Innovation for the 2-degree Challenge

This November in San Francisco, The New York Times introduces ClimateTECH, a groundbreaking summit that brings together influential leaders from key industries to assess bold, cutting-edge technologies that could help keep global warming below the two-degree threshold — the widely acknowledged danger zone for the planet. Hosted by top Times journalists, ClimateTECH’s focus on innovation will also encompass the dramatic changes downstream (in finance, policy, consumer behavior, infrastructure) that are vital for these new technologies to gain adoption and succeed.

The provocative program will feature on-stage interviews with celebrated entrepreneurs and inventors along with policy makers, economists and subjectmatter experts. Designed for an audience of decision-makers, ClimateTECH will also include an early-stage technology showcase of the newest innovations, along with other experiential activities.


Lisa Friedman
Climate Reporter
The New York Times
Lisa Friedman is a Reporter at The New York Times, covering climate, energy and the environment since June 2017. Previously, Ms. Friedman was the Editor of Climatewire, beginning in 2015. Before that, she was an International Affairs Reporter, starting in 2008. Ms. Friedman also worked as the Washington Bureau Chief for both the Los Angeles Daily News and the Oakland Tribune. She was once a Reporter for The Bakersfield Californian. Ms. Friedman received the East-West Center Pakistan/U.S. Journalism Fellowship in 2012. She won the Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence in 2010 and the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for Online Reporter in 2009. Ms. Friedman received her B.A. from Columbia University and her Master’s Fellow from the University of Maryland at College Park. She was born in New York City.

Katie Benner
Technology Reporter
The New York Times
Katie Benner is a Technology Reporter covering venture capital and startups for The New York Times. Previous to The Times, she wrote about technology at Bloomberg and The Information, and she covered Wall Street while a Writer at Fortune magazine. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Marketplace Radio and WNYC. Her work includes features on Dell's doomed turnaround plan, General Electric's financial crisis woes, the rise and fall of Buddy Fletcher and Ellen Pao, trouble at Jawbone and the disasters that befell employees when Good Technology was sold to BlackBerry. Benner has a bachelor’s degree in English from Bowdoin College and resides in San Francisco.

Keith Bradsher
Shanghai Bureau Chief
The New York Times
Keith Bradsher is the Pulitzer Prize-winning Shanghai bureau chief for The New York Times, having reopened the Shanghai bureau on Nov. 14, 2016. He has previously served as the Hong Kong bureau chief and the Detroit bureau chief for The Times. Before those postings, he was a Washington correspondent for The Times covering the Federal Reserve and international trade, and a New York-based business reporter covering transportation and telecommunications for The Times. Bradsher began his career at The Times as a Reporter Trainee in New York in June 1989, mainly covering the airline industry. Promoted to Reporter in April 1990, he covered telecommunications until April 1991, when the paper moved him to Washington. He covered the creation of the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement until December 1993, and then covered the Federal Reserve and the American economy through December 1995. He then became the newspaper’s Detroit Bureau Chief for six years. His coverage of the safety threat posed by sport utility vehicles to cars led to the introduction of new S.U.V. safety equipment, nicknamed “Bradsher bars” by the Ford Motor Company. The auto and insurance industries credit design changes with saving thousands of lives in cars hit by S.U.V.s. His book on S.U.V.s, “High and Mighty,” published in September 2002 by Public Affairs, won the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award. Born in 1964, Bradsher received a B.A. degree with distinction and highest honors in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a Morehead Scholar there. He received a master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in economics from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Prior to joining The Times, Bradsher wrote for the Los Angeles Times from 1987 until 1989 as a general assignment business reporter-intern.


Thomas L. Friedman
Author and Columnist
The New York Times
Thomas L. Friedman has been the foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times since 1995. He won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, his third Pulitzer for The Times. Previously, he served as chief economic correspondent in the Washington bureau and before that he was the chief White House correspondent. Mr. Friedman joined The Times in 1981 and was appointed Beirut bureau chief in 1982. In 1984, he was transferred from Beirut to Jerusalem, where he served as Israel bureau chief until 1988. He was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting from Lebanon and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting from Israel. Mr. Friedman is the author of several influential and award-winning books, including “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations” (2016); “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back,” co-written with Michael Mandelbaum, (2011); “The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century” (2005); “Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11” (2002); “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” (2000); “Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution” (2008); and “From Beirut to Jerusalem” (1989). In 2004, he was awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement and named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by Queen Elizabeth II. He served on the Pulitzer Prize board from 2004 to 2013. Born in Minneapolis, Mr. Friedman received a B.A. in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University in 1975. In 1978, he received a Master of Philosophy degree in modern Middle East studies from the University of Oxford. He is married and has two daughters.

Jerry Brown
State of California
Edmund G. Brown Jr. was born in San Francisco on April 7, 1938. Brown was elected California Secretary of State in 1970 and California Governor in 1974 and 1978. After his governorship, Brown lectured and traveled widely, practiced law, served as California’s Democratic Party Chairman and ran for President. Brown was elected Mayor of Oakland in 1998 and California Attorney General in 2006. He was elected Governor of California again in 2010 and reelected in 2014 to serve a historic fourth term. In the past seven years, California has created more than 2.5 million new jobs, eliminated a $27 billion budget deficit and enacted sweeping environmental, public safety, immigration, workers’ compensation, health care, water, transportation, pension and economic development reforms. Under Brown, California — the sixth-largest economy in the world by GDP — continues to grow its economy faster than the rest of the United States while also advancing its nation-leading climate goals. Brown has signed several landmark laws in recent years to extend the state’s pioneering cap-and-trade program and create a groundbreaking program to measure and combat air pollution in the communities most affected; establish the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction target in North America — at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030; set the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants; and require the state to generate half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in buildings. Brown is building strong coalitions of partners committed to curbing carbon pollution in both the United States through the U.S. Climate Alliance — comprised of states committed to achieving the nation’s Paris Agreement and federal Clean Power Plan goals — and around the globe with the Under2 Coalition, an international pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. Brown also launched America’s Pledge on climate change to help compile and quantify the actions of states, cities and businesses in the U.S. to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. In September 2018, the State of California will convene the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, where representatives from subnational governments, businesses and civil society will gather with the direct goal of supporting the Paris Agreement. The President of COP23 named Brown Special Advisor for States and Regions ahead of the conference.

Geisha J. Williams
President and C.E.O.
PG&E Corporation
Geisha J. Williams is Chief Executive Officer and President of PG&E Corporation. She joined the company in 2007, and has more than three decades of experience in the energy industry. Under Williams’ leadership, PG&E is responsible for providing safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy to 16 million people in northern and central California. In her prior role as President, Electric, Williams led PG&E’s electric business, including transmission, distribution, power generation, nuclear operations, energy procurement and customer care. During her tenure at PG&E, the company has become a leader in renewables integration, grid modernization and smart grid technologies, while also achieving the best electric reliability in company history. Williams came to PG&E from Florida Power and Light Company (FPL), where she was Vice President of Power Systems, Electric Distribution. Prior to that, she served as FPL’s Vice President of Distribution Operations, and held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in FPL’s customer service, marketing, external affairs and electric operations departments. In addition to serving on the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors, Williams is a director at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO). At EEI, she also serves on the Executive Committee and is the CEO co-Chair of the Customer Energy Solutions Policy Committee. In addition, she is on the board of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD). Williams is a trustee of the California Academy of Sciences and the University of Miami, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in engineering. She also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Nova Southeastern University.

Rahm Emanuel
City of Chicago
Rahm Emanuel is the 55th Mayor of the City of Chicago and has served since 2011. During that time he has made the tough choices necessary to secure Chicago’s future as a global capital. The Mayor lengthened the school day and added more than 200 hours to the school year, taking Chicago from having the least educational time of any large school district in the country to being on par with its peers. He implemented full-day kindergarten for every Chicago child, and fought for and won new accountability measures to ensure that every teacher and principal had the necessary resources to succeed. The Mayor’s comprehensive public safety strategy is focused on expanded prevention programs for at-risk youth, smarter policing strategies, and empowering parents and communities to reduce violence in their neighborhoods. He attracted numerous companies to Chicago and helped to build the next generation of start-ups, while investing in the infrastructure, public transportation, open space and cultural attractions that make Chicago a great place to live, work and play. And he has worked to make Chicago’s government more effective, to deliver better services at a more competitive price, and to open government to the public. Prior to becoming Mayor, Emanuel served as the White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama and served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Chicago’s 5th District. He previously served as a key member of the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998, rising to serve as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. Mayor Emanuel graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981 and received a master’s degree in speech and communication from Northwestern University in 1985. He is married to Amy Rule, and they have three children.

Tom Steyer
Founder and President
NextGen America
Tom Steyer is a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education and a healthy climate. In 2010, Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, pledged to contribute most of their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetimes. That same year, Steyer worked to defeat Proposition 23, an attempt by the oil industry to roll back California’s historic plan to reduce pollution and address climate change. In 2012, Steyer led a campaign to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in California schools annually by closing a corporate tax loophole. To date, Proposition 39 has put nearly a billion dollars into California schools and clean energy projects, saving millions of dollars in annual energy costs. Steyer founded a successful California business, which he left to work full time on nonprofit and advocacy efforts. He now serves as President of NextGen Climate, an organization he founded in 2013 to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans. Steyer also serves as Co-Chair of Save Lives California, the coalition to prevent teen smoking and fund cancer research. Steyer’s dedication to public service is greatly inspired by his wife, Kat Taylor, the Co-C.E.O. of Beneficial State Bank in Oakland. They founded this nonprofit community bank in 2007 to provide loans to people and small businesses shut out by the traditional banking system. Unlike most banks, by statute Beneficial State Bank invests any profits back into the community. Steyer and Taylor live in San Francisco and have four children.

Paul Hawken
Author, Executive Director
Project Drawdown
Paul Hawken starts ecological businesses, writes about nature and commerce, and consults with heads of state and C.E.O.s on climatic, economic and ecological regeneration. He has appeared on numerous media including the “Today Show,” “Talk of the Nation” and “Charlie Rose,” and has been profiled or featured in hundreds of articles in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Washington Post and Business Week. He has written eight books including four national and New York Times best sellers: “Growing a Business,” “The Ecology of Commerce,” “Blessed Unrest” and “Drawdown” (2017). “The Ecology of Commerce” was voted in 2013 as the no. 1 college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools. President Clinton called “Natural Capitalism” one of the five most important books in the world. He is published in 50 countries and 30 languages. Hawken is the founder of Project Drawdown, which works with over 200 scholars, students, scientists, researchers and activists to map, measure and model the 100 most substantive solutions that can cumulatively reverse global warming by reducing and sequestering greenhouse gases. He lives in Mill Valley, Calif.,in the Cascade Creek watershed with his wife and coyotes, bobcats, red-tail hawks and flocks of nuthatches.

Astro Teller
Captain of Moonshots
Alphabet's X
Dr. Astro Teller currently oversees X, Alphabet's moonshot factory for building magical, audaciously impactful ideas that through science and technology can be brought to reality. Before joining Google/Alphabet, Teller was the co-founding C.E.O. of Cerebellum Capital, Inc., an investment management firm whose investments are continuously designed, executed and improved by a software system based on techniques from statistical machine learning. Astro was also the co-founding C.E.O. of BodyMedia, Inc., a leading wearable body monitoring company. Prior to starting BodyMedia, Teller was co-founding C.E.O. of SANDbOX AD, an advanced development technology incubator. Before his tenure as a business executive, Teller taught at Stanford University and was an engineer and researcher for Phoenix Laser Technologies, Stanford’s Center for Integrated Systems, and The Carnegie Group Incorporated. Dr. Teller holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Stanford University, Master of Science in symbolic and heuristic computation, also from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University. Through his work as a scientist, inventor and entrepreneur, Teller holds many U.S. and international patents related to his work in hardware and software technology. Teller is also a successful novelist and screenwriter.

Emily Reichert, Ph.D.
Greentown Labs
Dr. Emily Reichert serves as Chief Executive Officer of Greentown Labs, the largest clean technology start-up incubator in the United States. As the company’s first employee, Reichert has spearheaded the rapid growth of Greentown Labs into a global center for clean technology innovation, attracting visitors and partners from around the world. Reichert started her career at Arthur D. Little as a Ph.D. scientist and progressed into R&D, business development and general management roles. Prior to Greentown Labs, she was the Director of Business Operations at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry where she helped grow the angel-funded start-up into a sustainable contract R&D business with a mission to minimize environmental impact of chemical products. Reichert also served as a M.I.T. Sloan Fellow in Innovation and Global Leadership as well as a Venture Labs Fellow at Flagship Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm. She holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her M.B.A. from M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

