Bay Area Council Blog: Energy and Climate Change Archive

White House Adviser Nancy Sutley Visits Bay Area Council

By Andrew Michael

Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and principal environmental policy adviser to the President, stopped by our offices this week for an engaging discussion with Bay Area Council members. Sutley tackled many issues important to the Bay Area, including the challenges of sea level rise and climate change in the Delta region.  Sutley also pointed to the increased level of engagement by the federal government in addressing the decline of the Bay-Delta, namely the creation of a Federal Leadership Committee on the Bay-Delta co-chaired by her and Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

Sutley also discussed the new efforts the federal government is working on with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to implement new standards for trucks. Additionally, she mentioned that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon be releasing a report that will provide scientific monitoring tools to local and state governments to help adapt to climate change. We look forward to working closely with Nancy Sutley and the Obama administration on these, and many other issues in the coming months, to improve the quality of life in the Bay Area.


Bay Area Council to Hold Forum on AB 32

The Bay Area Council is conducting a forum on AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, tomorrow, Thursday, July 22.  Supporters and opponents of AB 32 will present their arguments, and Proposition 23, the ballot measure to repeal AB 32, will be discussed at length.  Leaders from business, academia, environmental groups and politics will be voicing their opinions on AB 32.

“With Proposition 23 on the ballot this November, the stakes are high for California,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “This forum will be a lively discussion about AB 32’s impact on the economy, jobs and climate change.”

WHO: Jim Wunderman, President & CEO, Bay Area Council

Professor W. Michael Haneman
, Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Agricultural &   Resource
Economics, University of California at Berkeley

Aaron Singer, Managing General Partner, Pacific Carbon Exchange

Dave Fogarty, Yes on Proposition 23 campaign

Donald Simon, Attorney, Green Business Practice, Wendell Rosen Black & Dean, LLP

WHAT: Forum discussing AB 32 and Proposition 23, with supporters and opponents presenting arguments.

WHERE: Wendel Rosen Black & Dean, LLP
1111 Broadway
19th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
(Office is located near 12th Street/Oakland City Center BART station)

WHEN: 4pm – 6pm
Thursday, July 22, 2010

If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Blythe Goodell at All media planning to attend should RSVP to, (415) 946-8725.


Bay Area Council Solidifies Support of AB 32

By Jim Wunderman

Today, the Bay Area Council announced that its Executive Committee voted to continue the business organization’s support of Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), the Global Warming Solutions Act. AB 32 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006. The Executive Committee of the Bay Area Council took action to solidify their support in response to a possible initiative on the November 2010 ballot postponing implementation of AB 32.

The Bay Area Council’s Executive Committee also agreed with the positions laid out by Governor Schwarzenegger in a March 24, 2010 letter to the California Air Resources Board, which clarified how AB 32 can be implemented in a way that would allow California businesses to remain competitive.

“The notion of repealing AB 32 presents a false choice to the people of California,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “We don’t have to choose between a strong economy and combating climate change. These two critically important goals can mutually reinforce each other. In fact, postponing AB 32 would send a signal to the world that California is hot and cold on climate change – a view that will crimp investment in our future economy.”

In 2006, the Bay Area Council was the first business group in California to support AB 32 and successfully negotiated language that made the bill business friendly. The Bay Area Council recognized then the threat of climate change to the economy and quality of life, and also saw an opportunity for California to become a global leader in clean technology and related fields.

“The threats that existed in 2006, when AB 32 was first adopted, still exist today,” said Wunderman. “But so do the opportunities.”

According to Governor Schwarzenegger’s letter to the Air Resources Board, California has already seen a positive economic impact due to AB 32. Indeed, between 2006 and 2008, 10,000 new green businesses were created, producing more than 125,000 jobs – more than any other state in the country.


San Francisco Foundation Awards $50K Grant for Climate Bay Area

By Chandra Alexandre

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) and the regional Joint Policy Committee (JPC) are pleased to announce their partnership with the San Francisco Foundation, which has awarded a $50,000 grant to support Climate Bay Area (CBA), the new regional climate organization run by BACEI and the JPC. The grant will enable Climate Bay Area to develop an innovative strategic initiative on climate protection, bringing together high-level Bay Area leaders from diverse interest groups. The grant will also help CBA recruit major businesses to partner with government and non-profit organizations on specific regional climate projects.

Why Climate Bay Area?

Hundreds of Bay Area businesses, government agencies and non-profits are now actively engaged in climate protection and adaptation work. These organizations are developing programs and advocating for action, but for the most part are not connected to each other and therefore lack both scale and impact. The next major step—the implementation of strategies that will significantly reduce emissions and prepare our cities for climate impacts—is yet to come and will require engagement from many directions, including business. To facilitate progress toward meeting AB 32 targets, in a manner that is consistent with both climate and economic goals, Climate Bay Area (CBA) will serve as a resource for the region, bringing together public, private and non-profit stakeholders to address relevant issues. By providing critical support and networking, CBA will help the Bay Area climate movement to move forward at the speed and scale required, and help make the Bay Area a state and national model for climate change management..


Climate Bay Area was formed in July, 2009, by the Joint Policy Committee—the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Association of Bay Area Governments, and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. The JPC consists of five elected officials from each of the four regional agencies. The Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) is the JPC’s partner in developing and managing Climate Bay Area. The Institute’s Board of Trustees is composed of business leaders appointed by the Bay Area Council, elected officials appointed by ABAG, the executive directors of the four JPC agencies, and leaders from universities and labor.

Climate Bay Area is led by a co-chair from each organization—the JPC’s Climate Consultant, Bruce Riordan and BACEI’s President, Sean Randolph. Both organizations will contribute resources to support CBA with the JPC Climate Consultant leading day-to-day operations. The Climate Bay Area Working Group, staff-level experts representing all sectors, will play a key role through in-person and web meetings.


For more information, please contact Sean Randolph, President of the Economic Institute, at 415-946-8722 or email


Governor Signs Green Tech Jobs Bill

By Jim Wunderman

Today Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 71 (Padilla, D-Pacoima) into law, creating a sales tax exemption for the purchase of green tech manufacturing equipment in California.

In order to compete in the world economy, and to stay true to our goal to be the most innovative place in the world, we must continue to pass legislation like this, which in addition to creating jobs, spurs investment in green tech.

This bill was part of the Governor’s larger job creation package – we congratulate the Governor and the Legislature for their hard work and success on this bill.


After Copenhagen: Climate Action Goes Local

After Copenhagen: Climate Action Goes Local
Developing economies are some of the world leaders in clean technology

By Sean Randolph, President, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
Published on YaleGlobal

The failure in Copenhagen to agree on either fixed targets for greenhouse gas emissions or a rigorous system for monitoring was a setback in the global warming battle. Controversy over the extent of human responsibility didn’t help, but resistance by large emerging economies was the stumbling block. But this shouldn’t deter communities and businesses from pressing on with the actions needed to reduce CO2 emissions.

The fact is, progress is being made in both industrial and emerging economies including China and India. Businesses are embracing new technologies and practices. And sub-national governments are increasingly stepping up to the plate with or without national government support. Global negotiations will remain important, but for the near term at least, the real action will shift to the national and sub-national levels. That’s not such a bad thing, since this is where technologies actually get adopted and where behavioral changes occur.

Read More


Scaling Up: From Green Buildings to Green Cities in the US and China | May 1, 2009

By Kristen Durham

Amidst a worldwide recession, efficient use of resources becomes even more critical to the bottom line of business. For the Bay Area in particular, such an environment provides opportunities for companies both looking to reduce their energy demand and technology firms that can supply the tools necessary to achieve resource savings.

As a follow up to the US|China Green Tech Summit in Shanghai last November and ongoing activities in the technology and environment space, the Bay Area Council is excited to convene another high-level conference at the intersection of green business and policy. Working in partnership with the Asia Society of Northern California, the Council will be hosting “Scaling Up: From Green Buildings to Green Cities in the US and China” on Friday, May 1, 2009, at the PG&E Auditorium in San Francisco.

Buildings consume well over 30 percent of all primary energy in the world—more than either transportation or industry. By building green, we can increase overall operating efficiency in our buildings and reduce energy consumption in the built environment by 30-50 percent. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in a recent work report at the ongoing annual National People’s Congress that China’s energy consumption per 1,000 yuan (147 USD) of GDP has dropped by 10.8 percent in the past three years—still leaving the country far short of its 20 percent reduction goal for 2010. The Bay Area is uniquely positioned to help China achieve these goals through knowledge and tech transfer, and the Bay Area Council is working to enable such a flow.

