Earth Day Network, Carbon War Room & ACORE join forces
Join 500 of the world's most prominent green economy leaders at the Climate Leadership Gala. This exclusive Gala will bring together leaders of industry, government and the NGO community to celebrate achievements, discuss how to remove impediments and forge a path to a post-carbon future.The evening will include a VIP reception, cocktail hour and dinner at the EPA Atrium with speakers, entertainment and special guests.
The Gala is the centerpiece of the Second Annual Creating Climate Wealth Summit, a two-day forum presented by the Carbon War Room, to identify specific pathways to accelerate deployment of climate solutions. The Gala will be an evening to remember, featuring A-List musical entertainment and speeches by luminaries and world leaders. Governor will Bill Richardson will deliver a keynote. Ed Begley Jr. will co-host. A musical program will be announced shortly.
On behalf of Earth Day Network, one individual will be honored as Women and the Green Economy (WAGE) Leader of the Year.
May 3, 2011
6:00 PM: VIP Cocktail hour for speakers, sponsors and special guests
6:30 PM: Cocktail reception
7:00 PM: Dinner
8:00 PM: Speakers and entertainment
EPA Atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Don't miss one of the season's biggest events!
Please click here for more information about the Creating Climate Wealth Summit.
Proceeds will further the efforts of Earth Day Network, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Your contribution above the $125 per person fair market value of the dinner is fully tax deductible, as provided by law
Carbon War Room Interview
As Climate Week starts today we thought it a perfect opportunity to update you on the Carbon War Room, with an interview with its CEO Jigar Shah.
For those who do not know about the Carbon War Room can you give us a quick description of what you do?
Jigar Shah: The Carbon War Room was founded on the belief that over 50% of all carbon emissions can be profitably reduced with technology that exists today. The United Nations has called for reductions in annual carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 to put us on a path to climate stabilisation. Achieving the reductions set forth by the UN will entail significant changes to industrial operations, land use practices, and our energy infrastructure. These changes - in infrastructure - are an opportunity to build a sustainable post-carbon economy. It is the Carbon War Room’s goal to identify and enable these solutions, to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future.
What was your biggest challenge in setting up the Carbon War Room?
Jigar Shah: Our greatest challenge is implementing the solutions. Infrastructure investment hasn’t happened since the 1970’s – we do not have a clear understanding or experts in the field working on this. We need to “re-discover” our will for looking at the entire complex problem and try to fix it.
When working with government have you found that you have been pushing on open or closed doors?
Jigar Shah: Changing policy is not the bottleneck to implementing these solutions. The biggest challenge is moving institutional capital. We need to get private capital off of the sidelines.
How about working with industries, have they been more or less receptive than governments?
Jigar Shah: Most companies today are realising that investing in efficiency or sustainability is not just good for the environment but good for their business. Showing industries the massive cost savings that some of these solutions present is always a good way to get their attention. We are also trying to show that there are tonnes of entrepreneurs out there that have mature technologies that can increase efficiency and reduce costs. It is the goal of the Carbon War Room to figure out why these entrepreneurs have not been able to scale up to a Gigatonne level in their respective market. We then identify what these barriers are and find solutions to overcome them – which opens up the entire industry to investment, innovation and a low-carbon future.
The Carbon War Room believes in sectorial solutions. Can you explain why you believe this to be the best approach?
Jigar Shah: The Carbon War Room has identified 25 sectors across 7 theatres that are material to growing a low carbon economy. Each theatre accounts for over 1 billion tonnes (or more than 2%) of global man made CO2e emissions annually.
What are the challenges for committing capital to green technologies?
Jigar Shah: According to a widely publicised and celebrated report by McKinsey – over 50% of carbon can be profitably reduced (we base our mission off of this curve) The challenge is that there are market barriers that currently exist that do not allow for these technologies to be implemented at speed and scale. We need to find what these market barriers are – in each sector – and find solutions to overcome them. That is one of the biggest challenges.
After attending the Climate Change Conferences in Copenhagen and Cancun, do you still believe in the possibility of a global solution?
Jigar Shah: Even before Copenhagen, the Carbon War Room believed that business needed to lead.
The Carbon War Room focuses on fixing market failures; do you feel that your business background has helped you understand those failures and solutions?
Jigar Shah: Absolutely! I am an engineer at heart. When I started SunEdison, a solar company, I realised that there was a market inefficiency in solar. People did not want to own expensive solar panels on their roof and essentially be in the power plant industry. As an engineer, I like to build something new and innovative while solving problems that people think are unsolvable. At the Carbon War Room – we do this everyday.
What would you consider to be success?
Jigar Shah: For the climate change movement, we have had major shift in changing the debate away from where it was at COP15 in signing a global deal to realising that in order to solve our carbon problem we need businesses to invest in efficiency and infrastructure. The world is just beginning to realise this, and this is something we have been preaching since we first started. People are beginning to understand that there does not have to be a choice between the economy and the environment – and I think that is a very strong message.
At the Carbon War Room, in our shipping operation – we realized that there was an information gap that created a market inefficiency. We launched ShippingEfficiency.org – where we aggregated over +60,000 ocean vessels and rated their efficiency on an A-G scale. This “efficiency labelling” has gained widespread attention – and we have seen many ship owners begin to retrofit their fleets with simple, cost and carbon saving technologies in order to increase their efficiency rating. We applied pressure on the market and we have seen the Shipping Industry reply back that they are ready to become more efficient – because it makes economic sense to them.
We have some very exciting initiatives in Energy Efficiency launching in the coming year – keep an eye out for us!
You can join our efforts and interact with the Carbon War Room team on our LinkedIn Platform. I encourage anyone interested to join and follow us on any one of our social media tools.
The Carbon War Room was founded by Richard Branson. It is a 510 c (3) public charity, and one among many charities under the Virgin Unite brand – the philanthropy arm of Virgin Holdings.