Mayor Garcetti Intro of Al Gore’s Milken Global Conference Sustainability Revolution Remarks

Mayor Eric Garcetti

At the Milken Global Conference 2018, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti introduced former Vice President Al Gore to present on “The Sustainability Revolution: Seizing the Investment Opportunity of Our Generation.” Mayor Garcetti provided an overview of Los Angeles' sustainability endeavors, including its efforts to bring sustainability to the front and center of the 2028 LA Summer Olympics. Discussing the work at the Port of Los Angeles to clean up the emissions and air pollution from the goods movement sector, Mayor Garcetti highlighted the unprecedented levels of investment coming into the Southern California region. Below are his remarks. 

Mayor Eric Garcetti: Welcome to Los Angeles. For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to have been born here or smart enough to have moved here yet: We are available, so please keep coming back.

We love having the world here, in this place that is very much the crossroads of the world today: the creative capital of the world and the manufacturing capital of America; a place that can lay claim to being the northern capital of Latin America, the western capital of the United States, and the eastern capital of the Pacific Rim; a place that is now the third largest municipal economy in the world after Tokyo and New York; and a place where we love what Milken does, because it is the embodiment of the innovation of the collisions of the future, looking outward. The way that we come together here in Los Angeles, we believe, is the face of the world today and of this nation tomorrow.

Thank you to Milken for all the acceleration you have done, year after year—to everybody who convenes these necessary conversations and catalytic moments—and what you have done for progress, for prosperity, and, most important for folks like me, for policymaking, to make sure that we can create the world that we imagine and that we need to see in these urgent times.

We hope to welcome you back here each year. But over the next decade, Los Angeles has a unique gift to be able to prepare for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will come home to the United States for the first time in three decades. In that moment, we can see—with sustainability, with jobs and equity, with belonging and inclusion, with the ideas that should propel the human race—that here in Los Angeles, as we get ready to host the world, we can make this a city that doesn’t have to choose between solving the challenges we have, but can bring them together.

Here in Los Angeles, we are not an “either/or” city. We are a “yes, and” city. When it comes to sustainability and the growth of our economy, we have for some time put those two things together. It is here where we saw an 11 percent reduction in our greenhouse gases in the last year we have measure (2016). In the same year, we saw a reduction in our unemployment rate of 11 percent as well.

Here in Los Angeles—where we’ve accelerated out of the recession faster even than California, which has accelerated even faster than the nation, and where we have about a 75 percent faster rate of job growth than America at large—we know that these two things are tied together. We know that here—the No. 1 solar city in the nation—in just the last four years, we’ve added more jobs to the green sector than we’ve lost in coal in this country. In fact, here, where we have about 1 percent of the nation’s population, we’ve added as many green jobs—about 30,000 in the last four years—as 60 percent of the remaining coal jobs in America.

When we tie these things together—whether it’s at the Port of LA, where 43 percent of the goods that come into this nation come through, and fuel jobs in every Congressional district in this country; whether it’s our airport, which is one of the busiest origination and destination airports in the world—we can do right for our world while also doing right for our people.

Our cleantech incubator is the strongest in the world, attracting $160 million this past year in venture capital. We’ve also made sure that, as we do this work, we are leaving no communities behind—launching things like our electric vehicle car-sharing in our poorest communities, putting veterans to work installing solar panels here on our rooftops in some of our neediest zip codes, and making sure that we provide opportunities for people to be part of the green revolution regardless of their income, their zip code, their ethnicity, or even their age.

I chair a group called Climate Mayors in the United States. When our national leadership decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, instead of being upset and curling up in a corner or yelling at the TV, we got on the phone. To date, 402 cities across America—led by Republican mayors, Democratic mayors, and non-partisan mayors—have said, “If they’re out, we’re in.” In 48 states representing 80 million Americans, we now have people who are saying, “We understand that connection, and if we can do something good for our people, we also get the economic benefit that comes with that.”

You don’t have to tell a firefighter in Los Angeles whether climate change is real. We lost a firefighter this year battling the largest fire we ever saw in California history because of the longest drought we’ve ever faced. We know it is real. You don’t have to tell somebody who is working at the Port of LA who has asthma, whose children have higher cancer rates, whether or not pollution is real. For our own health, we are doing these things. But it is also for the health of the gross municipal product that we have here in Los Angeles, which these investments have paid off as well.

We have before us an extraordinary moment and an extraordinary person, who has become a dear friend—somebody who inspired me as a young elected official; somebody who has a lot of things you can say about him. He is an Oscar winner, which is the most prestigious thing in this town. He is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, which is perhaps the greatest global honor.

What I love about Al Gore is that he has never defined himself by titles or by plaudits. He’s been Vice President. He’s been a senator. He’s been a journalist. But these things don’t describe who Al Gore is.

Who Al Gore is, perhaps, has imparted to me the most important lesson: that it doesn’t matter who you are or what your title is—whether you’ve been recognized for your work or not—but that the power that you hold in your hands is every single day where you are: where you work, where you study, where you live, where you pray, where you play. And each one of us in this room—a room that will never come together again like this—can listen to the most urgent call of our lives.

The way that Al Gore has been able to work and plug away at the practical steps to making sure that each one of us can be as powerful as he is in changing the world directly around us gives me great hope that this world will do the right thing for the planet and for our people.

Please welcome our dear friend for a very special presentation—the Vice President of the United States, the winner of all those things, but most importantly, our friend—Al Gore.

"When it comes to sustainability and the growth of our economy, here in Los Angeles, we are not an “either/or” city. We are a “yes, and” city." - Mayor Eric Garcetti