Border Governors Conference 2008 Part 4

According to Dr. Mario Jose Molina, a Nobel Laureate panelist for “A Conversation on Building Green Economies”, economic studies suggest that the cost of implementing new, more environmentally responsible pathways is 1% of the global GDP (Gross Domestic Product). “It’s something we can afford.”

Yet we aren’t moving forward in those new directions at warp speed. Some blame this on the current administration, and there is definitely responsibility to be laid at its feet. Some still say, however, that the technology we need to move forward isn’t there yet.

“Since Edison and the light bulb, there hasn’t been a good energy innovation,” said K.R. Shrider, CEO of Bloom Energy and former advisor to NASA. “And it’s about time,” he said.

When asked by the moderator what panelists would advise the next U.S. President about dealing with climate change, one panelist quoted Gandhi, saying “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Border Governors Conference 2008 Part 3

“Existing technology today”, said Nancy McFAdden, Senior Vice President of Pacific Gas & Electric, “could help us meet 50% of future needs.” A featured panelist at the “Conversations on Building Green Economies” at the Border Governors conference, McFadden said the problem is we don’t know how to take existing energy and use it efficiently.

It’s also a matter of direction. First world countries, said panelists, are moving along unworkable, unsustainable pathways. “The developed world,” said Pachauri, has to re-develop,” go a different direction.

“You can’t expect developing nations to see what we do and not want to emulate that. We have to set a different example,” he said.

It’s got to be about more than just us – what we want to do or have.

“We have a much bigger responsibility tan just taking care of ourselves,” said Pachauri.

Border Governors Conference 2008 Notable Beginnings 2

The threads of urgency and awareness were strong throughout the “A Conversation on Building Green Economies” panel on August 13th’s precursor to the Border Governors conference in Universal City, California.

Among the 6 esteemed panelists, Dr. Mario Jose Molina, Professor at U.C. San Diego and the first Mexican to receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry (his research led to the worldwide elimination of CFC’s from aerosols & refrigerators), said there’s no “silver bullet” to ending climate change or global warming.”We have to take many avenues – wind, solar, even nuclear – but we must start now,” he said.

Another Nobel Prize recipient, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Director General of Tate Energy Research Institute, offered a positive perspective. “If you reduce emissions, you reduce local pollution and you create jobs,” he said.

We don’t have to wait to make inroads in the right direction. “We don’t have to wait for new solutions to crystallize,” one panelist said.


Border Governors Conference 2008 Notable Beginnings

Governor Schwarzenneger's Initial Opening Remarks

Governor Schwarzenneger

Prior to the official opening of the 26th annual Border Governors conference, a noteworthy forum was held. In keeping with the conference’s theme, the topic of the panel was “A Conversation on Building Green Economies.”

The prestigious panel was comprised of 2 Nobel Peace Prize recipients, a former NASA advisor, several CEO’s of noted alternative energy companies, a top executive of Pacific Gas & Electric, and the leader of the carpenters’ union.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a surprise appearance. With characteristic charisma and humor, in his opening remarks, he stressed that California has shown “we can have a clean environment and a thriving environment.” He emphasized that you can successfully “stimulate the economy and green technology.”

During his address, the Governor mentioned his recent discussion and commitment to California leading the way in alternative energy usage by powering 5 major government buildings completely with fuel cells, though no target date for this was given.

This announcement was met with excitement and resounding applause from attendees.

Acknowledging the importance and need for border states to “help each other”, the governor then introduced the 6 panelists and turned the discussion over to moderator Terry Tamminen, Director of the North America Foundation’s Climate Policy Program and a former Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency.