Bay Area Council Blog: Energy and Climate Change Archive


Improving Business Climate Tops Council’s 2012 Priorities

Revving up the Bay Area and state economies will lead the Bay Area Council’s top priorities for 2012, with specific focus on reforming the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), creating a healthcare system that places a premium on controlling costs, and winning substantive reforms to our unsustainable public pension system. Those priorities are among five in which the Council will invest considerable time, energy and resources during the coming year. The Council will also focus on modernizing Caltrain, the outdated commuter rail service in the heart of the region’s biggest economic and jobs engine. In addition, the Council will expand its successful initiative to grow trade with China.

The priorities were finalized last week by the Council’s Executive Committee under the leadership of new Council Chair Janet Lamkin, who oversaw a comprehensive review of the Council’s priorities over the past several months. In establishing the priorities, the Executive Committee relied on staff research and analysis of various issues, member surveys, and a series of individual and group meetings.

Reforming CEQA. Despite some sector-specific dynamism, new research by the Council’s Economic Institute shows that the Bay Area economy essentially has been stuck in neutral for the past two decades.  Business leaders overwhelmingly point to burdensome regulations, including CEQA, workers’ compensation laws, and other red tape, as a main source of the problem.  The Council will produce empirical research to support what we know anecdotally.  We will build and lead a coalition of business groups and others in a major five-year effort to reduce the business regulations that have been stifling the Bay Area and California.  A key focus will be on stopping the continuing expansion of the California Environmental Quality Act and returning CEQA to its original scope and intent. To join us in reforming CEQA, please contact Policy Vice President Matt Regan at (415) 946-8710 or

Controlling Healthcare Costs. The healthcare cost-escalation crisis continues, harming businesses and consumers alike and jeopardizing our global competitiveness.  The Affordable Care Act created a framework that can be used to ratchet down rising health care spending, via state-based implementation. The Bay Area Council will continue to lead the business community and other allies behind a strategic vision of an affordable, high-quality health care system for California.  We will implement that vision through legislation to be enacted in 2012 and 2013 that will prioritize market-based solutions and technological innovations for reducing healthcare costs and improving patient health outcomes. To join us in controlling healthcare costs, please contact Senior Policy Advisor Micah Weinberg at

Reforming the Pension System. California’s unfunded pension and liabilities are estimated at $265 – $737 billion.  Add to that unfunded healthcare and pension liabilities at the county, city and special district level, and the numbers soar past the imagination.  In the short term and, especially in the long term, these liabilities mean much less money for services, education and infrastructure.  The Council will work with Governor Jerry Brown and proponents of a potential 2012 ballot measure to ensure that California reforms and manages public pensions in a fiscally stable manner. To join us in reforming pensions, please contact Policy Vice President Matt Regan at (415) 946-8710 or

Modernizing Caltrain. Surveys of business leaders and residents alike consistently cite traffic as the Bay Area’s top problem.  Congestion on Highway 101 between San Jose and San Francisco – our country’s most economically productive corridor – has particularly escalated.  Modernizing Caltrain would substantially increase its ridership and take thousands of cars a day off of Highway 101. Unfortunately, the modernization project has partial but incomplete funding.  The Council will lead an effort to build public and political support  to secure final funding and clear other hurdles, allowing the project to be completed, thereby reducing some of our region’s worst traffic. To join us in modernizing Caltrain, please contact Policy Vice President Michael Cunningham at (415) 946-8706 or

Expanding China Trade. Global trade is among the biggest drivers of Bay Area economic activity. Through our existing relationship with the Shanghai Yangpu District and a new large-scale “Technology Park” opportunity in Shanghai, we will continue to expand the presence and clout of Bay Area businesses in China with a physical landing pad, and attract more Chinese companies and investments to our region. To join us in increasing trade with China, please contact Director of Global Initiatives Bing Wei at (415) 946-8270 or

In addition to these strategic priorities, the Council will continue to collaborate with other partners in supporting a range of key issues, including cybersecurity legislation, high speed rail, science and technology education, water and energy efficiency, and protecting the Hetch Hetchy water system, among others.



