaths terrible and yet climate change looks what’s happening we don't have the same reaction. Who else would like to tackle that? David Baker.
David Baker: This is just sort of my personal opinion from watching this over the years. I've no idea what my paper’s position this would be, but I would say that the only thing that might work better than what has happened up until now is if someone were truly able to make it a crusade. The problem is there are whole number of reasons why it's difficult to get everybody on board with that particular crusade.
Obama was in many ways hamstrung in talking about this in public because he had a very coherent energy policy but every bit of it pissed off someone. And if he said it all at the same time he would lose some people. So he was very much in favor of renewable energy. He also liked having much more natural gas coming from fracking. He didn't even like to say the word fracking in public because he knew that a big chunk of his base hated it, but that was actually a key part of his policy. So how do you communicate it, how do you do a better job of getting people on board. I think it will take some kind of leadership role. I don't know if it's a government leader or somebody else to actually make it some kind of crusade that people feel they can personally buy into, but it is exceedingly difficult to do that.
Greg Dalton: Any other, there’s another thing also, which is more facts don't change people's minds, you know, the emotion so much of the climate conversation has been abstract it's big and it's small. What's a gigaton I don’t know what a kilowatt hour is. I’ve been doing energy for 10 years I can't tell you what a kilowatt hours or megawatt or it's really small parts per million, microns, 1.5, you know, particular matter. The numbers are so big they’re so small we can't get our head around them. If there are personal, emotional stories and stories more than facts, that's what I've learned reaches people after 10 years of talking to people about this. There’s some great podcasts in climateone.org that get into the whole psychology, linguistics, cognitive, or even brain science about processing threats and rewards and villainization versus coming together in empathy. Let’s go to our next question.
Male Participant: Hi, my name is Nore [ph] I have a question for Parin Shah. Would you trade California's current climate policy for a high carbon price like 50 or more, even dollars a ton, but give up all the regulations and give increase local air pollution standards and give some of the revenue to help EJ communities? (01:08:14)
Greg Dalton: You got a magic wand there for a damn bargain.
Parin Shah: No, I mean, like I said the regulations are broad and the rules have brought us where we need to go. And it's not necessarily regulating those that are innovating. I mean there are industries that are growing that are nascent. It's really getting down to the industries that have brought us that have brought this destruction upon our planet and our bodies and our society. I mean it’s about really targeting the stuff the folks that are bringing the pollution, the fossil fuel industry. I mean that is really clearly what we've got to be looking at trying to sort of transition out of.
Greg Dalton: Welcome to Climate One.
Male Participant: My name is Dave Luebkeman. I work with an organization called Plant With Purpose. And we work with rural farmers all around the world teaching them to plant trees to improve their environment. So it works overseas, it could work in California in terms of basically reforesting California. Are any of you guys involved in any event, or are you organization _____
Mike Mielke: I've certainly heard of organizations that are doing that. And I'm not certainly not an expert in this space but I worry when I think about how many trees we just lost because of the drought here in California as an example, right. And that means in a sense more greenhouse gas emissions, right because those trees sequester carbon dioxide. So I think it's a great idea in theory I worry about the practice. And again that’s not knowing enough about it.
Greg Dalton: Picking up on the communications question. There's another piece to this, which is we’re all culpable. And I think that our complicity in this makes it difficult for us to hold and to know what to do with it because unlike you could look at slavery and say I didn't own a slave or I wasn't part of that system or I wasn’t part of apartheid.
I could have posed apartheid. I didn't stop women from voting we’re all culpable in this fossil fuel economy. I think that causes some degree of conflict to guilt, et cetera. I’m gonna close with how you each of you wrestle with that and what gives you hope. So Mike Mielke, do you every feel guilty for your lifestyle?