Mark Widmar
First Solar, Inc.
Mark Widmar was named Chief Executive Officer of First Solar, Inc. in July 2016. In this role, he leads executive oversight of the $2.9 billion company’s global manufacturing, R&D, development and sales operations. He joined First Solar in April 2011 as Chief Financial Officer, and oversaw all financial operations, including financial planning and analysis, treasury, internal audit, investor relations, accounting and tax. While in that role, he also served as C.F.O. and as a Director on the board of directors of 8point3 Energy Partners, the joint yieldco formed by First Solar and SunPower to own and operate a portfolio of selected solar generation assets. Prior to joining First Solar, Widmar was the C.F.O. for Graftech International, and was also President of Graftech’s engineering solutions business. From 2005 to 2006, Widmar served as Corporate Controller for NCR Inc. Prior to his appointment to Controller, he was a business unit C.F.O. for NCR, with responsibility for setting the financial vision and strategy for a $2 billion global enterprise. Widmar has also held various financial and managerial positions with Dell, Lucent Technologies, AlliedSignal and Bristol Myers/Squibb. He began his career in 1987 as an accountant with Ernst & Young. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University and is a certified public accountant.

Mary Powell
President and C.E.O.
Green Mountain Power
Mary Powell is nationally recognized as an energy visionary, positioning Green Mountain Power as a leading energy transformation company. Delivering clean, cost-effective and highly reliable power to customers all across Vermont, GMP offers cutting-edge products and service to reduce costs and carbon. In 2017, GMP was named one of the top 10 energy companies in the world by Fast Company. Powell has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for GMP since 2008. GMP became the first utility to offer to help customers go off-grid, built Vermont’s largest wind farm, made Rutland, Vt., the Solar Generation Capital of New England, and installed smart grid technology across GMP’s service territory. In 2012, Powell led the acquisition of Central Vermont Public Service, with a promise to generate $144 million in savings for customers. GMP has grown from serving 88,000 customers in 2008 to serving over 260,000 customers, with revenues of more than $640 million and $2 billion in assets. In 2017, GMP became the first utility to offer customers the Tesla Powerwall 2.0 battery, leveraging innovation to drive down costs for all customers. In 2014, Powell was recognized by Power-Gen as the Woman of the Year, in 2015 the Burlington Free Press named her Vermonter of the Year, in 2016 Fast Company named Powell one of the 100 most creative people in business, and in 2017, she was named one of the top 25 Most Influential Women of the Mid-Market by CEO Connection.

Irene Rummelhoff
E.V.P., New Energy Solutions
Irene Rummelhoff was appointed Executive Vice President of the New Energy Solutions (N.E.S.) business area starting June 1, 2015. Her office location is in Stavanger, Norway. Her previous position was Senior Vice President for Exploration Norway. Rummelhoff has extensive commercial experience and broad value chain knowledge from her career in Statoil since 1991, particularly in the area of business development and natural gas. She has seven years of international experience, most recently as Senior Vice President for strategy and business development in North America from 2010–2014. The N.E.S. business area will focus on building a profitable renewable portfolio as well as developing lower carbon business opportunities for Statoil’s core products. Rummelhoff has been a member of the board of Norsk Hydro since June 2014. She holds a M.Sc. degree in geology/geophysics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (N.T.N.U.), 1990.

Simon Irish
Terrestrial Energy
Simon Irish is Chief Executive Officer of Terrestrial Energy. He has 20 years of global investment banking and investment management experience in New York and London. He has a formal education in the quantitative sciences and quantitative finance, and has established and managed multibillion-dollar alternative investment businesses in North America. Irish is the former Head of MGS in North America, the strategic investment division of Man Group Plc, a leading global investment management business. During his tenure at Man, Irish was responsible for building and managing the largest strategic investment and managed account business in North America. Irish was a member of the investment committee and responsible for acquisition opportunities in North America. Irish began his banking career at Credit Suisse in London, and in 2001 moved to New York as Director of FRM, the London-based investment firm, to establish its U.S. business. In 2010, he focused on opportunities in breakthrough energy technologies and specifically nuclear energy given its unparalleled energy density and the commercial potential of advanced reactors. He holds an M.A. in natural sciences from Cambridge University and a M.Sc. in finance from London Business School.

