George Shultz: AB 32 – The Facts

George Shultz: AB 32 – The Facts

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Former U.S. Secretary of State, George Shultz delivered an eloquent summary of the facts surrounding AB 32(California’s answer to global warming) at the Silicon Valley Energy Summit at Stanford University on June 25. Shultz, a Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institute and Advisory Council Chair at the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, was billed as a Moderator/ Provocateur at the event, and despite his 89 years, he rose to the challenge and then some. In concluding remarks, he said it would be “an unmitigated disaster” if the measure to suspend AB 32 passes in the November election.

He was moderating a panel which included Lawrence Goulder, Director of environmental and Energy Policy at Stanford; Kevin Kennedy, Assistant Executive Office, Office of Climate Change, California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Peter Miller, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council. Check back for more details on each soon.

“The emission of carbon imposes a cost on society…you have to recognize that cost…” George Shultz

“If we’re going to level the playing field…we want a system that’s number one: effective… and number two: creates as little drag as possible or even gives a slight lift to the economy.” George Shultz

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For more interviews regarding AB 32 and energy policy…check out Fresh Dialogues archives

For more videos, check out the Fresh Dialogues YouTube Channel

A Clean Energy Future: Advice from Silicon Valley

A Clean Energy Future: Advice from Silicon Valley

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Last night, President Obama addressed the nation for the first time from the Oval office. His subject: the BP oil spill disaster. Although some say he was “vapid”, Obama seized the opportunity to call for a clean energy future and end our addiction to fossil fuels. He underlined China’s massive investment in clean energy jobs and industries (subtext: just like the Space Race in the 50’s & 60’s, the race for Clean Energy has begun, and the U.S. is falling behind); and reminded us that we send almost ONE BILLION DOLLARS EACH DAY to foreign countries for their oil.

“The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.  Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny.” President Obama.

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In this week’s Fresh Dialogues, we look at the advice gleaned recently from a panel of clean tech experts in Silicon Valley. If the Obama administration is serious about unleashing America’s innovation and creating a clean energy future, it would do well to take note.

From the Fresh Dialogues archives: The Obama administration ought to have sent an envoy to the FountainBlue State of Clean Green Conference this year. A panel of Silicon Valley clean tech experts had much to share on this question: how can Obama better jumpstart the clean tech economy?

Tim Woodward, Managing Director, Nth Power said the government needs to create market demand, and recommends that every government building should have solar power and be retrofitted for energy efficiency; but he warned,

“There’s a little too much of a ‘large check mandate’ in the Federal Government that picks technologies and stifles innovation at lower levels: figure out how to get smaller dollars into the innovation engine of smaller companies.”

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Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview

 

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Laurie Yoler, Managing Director, GrowthPoint Technology Partners said,

“I look at the pricing and incentivizing through market pricing. We’re still subsidizing imported oil without putting the investment into alternative energies…I think we should put a tax on imported oil and use it to help pay off some of the defense spending we’re using to protect the transmission of that oil. We need to forge ahead with cap and trade legislation… until we have a price on carbon it’s hard for the markets to plan and have any certainty.”

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Elise Zoli, Partner and Chair, Energy Practice, Goodwin Procter said that the Department of Energy needs to improve the low commercialization rate of national labs and is excited about a new national initiative to create virtual access to all the labs’ technology… “so you can  see the technology, acquire it and begin to commercialize it.”


“The DoE has a fantastic lab structure, producing some really innovative technologies… (we need to ) leave them there and help them – through public/private partnerships – and take that technology out of the labs…”

But

“There are things they (the DoE) do terribly and being a bank is one of them.”

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And Elise has one last piece of advice if you have a green energy technology you think the Feds can use, contact Richard Kidd at the Federal Energy Management Program: ”Richard Kidd will not know you exist unless you call him…send an email to Richard’s team and use my name!”

Note: Richard’s email is richard.kidd@ee.doe.gov, 202-586-5772  – tell him Elise sent you…And check out the Program’s website contact page for more info.

Other panelists included Dan Adler, President, California Clean Energy Fund, and Matt Maloney, Head of Relationship Management, Silicon Valley Bank. The interview was recorded at Fountain Blue’s Conference on January 29, 2010.

Related Fresh Dialogues interviews

with Emmett Carson, CEO of the $1.7 Billion Silicon Valley Community Foundation on “How to Create a Green Jobs Mecca”

with Laurie Yoler on Tesla and the State of the Union Address

with Elise Zoli, In Defense of Nuclear

For more Fresh Dialogues archives

Paul Krugman: Transcript- Will Climate Legislation Kill the Economy?

Paul Krugman: Transcript- Will Climate Legislation Kill the Economy?

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

This exclusive interview with Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman was recorded in Silicon Valley. Dr. Krugman was in town to deliver a lecture as part of the Foothill College Celebrity Forum Series. This segment is titled: Will Climate Legislation Kill the Economy? Click here for video

 

Alison van Diggelen: Paul thank you very much for joining me today on Fresh Dialogues.

Paul Krugman: OK. Good to be doing this.

Alison: Now some people are saying, climate legislation is going to kill the economy. What do you say to that Paul?

Paul: Well, a lot of people have done serious work in trying to figure this out. Now, to some extent it will be unknown territory: we don’t know what happens when you set the price of carbon significantly higher than it is now, but the economy has got a lot of flexibility. We have precedent. We had the problem of acid rain and we introduced a cap and trade system – SO2 permits – and a lot of people said it was going to kill the economy…terrible stuff. In fact it turned out that dealing with it was cheaper than most estimates had suggested before hand. Given the incentives, the private sector found ways to generate a whole lot less acid rain.

So current estimates are that if we did something like the legislation that the House has already passed, that ten years from now it would be maybe one third of a percentage point off GDP. And 40 years from now, when the constraints would be much stiffer, it would be something like 2% off GDP, relative to what it would otherwise have been. So if you think about what it would do to the growth rate, it’s minimal. We don ‘t know if these numbers are right, but if history is any guide, they’re probably too pessimistic. It’s just not a big deal.

Alison: Let’s talk about your column, Paul… Now you didn’t pull any punches with the Bush administration. You talked last night about the Bush White House being evil and stupid. What is your characterization of the Obama White House?

Paul: Oh, they’re good guys and they’re smart but just not as forceful as I’d like. It’s a world of difference. When I argue with them in my column this is a serious discussion. We really are in effect speaking across the transom here…

Alison: Is it really a dialogue, are you hearing back from them?
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Paul: Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean yes there’s that…

Alison: Does Ben Bernanke call you up?

Paul: Ben Bernanke doesn’t call me up but is aware of what I’m writing… people in the administration do call me. I’m never going to be an insider type but at this point I do have genuine contact with both the White House and with congressional leadership. It’s no longer  this sort of Cold War as it was during the Bush Years.

Alison: Some people describe your writing as having a missionary zeal.  Where does that come from Paul. Can you trace that back?

Paul: Oh. Gosh…I have to say that during the Bush Years, if you didn’t feel passionate that we had to change things, there was something wrong with you…

Alison: You didn’t have a pulse?

Paul: Right. So..before that, I was in fact a pretty cool…uh…

Alison: A cool dude…?

Paul: A pretty cool technocratic sort of writer. I had some fun but I wasn’t crusading. So that is what changed it. And now, I’m trying to make this progressive moment in American history a success. So that’s where I’m pushing.

Alison: So you feel the missionary zeal is gone now, or is it just redirected?

Paul: It’s not the same. There was the sheer.. OMG what a horrible thing…we need to alert people as to what’s going on…I’m still trying to get stuff to happen…it’s less doom laden maybe than it was in the Bush years. But stuff has to happen….I’m still pretty passionate about the column.

Alison: And do you feel you’re more effective as a columnist than inside the government?

Paul: Oh yeah! That’s a personal….you have to know who you are…know what you’re good at. I’m not a…being an effective government official, you have to do bureaucratic maneuvering, be pretty good at being polite at the appropriate moment… you have to be reasonably organized…I’m none of those things.

Alison: An honest man.

Paul: I can move into a pristine office and within three days it will look like a grenade went off.

Alison: [laughter]

Paul: You really don’t want me doing that sort of thing.

Alison: Right. Paul Krugman, thank you so much for taking the time. I really appreciate it.

Paul: Thank you so much.

For more exclusive interviews with leaders, such as Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd and Charlie Rose click here

Paul Krugman: On China and Climate Change Transcript

Paul Krugman: On China and Climate Change Transcript

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh DialoguesPaul Krugman, Alison van Diggelen-Fresh Dialogues Interview

This exclusive interview with Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman was recorded on November 12, 2009 in Silicon Valley. Dr. Krugman was in town to deliver a lecture as part of the Foothill College Celebrity Forum Series. Here is the transcript of Part Two: On China and Climate Change. To listen to this interview click here and or watch video (coming soon)

Alison van Diggelen: Paul thank you very much for joining me today on Fresh Dialogues.

Paul Krugman: OK. Good to be doing this.

Alison: Talking about other countries, Spain took the lead… Denmark is taking the lead… China is now way ahead of us in certain clean energy technologies. Do you feel that we’ve lost eight years and we have at least eight years to catch up?  Is it feasible we can catch up?

Paul: It’s always feasible. You don’t want to get too hung up on the specific sexy technologies. I guess the Danes are ahead of us in building wind turbines. But a lot of what we’re going to be doing on the environment is  going to be… insulation, clever urban design to minimize energy loss. That’s all stuff that’s coming along and look – the history of information technology has said very clearly that nobody gets a monopoly for very long… I don’t get anxiety about it. I’m just more concerned that we won’t do what we need to do to protect the environment.