Mike Mielke: I feel, yeah, I do. I wrestle with guilt and I feel currently fortunate and back when I was in Washington DC I did a lot of international development work. So I worked in places like Afghanistan, Thailand, Indonesia and Grenada after Hurricane Ivan doing relief work. And the main reason I want to do that, I’ve been always been focused on the environment, was to understand the concerns of others who are less fortunate than I am. So it's always at top my mind. Do I feel guilty for taking cross-country trips for example, I mean that's a huge part of my carbon footprint as it is for everyone who does travel. Yes, it's something that I wrestle with. What gives me hope? My son, I talked to him about a lot. He has ingrained it. He understands climate change, as well as I think any seven-year-old could. He's already starting to talk to his peers about this. And I think when, you know, it comes to the point with the PAIN acronym when our backs are against the wall we can get big things done. It’s gonna take getting to pain threshold though I think, unfortunately.
Greg Dalton: David Baker guilt and hope.
David Baker: I tend to think that guilt and particularly in situations like this is a bad route and a bad thing to let yourself fall into. I mean there are plenty of actions that all of us can take little tiny actions, day-to-day that can help take those take all the ones that you can incorporate it into your lives. But many of the things that need to get done will only get done at the societal level. So push for that vote for people who will push for that. Talk about it as we've been discussing here talk about with other people try to get people lined up. That I think is a much better thing than wallowing in guilt. And, you know, we're talking about how to communicate with people conveying a message that you should feel guilty about what you're doing, shame on you. That is very rarely a good way to get people to change their behavior at least. I think--
Greg Dalton: Not long-term, sure, yeah. Like to have short-term, but shame and blame doesn't work long-term.
David Baker: Exactly. In terms of hope, I have quite a lot of hope. I am quite worried, quite scared by all of this. But I have quite a lot of hope just because we have made an enormous amount of progress just in the last 10 years, and just in this state not even looking at the rest of the world. We've actually made a lot of progress here, in terms of getting solutions out there that are gonna help and more importantly, getting the prices of those solutions to drop. And that is really what's gonna make long-term change in things. We’re certainly not the only people here California is not doing this by itself. But we've done this, other places have done this know it is nowhere near enough, but there has been progress made. It is not a hopeless situation. So yeah, I do have a lot of hope.
Greg Dalton: Parin Shah, let me just twist this a little bit. You deal with people who have, are vulnerable don't have the resources to deal with this. Is there resentment toward people who have higher carbon footprints and privilege, and also what gives you hope?
Parin Shah: So is there resentment. No, you know, the members that we have at our organization live next to a refinery here in Richmond, California for 25 years they've been working on the solutions and there is not, I have not met a member _____ ocean immigrants have not met a member that, you know, certainly doesn’t get upset but always will be ready to sort of talk with others about the impact that fossil fuels have on their life and work with folks whether be legislature or somebody on the street, legislature or someone on the street to sort of look at what kind of solution we can find together.
So that is actually my hope story is that, you know, folks that have been so directly impact in the front lines of the stuff are still out there sort of advocating decades later saying we can find a solution together if we act collectively. And that collective power is powerful, I mean recently some of the, this is off-topic but some of the, you know, sort of white supremacist sort of activism that was going on and how quickly we were when we came together as a collective society and said hey, morally that doesn’t work. How quickly that guy quieted down, right. That’s our power, that’s our hope and that’s what I sort of look to going forward.
Greg Dalton: And it circles back to that human face. We have people don't get more motivated by white supremacist than they do a climate driven thing that doesn't have that human face. We are out of time. I’d like to thank the Climate One crew in the room here. Let’s give them a round of applause for the work they’ve done --
-- and Patrick and Kelli and Jane Ann and I’m gonna mess this up, Will and Bryan and John. We’ve been talking about states and companies pushing toward a cleaner economy. Our guests were David Baker from the San Francisco Chronicle, Mike Mielke with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, an association of tech companies, and Parin Shah from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. Podcast of this and other Climate One shows recorded with a live audience, are available wherever you podcast. When you download one or visit our Facebook page, please leave a comment and give us a rating. We wanna know what you think of our conversations on electric cars, clean energy, water, technology, and more. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you next time everybody.
Words by Jason Shaw