Edwin M. Lee
City and County of San Francisco
Edwin M. Lee, the 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, assumed leadership of the city in 2011, while it was experiencing the greatest economic recession since the 1930s. Under policies laid out by Mayor Lee, San Francisco has experienced its most successful economic expansion in city history, with the unemployment rate now below three percent. Lee has added more homes to the housing market than any other mayor in San Francisco. In 2014, he made a pledge to create 30,000 new and rehabilitated homes in San Francisco, and with more than 17,000 units completed, the city is well on the way to meeting that goal. He has managed to grow the economy and build homes while maintaining San Francisco’s historic environmental commitments. Under his leadership, greenhouse gas emission have dropped 28 percent. He also has made a promise to have San Francisco running on 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. The mayor has made historic investment commitments to infrastructure, parks and schools, funding them at record levels while successfully championing bond measures to improve San Francisco’s seismic standards. A native of Seattle, Wash., Lee graduated from Bowdoin College in 1974, and from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978. Prior to becoming a civil servant, he worked as a housing activist and civil rights attorney. He is married to his wife, Anita, and is the father of two daughters, Brianna and Tania.

Nancy E. Pfund
Founder and Managing Partner
DBL Partners
Nancy E. Pfund is Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, a venture capital firm whose goal is to combine top-tier financial returns with meaningful social, economic and environmental returns in the regions and sectors in which it invests. As a leading player in impact investing, DBL has helped to reveal the power of venture capital to promote social change and environmental improvement. Pfund writes and speaks frequently on the field of impact investing. Pfund currently sponsors or sits on the board of directors of several companies including: Farmers Business Network, The Muse, Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Off-Grid Electric, Primus Power and, prior to their public offerings, Tesla Motors and Pandora Media. She also served on the board of SolarCity until its acquisition by Tesla in December 2016. Prior to founding DBL, Pfund was a Managing Director in venture capital at JPMorgan, having started her investment career at Hambrecht & Quist in 1984.

Todd Brady
Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability
Intel Corporation
Todd Brady is the Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability for Intel Corporation. In this role he leads state and local government affairs, media and community relations, corporate volunteerism and sustainability at the company’s major manufacturing and office locations around the globe. In addition to overseeing regulatory and community engagement strategies in the U.S., China, Southeast Asia, Israel, Ireland and Latin America, he directs Intel’s global initiatives to make Intel “smart and green” by leading corporatewide sustainability programs such as climate, energy and water conservation, green design and the integration of internet of things (IoT) solutions to create smart and green offices, buildings and facilities of the future. During his 20+ years at Intel, Brady has represented the company publicly in numerous forums and led industrywide initiatives in many national and international committees. He has authored more than 20 papers in scientific journals and conference proceedings on a variety of sustainability topics. In 2009, he was named by Scientific American as one of 10 outstanding leaders involved in research, business or policy pursuits that have advanced science and technology. Brady holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Brigham Young University and an M.S. in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Susan Kennedy
Founder and C.E.O.
Advanced Microgrid Solutions
Before starting a groundbreaking energy storage company, Kennedy served for two decades at the highest levels of state and federal government, most recently as Chief of Staff to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Gray Davis and Communications Director for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. She served from 2003–2006 on California’s Public Utilities Commission, regulating the state’s investor-owned electric utilities, telecommunications providers and private water companies. In her numerous government roles, Kennedy was at the center of many of California’s groundbreaking environmental policies, including the carbon reduction mandate and cap-and-trade program under AB 32, the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, auto emission standards and Renewable Portfolio Standard. She coordinated the State’s emergency demand response efforts during the energy crisis of 2000–2001 and as a member of the PUC she authored what was then the largest energy efficiency program in utility history. Kennedy’s company, Advanced Microgrid Solutions, is on the leading edge of a complete transformation of the electric grid. Using advanced energy storage systems, AMS is creating the first fleet of Hybrid Electric Buildings® in the world, turning portfolios of commercial and industrial buildings into virtual power plants for Southern California Edison. In 2014 her company won the first major contract in the world to use these advanced energy storage technologies on a large scale to replace capacity from the retired facility at San Onofre nuclear facility. AMS is consistently listed as one of the top clean tech companies to watch in the US. She holds a B.A. in management from Saint Mary’s College of California.