Alison: How big is the role of government? Ultimately it’s the private sector investment that’s going to make the substantial investment…

Paul: But the government has to provide the incentives…what we have now is the economic concept of an externality…if you have something where you impose costs on other people but you don’t have any incentive to reduce those costs, bad stuff happens. And climate change is the mother of all externalities. It’s a gigantic thing and the private sector by itself is not going to deal with it. Left without any government intervention, we’re just going to basically par-boil the planet, right?

So what you have to do is have a set of rules in place. Now the idea is for it to be market oriented. Yes, there can be some public research, some public investment, some things will have to be done directly by government… but mainly put in a cap and trade system – put a price on greenhouse gas emissions and then let the private sector do its stuff.

Alison: Right. Why is it you favor a cap and trade system over a straight carbon tax?

Paul: Oh, there are a couple of reasons. One is, right now, cap and trade looks like it might pass Congress and a direct tax will not. Partly that’s because cap and trade is relatively well suited to paying off the industry groups, right? We live in the real world. By handing out some of the licenses, at least in the first decade or so, you make it easier to swallow.

International coordination is easier with cap and trade. If we say to the Chinese – well we want you to have a carbon tax – how can we really tell it’s enforced? But if we negotiate with the Chinese that they will have total CO2 emissions of so much, we can monitor pretty well whether that’s actually happening. So that’s a lot easier to envision an international  agreement with cap and trade.

So, I would take a carbon tax if…

Alison: If it were politically feasible?

Paul: It’s not clear to me that it’s even superior. But it would be OK, certainly. The fact is, cap and trade could be a bill by this time next year. A carbon tax is like single payer health care. It’s not going to happen this decade and I want something to actually happen now.

Alison: Paul Krugman, thank you very much I really appreciate your taking the time.

Paul: Thank you so much.

Check back soon for more interview segments on the stimulus package, what gave him that “missionary zeal” to write such fervent columns in the New York Times, and whether the green economy can be our salvation.

 To check out more exclusive Fresh Dialogues interviews, click here

Listen to Part One: Paul Krugman’s advice on Obama’s Job Summit

 Part Two when Paul Krugman discusses China, Climate Change and clean technology

Paul Krugman: On China, Climate Change

Paul Krugman: On China, Climate Change

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh DialoguesPaul Krugman, Fresh Dialogues interview

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview

 

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Here’s the transcriptSEE VIDEO of Part One (Part Two coming soon)

In advance of Obama’s trip to China this week, Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman gave a short, sharp economics lesson on climate change and China during our exclusive interview in Silicon Valley, November 12. What does he think the US and Chinese governments should be doing to combat climate change and stimulate the green sector?

Why is he not concerned about China’s lead in clean energy technology?

Krugman explains why negotiating with China over CO2 emissions would be preferable to trying to enforce a carbon tax. Hear all this and more in this Fresh Dialogues interview.

Here are selected quotes:

“Climate change is the mother of all externalities…left without any government intervention, we’re going to basically par-boil the planet.”

“You don’t want to get hung up on the specific sexy technologies (like wind turbines)…look at the history of information technology…nobody gets a monopoly for very long.”

“If we say to the Chinese, we want you to have a carbon tax – how can we really tell it’s enforced? But if we negotiate with the Chinese that they will have total CO2 emissions of so much, we can monitor that pretty well.”

For Part One of the Paul Krugman interview – on Obama’s Job Summit click here

The interview was recorded at Foothill College Celebrity Forum Series on November 12, 2009. With special thanks to Dick Henning.

Clean Tech investor, Laurie Yoler’s bailout aftermath predictions

Clean Tech investor, Laurie Yoler’s bailout aftermath predictions

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

I met with Growth Point Technology Partners Managing Director, Laurie Yoler just 12 days after the historic bailout of the US financial system was signed into law. She’s a seasoned investor in emerging technology, a specialist in clean tech and serves on the board of Tesla Motors, where she was an angel investor. Laurie gives a fascinating insight into the psyche of venture capitalists at this historic time and explains why she remains optimistic. We also explore these questions:

How long will it take before the market stabilizes?

How will the IPO, Merger & Aquisition and private placement markets be affected by the financial turmoil? What about those frothy valuations?

What clean tech trends have emerged this year?

What’s hot in clean tech and why is clean tech in Europe ahead of the US?

Listen to part I of this Fresh Dialogue

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview

 

We welcome feedback at FreshDialogues.com, click on the Contact Tab

 

Download Laurie Yoler’s Fresh Dialogue Part I

Check back soon for Part II when Laurie discusses her early involvement in Tesla Motors and the company’s role in clean tech history.