Washington Governor Jay Inslee and banker, philanthropist and climate advocate Tom Steyer spoke today at the Climate Solutions 5th annual breakfast issuing a clarion call for the West Coast to lead in addressing global warming.
Before a crowd of 900+ both Gov. Inslee and Steyer highlighted clean energy success on the West Coast while stressing the urgent need for the region to lead in capping carbon emissions and growing jobs through both private and public investment at local, state, regional and national levels.
“What are we on the West Coast going to do about the bigger picture of climate change?” Steyer asked during his keynote address. “I think the solution is pretty straightforward: the West Coast needs to lead. And we will do so by exploiting every opportunity in the proposition process, the electoral process and the legislative process. It's a big task.”
Remarks from Steyer paralleled earlier comments from Governor Jay Inslee. "The West Coast of the United States does not have to wait for the District of Columbia to move forward on strong climate policy,” the Governor stated. “I believe we are a laboratory of innovation and I believe we have the power to set a deadline for reducing our CO2 admissions, and to lead the world as we have done in so many ways."
In his keynote address, Steyer called for open a national, political dialogue on climate and clean energy with an emphasis on holding decision-makers accountable. He praised the work of Climate Solutions in building the conversation throughout the Northwest. “Climate Solutions is an amazing organization and their programs need to be replicated around the country. I really respect their work; from the Business Leaders for Climate Solutions, to their work in New Energy Cities, to leveraging leadership in the legislatures of Oregon and Washington. All of this while leading the incredibly important fight to block coal export terminals in the Northwest."
Governor Inslee echoed Steyer’s sentiment: "I'm so glad to not be in a room full of people at the ‘climate hand wringers breakfast’, or ‘the climate whiners breakfast.’ I'm at the Climate Solutions breakfast," he remarked as he kicked off the program earlier that morning.
Tom Steyer is a veteran of the financial services industry with strategic insight into regional, national, and global economic trends. In the early 80s, he founded Farallon Capital Management, OneCalifornia Bank and more recently, One PacificCoast Bank, providing commercial banking services to underserved small businesses, nonprofits, affordable-housing developers, community facilities, as well as families and individuals in the West.
Steyer and his wife, Kathryn, funded the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University, devoted to researching sustainable energy, and the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, at Stanford's Law School and Graduate School of Business, in addition to numerous campaigns and causes nationwide.
Many of the region’s top policy makers, clean energy leaders and funders attended the event, including former EPA Administrator Bill Ruckelshaus, current Regional EPA Administrator Dennis McClerran, Bullitt Foundation President Denis Hayes, Director of WA Dept. of Commerce Brian Bonlender, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Chamber of Commerce Chair Maud Daudon. The Washington Legislature, King County Council, Seattle City Council, and state agencies were all well-represented.
Marking the fifth year of Climate Solutions’ signature event, the sold-out event helped the organization surpass their fundraising goal for the event, raising over $300,000. Climate Solutions is also celebrating its 15th anniversary of work on practical and profitable solutions to global warming.
“It’s been an incredible decade and a half and I can say without reservation that we have much to celebrate,” said Climate Solutions’ Executive Director Gregg Small. Echoing comments from Steyer and Governor Inslee, Small continued, “It’s time to take the proven solutions that our businesses, our cities, and our states have pioneered and deploy them, at scale, to power one of the world’s great regions. I’m talking about a strategy that brings together the entire West Coast of the United States. I’m talking about a focused approach that unleashes the political will, the technical knowledge, the market power, and the environmental passion of the people and institutions of Washington, Oregon, and California in a concerted and committed effort.”
Climate Solutions is a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit working to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment and bridging divides. Since 1998, Climate Solutions has pioneered the vision and cultivated political leadership in the Northwest for the proposition that clean energy and broadly shared economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand. Through its Business Leaders, New Energy Cities, Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Northwest Biocarbon Initiative programs, Climate Solutions continues to build a powerful constituency for local, regional and national action on climate and clean energy.
Twitter @climatesolution; tweets from the event at #CS15