Chalk this up as one business attraction policy the state got right.  According to a report released by the Brookings Institution, in partnership with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area now supports 70,679 clean tech jobs (51,811 in San Francisco and 18,686 in San Jose).  In San Jose, the largest segment is wind energy with 3,000 jobs, and the fastest growing segments were Fuel Cells, where employment grew 24.7 percent in the past seven years, and Wind Energy, where employment grew 17 percent.  In the San Francisco-Oakland area, the largest employment is Professional Energy Services with 7,532 jobs.

Likely due to the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, and various tax credits and incentives, the Bay Area now leads the nation in clean tech jobs, with eleven percent of all US clean tech jobs located in the region.  Between 2003 and 2010, clean tech jobs grew by an average annual rate of 5.4 percent in San Francisco and 12.6 percent in San Jose, far outpacing the 4.2% pace of job creation for jobs nationally.

These jobs help with a challenged part of our workforce.  More than two-thirds are middle wage “green collar” jobs that offer better pay for low and middle-skilled works than jobs in the economy as a whole. A high percentage – 26 percent – are in manufacturing, well above the 9% figure for all jobs nationally.

Our region now exports more than $1 billion in clean tech exports, including building control systems and electric vehicles.  Read the report here.

Press Release: Business Council on Climate Change and Bay Area Council Release Electric Vehicle Guide for Businesses

Today, the Business Council on Climate Change (BC3) and Bay Area Council jointly announced and released the new guide, Electrify Your Business: A Guide for Moving Forward With Electric Vehicles, which aims to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles and infrastructure in the Bay Area by providing businesses with easy-to-follow steps to become “EV ready.”  Specifically, the guide helps enable local corporations, retailers, or any company with a car spot to install an electric vehicle charging station.

“This is the first report to specifically address the value of electric vehicles for businesses,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “It is a great tool for forward-thinking companies, and will help position our region as the world leader for EV infrastructure and deployment.”

The guide was developed and led by a team of BC3 members and executives from SF Environment, PG&E, and other leading Bay Area companies.

“This comprehensive guide provides information on the business case for electric vehicle programs and charging stations, financing, incentives, infrastructure and energy,” said Mike Calise, CEO of EVadvise and lead author of the guide. “It includes a practical check-list to help businesses take action, rapidly achieve results and reap tangible benefits.”

“Our studies indicate that the Bay Area will lead the nation in early electric vehicle purchasers and drivers,” said Dev Crews, of Luminesa and Mobility Revolution. “It is our aim to inspire and enable the businesses seeking to reach these forward-thinkers. Installing an EV charger station is a highly visible way to demonstrate your sustainability commitment.”

“Electric vehicles represent the innovation and ecological responsibility our community is known for, and we applaud the leadership demonstrated here today,” said Melanie Nutter, Director of SF Environment. “The city of San Francisco is committed to ensuring that our residents, visitors and businesses will have the infrastructure in place to recharge their cars, as we become a model demonstrating a new vision for the future of clean transportation.”

Electrify Your Business is available as a free download at

PDF Press Release


Global Green Cities Conference Streaming Live

Starting tonight, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute will hold Global Green Cities of the 21st Century: Evolving Models for Sustainable Urban Design, a symposium on green urban design.  With the goal of fostering sustainable urban development and design, the landmark symposium will shed light on the development of green cities and bring together thought-leaders on this topic from all over the world. Conference speakers include The Hon. Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California, The Hon. Young-gil Song, Mayor of Incheon, Isabel Dedring, Environmental Advisor, Mayor’s Office of London and Wim Elfrink, Executive Vice President and Chief Globalisation Officer, Cisco.

