Spring 2015

‘Peak Oil & Green Energy: Both Fossils?’—A Milken Global Conference Expert Panel

Issue: 
Cathy Zoi

VX News presents an edited transcript of the panel “Peak Oil and Green Energy: Both Fossils?” from the Milken Institute’s Global Conference, April 26-29 in Santa Monica. Moderated by Greg Dalton, host of the podcast ClimateOne, the panel features Ian Wright, CEO of Wrightspeed and co-founder of Tesla; Cathy Zoi, director of the Energy Transformation Collaborative at Stanford and incoming CEO of SunEdison’s Rural Electric Company; and Scott Jacobs, CEO and co-founder of Generate Capital. They discuss the death of the “peak oil” issue, the challenges facing the popularization of clean energy technology, and whether the renewable energy industry really needs a technological breakthrough—or just a change in the way it does business.

Québec Minister Charged with ‘The Fight Against Climate Change’ Touts Cap and Trade

Issue: 
David Heurtel

David Heurtel is Québec’s first Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, and the Fight Against Climate Change. After over a year of overseeing this comprehensive mission, Heurtel spoke with VX News about the growing movement of subnational entities collaborating across countries in order to build an international green economy. In particular, he comments on the thriving cap-and-trade relationship between Québec and California that accommodates the needs of the two very different regions, as well as lessons learned about how to implement a successful cap-and-trade system. He also explains why in Québec, environmental action transcends politics.

VX2015: California & National Energy Leaders On DG’s Impact on Grid Management

Issue: 
Steve Berberich

The VerdeXchange 2015 opening plenary “The Future is Now—The Green Economy Going to Scale” considered the remaining work to be done by government and business as “sustainability” becomes mainstream. VX News provides edited excerpts of the discussion here, featuring California State Senator Robert Hertzberg, US Congressman Earl Blumenauer, President and CEO of California ISO Steve Berberich, and EPCOR Utilities Board Member and Former Mayor of Long Beach Bob Foster. They consider whether the federal government can be a useful partner in sustainability projects; how technology is creating more decentralized, self-contained systems; and how both public and private institutions will have to reevaluate their roles in the future green economy.

Prime Minister Abe, Caroline Kennedy, and Penny Pritzker Celebrate Japan-US Trade & Investment Relationship

Issue: 
Caroline Kennedy

On May 1, 2015, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe ended his visit to the US in Los Angeles, appearing at the Biltmore Hotel for an event organized by Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). VX News presents edited excerpts from the proceedings, beginning with JETRO Chair Hiroyuki Ishige, who notes the positive impact of the prime minister’s comprehensive set of economic reforms known as “Abenomics.” Prime Minister Abe, US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker each give their perspective on the past, present, and, especially, future of US-Japan trade relations, urging private sector investment along with the regulatory framework of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to strengthen the two countries’ mutually beneficial relationship.

Metropolitan Water District’s Jeff Kightlinger Adopts ‘Share the Pain’ Approach to California’s Drought

Issue: 
Jeff Kightlinger

As state and local bodies scramble to accommodate the California drought by regulating use and reconsidering traditional sources of water, suppliers must adjust to changing conditions. In this interview, VX News asks Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, about the implications for the region. Kightlinger comments on options for meeting supply needs, including desalination and stormwater capture. He also notes that despite potential conflict over water sources between urban and rural areas, ultimately collaboration—and an agreement to share the burden of behavioral change—will be necessary to get to goal.

Transportation Network Companies Challenge 20th-Century City Taxi Regulation: Reinventing Urban Mobility

Issue: 
Gabe Klein

The rise of Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies (TNCs) dependent on online-enabled platforms to connect passengers with drivers is globally eroding the franchises of locally regulated taxis. Drawing on remarks recently on the VerdeXchange 2015 Conference panel “How Technology and Competitive Drive Are Reinventing Mobility and the Urban Environment,” Bill Rouse, General Manager of Yellow Cab of Los Angeles, and Gabe Klein, a Special Venture Partner at Fontinalis Partners with experience leading public-sector DOTs, offered VX News their perspectives. They address changes to the urban ground transportation system that unregulated competition is bringing to cities.

Gov. Brown’s 2015 GHG Reduction Executive Order Sets a Stretch Goal for California

Issue: 
Jerry Brown

Governor Jerry Brown appeared at the “Navigating the American Carbon World” conference in Los Angeles on April 29, 2015 to speak about his executive order on greenhouse gas reduction. The most ambitious reduction goal in North America, it calls for reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2030. VX News offers an edited transcript of his remarks here. In the face of national skepticism and scattered international priorities, Gov. Brown calls on California business leaders to respond to the climate change crisis by innovating, creating, and cooperating. By rising to the challenge he has set, Gov. Brown says California can show the world that fighting climate change is good business, good government, and good economics.

Bloomberg Champions the Private Sector’s Critical Role in Addressing Climate Change

Issue: 
Michael Bloomberg

CEO of Bloomberg L.P. and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke to Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp during the 2015 Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York last month. Reflecting on his career in business, philanthropy, and politics, Bloomberg emphasizes the private sector’s essential role in effecting greenhouse gas reductions. He comments on his current role at the United Nations, which has led him to consider the energy challenges facing countries like India and China. Finally, Bloomberg encourages environmentalists to “get tough” in the face of public-sector paralysis.

VerdeXchange 2015 Panel Excerpts: ‘Ports & Their Greening’

Issue: 
Noel Hacegaba

The VerdeXchange 2015 Conference held in Downtown LA featured a panel focusing on sustainability efforts to clean goods movement at the San Pedro Bay ports. Moderated by the Port of Los Angeles’s former Director of International Trade Stephen Cheung (now president of World Trade Center Los Angeles), the discussion offered perspectives from California Air Resources Board Commissioner Hector De La Torre, Port of Long Beach Chief Commercial Officer Noel Hacegaba, and Southern California Gas Company Environmental Policy Manager Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza. VX News includes their edited contributions here, covering CARB’s Sustainable Freight Strategy, the ports’ Clean Truck Program, and the potential role of natural gas in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Optimism Trumps Reality: Gold Lauds LA City’s Sustainability Plan

Issue: 
Mark Gold

In early April, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled the City of Los Angeles’s first-ever sustainability plan. Here VX News offers commentary from Mark Gold, Acting Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and a VerdeXchange Conference speaker. Gold helped craft the plan and offers his perspective on its goals ranging from water to greenhouse-gas emission reduction. This comes just days after the UCLA IOE gave LA County a C+ on its environmental report card. The Sustainable City pLAn is excerpted here, as well.

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