Li Junfeng
Senior Advisor and Former Director General
National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation
Former Director General of National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (N.C.S.C.) President of Renewable Energy Professional Committee of China Energy Research Society Ninth Annual Zayed Future Energy Prize Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Li Junfeng is the former Director General of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation and he currently serves as a professor of N.C.S.C. He won the ninth annual Zayed Future Energy Prize Lifetime Achievement Award in January 2017. He also is a member of the National Energy Advisory Council, a member of the expert committee of the National High-tech Program, a member of the National Environmental Scientific Committee and a member of the expert committee of the National Energy Administration. He also serves as a consultant of low carbon development for Beijing, Shanghai and Shanxi Provincial People’s Government. Meanwhile, he was invited to be a professor and doctoral supervisor by Peking University and Renmin University and other Chinese colleges and universities. From 2011 to 2016, Li served as the Director General of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (N.C.S.C.). From 1982 to 2011, he has dedicated nearly three decades working in the Energy Research Institute of National Development and Reform Commission (N.D.R.C.) and used to serve as the Deputy Director General of E.R.I. and was the Chair of the Academic Committee of E.R.I. for more than 10 years. His major publications include “National Low Carbon Energy Strategy Study,” “Climate Issues in China,” “Renewable Energy Development Strategy in China” and “Wind Power 12 in China.” And he has been the chief lead author for the development of Chinese renewable energy law and the I.P.C.C. second, third and fourth assessment reports.

Raj Kapoor
Chief Strategy Officer
Raj Kapoor is Chief Strategy Officer at Lyft, where he oversees all of the company’s strategic decisions related to self-driving initiatives, mobility and business partnerships. He was Lyft’s first venture capitalist investor and served on the board of Zimride, Lyft’s predecessor. Previously, Kapoor served as the C.E.O. and Co-Founder of Fitmob (now known as ClassPass) and Snapfish, Managing Director at Mayfield Fund and as an executive at Excite@Home. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering and robotics from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Josh Haner
Staff Photographer and Senior Editor
The New York Times
Josh Haner is a Staff Photographer and the Senior Editor for photo technology at The New York Times. He was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for his photo essay documenting the arduous recovery of Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings who lost both his legs and painfully rebuilt his life. Mr. Haner is an F.A.A.-licensed drone pilot having worked with Virginia Tech as part of the F.A.A.’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership to advise on how to safely use unmanned aerial vehicles for newsgathering. His photography and video journalism has been honored with awards from World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International and the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism. He has been published in numerous publications including National Geographic, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Time and Rolling Stone. He graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in studio art (photography) and a B.S. in symbolic systems. He spends his free time backpacking in the Sierra Nevada in California. Mr. Haner lives in San Francisco.

Michael Shellenberger
Founder and President
Environmental Progress
Michael Shellenberger is a Time magazine Hero of the Environment and Green Book Award-winning author and policy expert. He has made the intertwined moral and scientific case for energy and environmental justice in “An Ecomodernist Manifesto,” written with 17 other leading scholars and scientists, in “Why Energy Transitions Are the Key to Environmental Progress,” coauthored with Rachel Pritzker, and a TEDx talk “How Humans Save Nature.” Shellenberger is a leading pro-nuclear environmentalist. He was featured in “Pandora’s Promise,” an award-winning film about environmentalists who changed their minds about nuclear, appeared on “The Colbert Report” and debated nuclear on CNN’s “Crossfire” with Ralph Nader, and at U.C.L.A. with Mark Jacobsen. His 2016 TED talk is on “How Fear of Nuclear Hurts the Environment.” Shellenberger is co-author of visionary books and essays including “The Death of Environmentalism,” “Break Through,” “An Ecomodernist Manifesto,” “Evolve” and “Love Your Monsters,” and for publications ranging from Scientific American, to Nature Energy and PLOS Biology to The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Shellenberger’s 2007 book with Ted Nordhaus, “Break Through,” was called “prescient” by Time and “the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’” by Wired Magazine. Shellenberger is Co-Founder and Senior Fellow at Breakthrough Institute where he was president from 2003–2015, adviser to M.I.T.’s Future of Nuclear Energy task force, and Founder and President of Environmental Progress. Shellenberger lives in Berkeley, Calif., and travels widely.

Kathleen McLaughlin
Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Walmart
President, Walmart Foundation
Kathleen McLaughlin is responsible for programs that help Walmart create economic opportunity through jobs and sourcing; enhance the sustainability of food, apparel and general merchandise supply chains; and strengthen the resilience of local communities. Through business initiatives and philanthropy, her teams work with Walmart associates, suppliers, nonprofit organizations and others to drive significant and lasting improvements to economic, social and environmental systems. Last year, the company awarded more than $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind donations, including $1 billion of food donations. McLaughlin serves on the board of the Council on Foundations, and is a member of CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative advisory board. Before joining Walmart in 2013, she spent over 20 years with the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. McLaughlin earned a Bachelor of Science from Boston University in electrical engineering, as well as Master of Arts in politics, philosophy and economics from Balliol College at Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar. She also has a diploma in theology from Oxford. She is married with three children and divides her time between Bentonville, Ark., and Toronto, Ontario.

Uma Valeti
Co-Founder and C.E.O.
Memphis Meats
Memphis Meats is leading the “clean meat” movement. The company plans to transform animal agriculture by producing meat directly from animal cells, without raising and slaughtering animals. Meat is a near-trillion dollar global market, yet conventional meat production is extremely resource-inefficient and hasn’t changed meaningfully in a thousand years. Memphis Meats is producing real meat that is completely familiar and satisfying to meat-eaters, with significant benefits to the environment, animals and human health. The company has already pioneered the world’s first multi-animal clean meat platform and made history by releasing chicken, duck and beef grown directly from animal cells. At scale, the company expects to produce meat less expensively than conventional factory farming, and win in a massive market. Uma Valeti is a cardiologist, entrepreneur, and the C.E.O. and co-founder of Memphis Meats. As the chief visionary of Memphis Meats, Valeti sets the strategic direction and oversees the development of clean meat technologies with a focus on commercialization. Valeti’s mission is to feed the world’s growing population with meat that is delicious, affordable and sustainable. A Mayo Clinic cardiologist by training, Valeti has served in numerous leadership roles at the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and cofounded or invested in several medical device and food tech startups.

Seleta Reynolds
General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Transportation
Seleta Reynolds is General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) appointed by the administration of Mayor Eric Garcetti. Reynolds is responsible for implementing Great Streets for Los Angeles, a plan to reduce traffic fatalities, double the number of people riding bikes, and expand access to integrated transportation choices for Angelinos and the region. Reynolds has over 18 years of transportation experience throughout the United States. She has advised transportation technology companies like WalkScore, contributed to the state-of-the-practice as an Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals board member, mentored young professionals through Women’s Transportation Seminar, and nurtured research on Transportation Research Board committees. Reynolds serves as the President of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. The Department of Transportation leads transportation planning, design, construction, maintenance and operations within the City of Los Angeles. We work together and partner with other agencies to improve safe, accessible transportation services and infrastructure in the city and region.

Justin Gillis
Former Climate Reporter
The New York Times
Justin Gillis is an author and consultant working on a book about how to solve global warming. He spent nearly a decade as a reporter for The New York Times covering environmental science, with a special focus on climate change. He was the author of a Times series called Temperature Rising that ran from 2010 to 2013 and updated readers on major developments in climate science, winning the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism from Columbia University. He was also the principal author in 2014 of a series called The Big Fix that critically examined proposed solutions to climate change. He was part of the Times team that covered the Paris climate conference in December 2015. More recently, he traveled to Antarctica twice last year to produce a series of articles on the risk that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will collapse in a warming world. He is a native of southern Georgia and a graduate of the University of Georgia, in journalism. Earlier in his career he worked at The Associated Press, the Miami Herald and The Washington Post. For the latter newspaper, he covered genetics, biotechnology and the completion of the Human Genome Project.

Xavier Helgesen
Co-Founder and C.E.O.
Off Grid Electric
Xavier Helgesen is the Co-Founder and C.E.O. of Off Grid Electric, a leading distributed solar energy company focused in Africa. Off Grid Electric has raised over $100 million to make solar energy and storage affordable to the mass market via pre-paid, plug and play technology. The company’s investors include Tesla, EDF, Total, DBL Partners and Helios Partners. He is also the Co-Founder of Better World Books, a leading social enterprise that has raised over $20 million for global literacy and donated tens of millions of books. In 2009, he was recognized as the Best Social Entrepreneur by Businessweek and given the Fast Company Social Capitalist Award. Helgesen holds an M.B.A. from Oxford Saïd Business School, which he attended on a Skoll Scholarship, and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

David Keith
Harvard’s Schools of Engineering and of Public Policy
David Keith has worked near the interface between climate science, energy technology and public policy for 25 years. He took first prize in Canada’s national physics prize exam, won M.I.T.’s prize for excellence in experimental physics and was one of TIME magazine’s Heroes of the Environment. Keith is Professor of Applied Physics in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Public Policy in the Harvard Kennedy School, and Founder of Carbon Engineering, a company developing technology to capture CO2 from ambient air to make carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels. Best known for work on the science, technology and public policy of solar geoengineering, Keith has led the development of Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program, a Harvard-wide interfaculty research initiative. Keith’s work has ranged from the climatic impacts of large-scale wind power to an early critique of the prospects for hydrogen fuel. Keith’s hardware engineering projects include the first interferometer for atoms, a high-accuracy infrared spectrometer for NASA’s ER-2 and, currently, development of CO2 capture pilot plants for Carbon Engineering. Keith teaches courses on science and technology policy and on energy and environmental systems where he has reached students worldwide with an online edX course. He has written for the public with “A Case for Climate Engineering” from MIT Press. Based in Cambridge, Keith spends about a third of his time in Canmore, Alberta.