You can hear about the conference on this morning’s KQED Forum here and watch the conference streaming live tonight and tomorrow at


Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund Awards Economic Institute $15,000

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute is pleased to announce its second year of partnership with the Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund in support of work through its initiative, Climate Bay Area.  The Fund awarded $15,000 for Climate Bay Area to continue strengthening the strategic focus, alignment and effectiveness of the Bay Area’s numerous programs, policies and initiatives working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Bay Area was formed in July of 2009 by the Joint Policy Committee (JPC),[1] and has its goals to:

  • support synergy of the climate policies of the four regional planning agencies with regional local government, private, other non-governmental initiatives;
  • bring critically needed scale, leverage and capacity to programs and approaches with potentially high impact; and
  • foster collaboration, develop new partnerships, and present a stronger, more cohesive voice on climate- and energy-related issues to decision-makers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

“This is an initiative of which we’re proud,” said Sean Randolph, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “Climate Bay Area brings a regional vision and unifying leadership to the work of meeting climate change policy targets through entrepreneurial programs. We are helping drive discussions with the Bay Area’s most influential climate change leaders and laying the requisite groundwork and facilitating change by creating approaches and tools that work. We’re delighted to have the Goldman Fund supporting us again this year.”

For additional information on the Climate Bay Area project, please contact Sean Randolph.

To support the climate change work of the Council, contact Chandra Alexandre.

[1] The JPC is a formal body for addressing shared policy priorities of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC).


Press Release: Symposium on Global Green Cities of the 21st Century to Be Held in San Francisco

Organizers and sponsors of the Global Green Cities of the 21st Century: Evolving Models for Sustainable Urban Design today announced that the symposium will take place February 23-25, 2011 at the San Francisco JW Marriott. With the goal of fostering sustainable urban development and design, the landmark symposium will shed light on the development of green cities. Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California, will deliver the opening remarks on Feb. 23.

The symposium will feature a high-level exchange of ideas and information among elected officials, planners, researchers, technologists, business executives and other leaders recognized worldwide.

“We’re extremely excited to have such an esteemed gathering of global experts on sustainable urban growth convene in San Francisco,” said Sean Randolph, President of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “Their experience of planning and living in some of the world’s most innovative cities is invaluable, and we hope that the exchange with U.S. and Bay Area leaders will help advance the state of the art.”

Focal points of the symposium include urban design, the relationship between policy and citizen behavior, and the applications of technology. The symposium will showcase technology and policy advances specific to California.

Global collaboration will be achieved through both on-site participation and the use of Cisco TelePresence, a state-of-the-art meeting solution enabling an “in-person” virtual presence.  The Virtual Meetings by Marriott studios will also connect participants worldwide, using the AT&T Business Exchange, AT&T’s unique network-based, inter- and intracompany collaboration program.

“Cisco is proud to support Global Green Cities of the 21st Century,” said Wim Elfrink, chief globalisation officer and executive vice president of Cisco Services. “Cisco TelePresence is the perfect solution to connect worldwide contributors to this symposium and to facilitate conversations that will bring positive change to the sustainable-urban-design sector. This will also allow our meeting participants to experience how innovation and technology can advance economic, social and environmental sustainability.”

Jim Herlihy, managing director of Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, echoed Elfrink’s sentiments: “We’re honored to contribute to such a truly important event. The discussions promoted by this symposium will no doubt benefit the growth and evolution of green cities worldwide.”

Global Green Cities of the 21st Century is organized by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute in partnership with the Alfred Herrhausen Society, Cisco and Deutsche Bank, with program advice provided by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics.

Confirmed participants include:

  • The Hon. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Karnataka State and Bangalore Urban District (India)
  • The Hon. Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco
  • The Hon. Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of Paris
  • The Hon. Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary
  • The Hon. Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California
  • The Hon. Chuck Reed, mayor of San Jose
  • The Hon. Young-gil Song, mayor of Incheon, Metropolitan City (South Korea)
  • Chye Teng Khoo, executive director, Centre for Liveable Cities, and chief executive, Singapore Public Utilities Board (Singapore)
  • Chris Andrews, lead project manager, Infrastructure Conceptual Design, Autodesk
  • Murat Armbruster, senior adviser, Carbon War Room
  • Scott Barnette, vice president for corporate business development, North America, Hitachi
  • David Baum, vice president, North American Strategic Sustainability Initiatives, Philips Lighting
  • Sven Armin Beiker, executive director, Center for Automotive Research, Stanford University
  • Stewart Brand, founder, Whole Earth Catalog, and co-founder, Global Business Network
  • Peter Calthorpe, principal, Calthorpe Associates
  • Ranbir Saran Das, managing director, Fairwood Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (India)
  • Isabel Dedring, environmental adviser, Mayor’s Office of London (United Kingdom)
  • Wim Elfrink, executive vice president and chief globalisation officer, Cisco
  • Stefan Denig, head, sustainable cities program, Siemens (Germany)
  • Nicky Gavron, Londonwide Assembly member, and chair, Planning & Housing Authority, Greater London Authority (United Kingdom)
  • Jeffrey Heller, president, Heller Manus Architects
  • David Helliwell, co-founder and CEO, Pulse Energy (Canada)
  • Uli Hellweg, chief executive, IBA Hamburg GmbH (Germany)
  • Steve Heminger, executive director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • Jim Herlihy, managing director, Deutsche Bank
  • Bjarke Ingels, president, BIG Architects (Denmark)
  • Warren Karlenzig, president, Common Current
  • Bruce Katz, director, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
  • John Kriken, consulting partner, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, LLP
  • Kent Larson, director, Smart Cities/Changing Places research group, MIT
  • Yvon Le Roux, vice president, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco
  • Steve Lewis, CEO, Living PlanIT
  • Greg Lindsay, contributing editor, Fast Company
  • Chris Luebkeman, principal, foresight+innovation, Arup
  • Anil Menon, president, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco
  • Tom Murcott, executive vice president, Gale International
  • David Nieh, general manager, planning, Shui On Land (China)
  • Wolfgang Nowak, director, Alfred Herrhausen Society
  • Henk Ovink, director of national spatial planning, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment of the Netherlands
  • Sean Randolph, president & CEO, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
  • Ezra Rapport, executive director, Association of Bay Area Governments
  • Philipp Rode, executive director, LSE Cities at the London School of Economics
  • Arthur Rosenfeld, distinguished scientist emeritus, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Michel St. Pierre, director, planning & urban design, Gensler
  • Shankar Sastry, dean, college of engineering, UC Berkeley
  • Helle Lis Soholt, partner & managing director, Gehl Architects (Denmark)
  • Kevin Surace, CEO, Serious Materials
  • James Sweeney, director, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University
  • Will Travis, executive director, San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission
  • Conrad Wagner, senior lecturer in Mobility Studies, Lucerne University (Lucerne)
  • Tom Wright, executive director, Regional Plan Association
  • Siegfried Zhiqiang Wu, professor, College of Architecture & Urban Planning, Tongji University (China)
  • Anupam Yog, founder and director, Mirabilis Advisory
  • Dimitri Zenghelis, senior economic adviser, Cisco, and visiting fellow, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics (London)
  • Konrad Otto Zimmermann, chair, World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Urbanization and secretary general, ICLEI

A webcast of the symposium will be streamed at the following Web address:

For more information on Global Green Cities of the 21st Century, please visit the event website,, or contact Nicholas Gaffney, Infinite Public Relations, 415-732-7801,

PDF Press Release


San Francisco Chronicle: California poised to enter carbon-trading market

Today could be seen as the biggest day yet for California’s climate change law, assuming, as expected, the state Air Resources Board signs off on the rules to implement it.

It will also be a big day for Aaron Singer, CEO of San Francisco startup Pacific Carbon Exchange, which is engaging in an enterprise thought dead in the water not so long ago: carbon trading.

“It’s the official starting gun for California and for Western regional carbon markets,” Singer said. “It means we get to make this business a growing reality.”

Central to the law, which goes into effect in 2012, is a “cap and trade” system designed to limit the amount of carbon from the state’s 500 largest emitters – mostly power plants, energy companies and heavy industry.

Companies emitting less than their state-mandated limit can trade their unused allowance – also known as carbon credits, or offsets – with companies that may be seeking to emit more than their mandated share.

“This is a significant milestone,” said Josh Margolis, CEO of Cantor CO2e, a San Francisco offshoot of New York’s Cantor Fitzgerald, referring to the board’s expected action. “In the trading world, it’s been a decadelong anticipation.”