This one-day conference looks at the challenges and opportunities of reducing the carbon footprint of our cities while increasing global prosperity. Today, the greatest challenge for green design is to scale up — to move beyond pilot projects and piecemeal solutions to building and retrofitting on a massive scale in order to have a meaningful impact on global warming. Green materials must be mass produced, construction techniques must be standardized, and the principles of green design must inform urban planning, not simply the design of individual buildings. These are the critical issues this conference will address.

Invited speakers include (partial list): Vincent Lo, Chairman & CEO, Shui On Group; Jiang Yi, Professor of Building Science, Tsinghua University; Peter Darbee, Chairman, CEO, and President, PG&E; Jeff Heller, President, Heller-Manus; Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs; Dian Grueneich, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission; Mark Levine, Group Leader, China Energy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; John Kriken, Consulting Partner, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP; Stanley Yip, Director of Planning & Development, Arup China; Sabeer Bhatia, Founder, Hotmail; planner and developer, Nanocity (India).

Click here to register.

wind power

GreenBiz Index Released

By Andrew Michael

At the State of Green Business 2009 meeting the GreenBiz Index was released to provide indicators in different fields as to whether we are Swimming (moving forward), Treading (moving in place) or Sinking (declining).

Brights spots show progress on Clean Technology investments, Clean-Energy patents, Green jobs where there was measured growth despite the economic downturn, climbing recycle rates for paper as well as improved water efficiency as the population grows. However, as the short YouTube piece describes e-waste is still getting buried under growing mountains of waste. This is all happening despite E-PEAT, an electronic waste system being implemented in 2004 through ISEEE standards. Valuable minerals embedded in computers are simply be placed back in dumps that are practically un-mineable.

Meanwhile indicators from both fleets and green office space show that those realms are just treading water without outward improvements.


BASIC Board of Director Steven Chu Selected as U.S. Secretary of Energy


The scientific community has expressed impressive and enthusiastic support for the appointment of a highly-qualified and dedicated scientist from the Bay Area to lead the country’s response to the energy and climate change challenges. President-Elect Obama selected Steve Chu, Nobel prize winning physicist, Director of the region’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Board Director of the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC) for the key position of U.S. Secretary of Energy.

President-Elect Obama has targeted alternative energy and climate change as priority areas for his administration – areas in which Dr. Chu is recognized as a global leader.

Under Dr. Chu’s guidance, the Berkeley Lab and the Bay Area became notable as the center of research into biofuels and solar energy. Dr. Chu was a major contributor to the 2007 BASIC science futures report, “Innovative Energy Solutions from the San Francisco Bay Area: Fueling a Clean Energy Future.” In his letter within the report, Dr. Chu stated, “…among America’s most serious concerns are national security (intimately tied to our energy security), long-term economic competitiveness and the dangers of global warming. I believe that energy is at the center of all these concerns, and thus is the single most important problem that science and technology must solve in the coming decades…”

BASIC, an action-oriented collaboration of the region’s major research universities, national research laboratories, independent research institutions and research and development-driven businesses, is dedicated to advancing the Bay Area’s science, technology and innovation leadership.

BASIC is a program of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute within the Bay Area Council’s Foundation.


Bay Area Business Leadership Shaping Climate Change Agenda

By Andrew Michael

Climate Change initiatives at the global level and our emerging regional partnership should be informed by Bay Area Council members. Therefore, the Bay Area Council membership should know that the Governors’ Global Climate Summit, November 18 – 19, 2008, at the Beverly Hills Hilton, will prepare for a meeting in December in Poland and a final meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 to create a framework for a New Global Climate Change Agreement. Bay Area Council Energy Committee Chair and Senior Vice President for PG&E, Nancy McFadden will speak on the first panel on collaborating on greenhouse gas reporting efforts. The event is by invitation only and a webcast will be made available to members. Click here for more information on this summit.

Secondly, on December 1, 2008, 9:30 – 11:30 AM in Sacramento, Bay Area Council members are invited to provide input on a tool kit being developed by the California Air Resources Board to assist businesses voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Though it is posed as a workshop for small businesses, many of the issues are relevant to businesses based in the Bay Area. Let me know if you’d like to join me in Sacramento at Click here for more information on this workshop.