Aaswath Raman
SkyCool Systems
Aaswath Raman is Co-Founder of SkyCool Systems, a start-up advancing a revolutionary approach to tackling one of our biggest energy challenges: cooling. As founding C.E.O. of SkyCool Systems, Raman has led the commercialization and development of radiative sky cooling, a technology that he developed as a research scientist at Stanford University. Raman received his Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University in 2013, and his A.B. in physics and astronomy, and M.S. in computer science from Harvard University in 2006. He has published more than 25 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals including Nature, Nature Energy and Physical Review Letters. Prior to obtaining his Ph.D. he was a Program Manager at Microsoft. Passionate about the intersection of technology and development work, he has previously collaborated on projects to redesign refugee camps with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and to rethink governance in rural Sierra Leone. He is the recipient of the Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction from the Government of Alberta, Canada, the SPIE Green Photonics Award for his work on solar cell research, and the Stanford Postdoctoral Research Award. In recognition of his breakthroughs in developing radiative sky cooling, in 2015 Raman was named one of MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 (TR35) as an Energy Pioneer.

Mark Thompson
President and C.E.O.
The New York Times Company
Mark Thompson became President and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Times Company in November 2012. Since that time, he has directed the Company’s strategy and presided over an expansion of its digital and global operations. Previously, Thompson served as Director-General of the BBC, where he ensured that it remained a leading innovator with the launch of services like the BBC iPlayer. Thompson joined the BBC in 1979. He left for two years in 2002 to become C.E.O. of Channel 4 Television in the U.K. before returning in 2004 as Director-General. His book “Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong With the Language of Politics?” which is based on lectures he gave as a visiting professor at Oxford University, was published in the U.K. and U.S. in September 2016.


Watch full sessions from last year's conference.


Agenda is subject to change.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Cocktail Reception5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Opening Dinner and Program6:30 PM - 8:45 PM
Opening Video and Welcome from Host6:35 PM - 6:45 PM
State of Play: California Becomes a Global Force 7:40 PM - 8:05 PM
Nightcaps8:45 PM
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Breakfast and Registration8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Introductory Remarks 9:00 AM - 9:05 AM
"Later" to "Now"9:05 AM - 9:15 AM
X-Factor 9:15 AM - 9:40 AM
Gridlock9:40 AM - 10:05 AM
Idea Lab: Meat 2.010:05 AM - 10:15 AM
Place Your Bets10:15 AM - 10:40 AM
Refreshment Break10:40 AM - 11:10 AM
The Private Sector Steps Up11:10 AM - 11:35 AM
China: A Force Multiplier 11:35 AM - 12:00 PM
Idea Lab: Keep It Cool12:00 PM - 12:10 PM
Energy Crossroads12:10 PM - 12:30 PM
Lunch12:35 PM - 1:50 PM
Smart Move: The Mobility Revolution1:50 PM - 2:15 PM
Idea Lab: Plan B for the Planet2:15 PM - 2:25 PM
What’s New in Renewables?2:25 PM - 2:50 PM
Out on the Frontlines2:50 PM - 3:15 PM
Refreshment Break3:15 PM - 3:45 PM
Bright Lights, Big Challenges3:45 PM - 4:10 PM
Untying the Nuclear Knot4:10 PM - 4:35 PM
Idea Lab: Think Globally, Power Locally4:35 PM - 4:45 PM
Can We Do It?4:45 PM - 5:15 PM
Closing Remarks5:15 PM - 5:20 PM

Supporting Sponsor

Innovation Showcase Sponsor

Media Sponsors


Align your brand with influential consumers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries through high-impact integrations. Host delegates at private cocktail or dinner receptions, conduct on-site polling, develop custom content, display product and amplify your sponsorship through on-site branding and extensive print, digital and social media promotion.
For more information on sponsorship opportunities,
please email 


U.S. Sponsorship Team
Adenike Olanrewaju
Kelsey Fowler
Lena Shemel