With the Bay Area Council serving as the firm’s incubator, Singer has been working on its trading infrastructure for the past two years and is in the process of obtaining the certifications and accreditations from the U.S. Commodity and Futures Exchange Commission.

In the meantime, PCarbX, as it is known, plans to begin some futures and options trading next year, pending a full rollout when the bell officially rings in January 2012.

Read the story…


Sacramento Business Journal: California’s clean-tech industry faces increasing competition

Should California fail to produce clean-tech companies that aggressively compete in domestic and global markets, other nations that are adopting policies and providing financial support for the clean-tech sector will fill the void, costing California jobs and economic growth, according to a Bay Area Council Economic Institute report released Tuesday.

California’s success as a leader in energy and climate policy and cutting-edge clean-energy technology development needs to be seen in a global context, according to the report.

According to the institute, a public-private partnership of business, labor, government and higher education, California attracted more than $1 billion in clean-tech investment in the second quarter, accounting for 70 percent of U.S. clean-tech investment and 50 percent of global investment in the sector.

But the bar is being set by Germany, a global leader in solar and wind, and China, which has emerged as a major global producer of solar, wind, battery and other clean-tech products.

China is now the word’s leading supplier of solar panels, accounting for 30 percent of world production, and is tied with the United States for installed renewable energy capacity but is growing its capacity three times faster.

Read the story…



California continues to hold an edge over China and other countries as the world’s innovation leader for clean energy technology, but will fall behind if state leaders falter in their pursuit of forward-looking energy and climate policies, according to a report released today by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

According to the analysis conducted by the Institute, a public-private partnership of business, labor, government, and higher education, California has attracted 70 percent of U.S. investment in clean tech and 50 percent of global investment. In the second quarter of 2010 alone, clean tech investment totaled $1 billion. The state, says the study, also leads the nation in clean tech jobs.

But China, as well as Germany and an array of other countries, are poised to overtake California if the state retreats on implementation of its pioneering clean energy and clean air standard, AB 32, low carbon fuel standards, and its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS).

Other countries lead the U.S. and California in the production and sale of renewable energy equipment, and China is investing heavily in clean tech deployment. California’s challenge is to both sustain and grow its edge in venture investment and technology innovation, and capture the downstream jobs that result.

“With a strong strategy of our own to deploy clean energy, we can remain competitive with countries like China and Germany,” says R. Sean Randolph, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and author of the report. “If we fail, the state’s leadership and thousands of current and future jobs are at risk.”

According to the analysis, the reason for California’s strong position is its long-term policy direction, tremendous technology research and development capacity, and the ability to create and sustain new businesses.

“California has an entrepreneurial culture; we are better than anyone else at taking an innovative idea and turning it into a profit: from research to development to deployment,” says Randolph. “Our state has a long history of global leadership in emerging sectors, attracting venture capital investment, growing the number of new businesses, creating jobs and maintaining the state’s strong economic standing. California has the highest proportion of clean tech jobs of any U.S. state; we need to continue that momentum with aggressive policies that nurture this fast-growing industry.”

“California has become the international leader in creating clean tech jobs and businesses, but that leadership is currently being threatened by China and even Germany,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  “As this study points out, to ensure that California remains at the forefront of this sector, we must continue to encourage the growth of the clean tech industry or we run the risk of other countries taking the lead in the marketplace.”

PDF Press Release
Download the Report



On Monday, Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman joined other members of the California Climate Adaptation Task Force, including task force co-chair and former EPA administrator William Reilly, to release recommendations on how the state can plan ahead for the effects of climate change. The report, “Preparing for Unavoidable Effects of Climate Change: A Strategy for California,” reviews and analyzes evidence of sea level rise and recommends that the state should create incentives to encourage preventive action by individuals, businesses and organizations and make investments to protect critical resources and infrastructure. The group was convened in 2009 by the Pacific Council on International Policy, a Los Angeles-based nonpartisan policy organization, and was later appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as an advisory panel to the state.