“And yet the economy is as strong as it’s ever been in California,” he said. “So people who say you can have one or the other, it’s absolutely wrong. You can have both.”
For Heather Zichal, who served in the Obama administration, the commitments being made by the private sector offer hope during a discouraging time. “Not only have they changed what they’re doing,” she said, “they’re changing how they’re doing it.”
For instance, companies like Honeywell, which manufactures air conditioners, are urging the Trump Administration to protect the Montreal Protocol, a 1987 global agreement designed to phase out ozone-depleting substances.These companies have spent three decades developing strategies to comply with the protocol, she said.
“And they are in the White House and they are saying, ‘Do not walk away from this, do not screw this up, because for us it’s business certainty and predictability. And that’s more important than anything else.’ And that perspective is important for policymakers to hear.”
All businesses thrive on certainty, agreed Boling, CEO of 2CNRG, which develops low-carbon energy solutions. But the realities of climate change have made it increasingly difficult for companies to make capital investment decisions.
A Texan, he says he gets funny looks back at home because of his commitment to fighting climate change. But he tells them that he isn’t working to fight climate change despite
his role in the energy sector, but because
“Everything I’ve learned tells me that the right thing to do is also the smart thing to do,” he said. “Everything I’ve learned tells me that the enormous changes that are going on in the energy industry right now will lead to enormous opportunities if we get smarter, faster.”
“While climate change may have started out as a moral imperative, and has now also become an economic necessity.”
xploiting the opportunities will require a synergy of technology and policy, Moniz said. “I have absolute complete confidence in the technology side,” he said, “that at least with appropriate investment we’re going to keep making the kinds of progress we have made — and we will make it in some of these other domains we have described as critical.”
He’s even relatively optimistic on the policy side, he said, particularly having seen the response from state, city and business leaders
after President Trump announced the U.S. exit from the Paris Agreement. Such leadership, he said, will eventually “bubble up” to the federal level.