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White House Officials Call On Silicon Valley Companies to Develop, Deploy, and Commercialize Climate Solutions at SVLG Summit

By ET Bureau - June 28, 2021 4 Mins Read

White House Officials Call On Silicon Valley Companies to Develop_ Deploy_ and Commercialize Climate Solutions at SVLG Summit-01

Today the White House’s top climate officials stressed the critical role that Silicon Valley companies will play in tackling the climate crisis at the Race to Net Zero Summit, presented by PG&E and Genentech. It included an urgent call by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry to invest, scale and commercialize emerging solutions to achieve a cleaner and more resilient economy.

“Government action alone will not be enough,” said Secretary Kerry. “That’s where Silicon Valley steps in. We need to supercharge the deployment of technologies that already exist, and we need to find out how to do some things we can’t do yet today.”

The summit, convened by Silicon Valley Leadership Group, also featured White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan; Acting Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities Melissa Dalton; as well as the CEOs of PG&E, Lucid, Logitech, ChargePoint, the UN Global Compact, and more.

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In his remarks, Special Presidential Envoy Kerry emphasized that the net zero transition represents the greatest market transformation since the Industrial Revolution and presents tremendous growth opportunities. Another key highlight included a call from Advisor McCarthy to Silicon Valley to collaborate with federal officials on prioritizing the infrastructure and clean energy investments needed to jumpstart innovation and foster domestic job growth.

“I want you to say that we can do this; I want you to say you have the technologies, the business savvy and the practices and that you’re going to be transparent about the risks,” said Advisor McCarthy. “We will be there to make sure the federal government doesn’t take the field but we set it, we seed it in a way that businesses can thrive.”

In a conversation with SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas, EPA Administrator Michael Regan discussed the Biden-Harris Administration ambitious climate agenda. He pointed to EPA’s commitment to encouraging innovation and greater prosperity for all while addressing communities of color that are disproportionately vulnerable to climate impacts.

“The good news is that I don’t believe we need a tradeoff between innovation and fighting climate change impacts,” said Administrator Regan. “The President’s plan recognizes that climate action presents an unprecedented opportunity for the U.S. to build stronger, to leverage American ingenuity, and to create more clean energy jobs here at home.”

In a local segment, PG&E CEO Patti Poppe spoke about expanding PG&E’s clean energy supply and the company’s efforts to adapt to the challenges of climate change in California including developing innovative wildfire protection solutions to minimize shutoffs.

“I do think there is no more important place in the world than this area and the role that PG&E can play as a key enabler to thwarting climate change,” said Poppe.

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SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas noted that the Race to Net Zero event represented one of the most significant conversations on climate in the region in recent memory.

“The only way to drive the bold solutions we need to address the climate crisis is by leveraging the unique innovation ecosystem of Silicon Valley to save the world’s ecosystem. Getting to a Net Zero world requires building a meaningful partnership between federal, state and local governments, the nonprofit community, and our businesses.”

Melissa G. Dalton, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, pointed to multiple climate change challenges confronted today by the Pentagon — increased migration pressures, severe weather damaging U.S. military bases, and greater competition for scarce resources. She also highlighted the military’s new sustainable procurement practices.

“[Climate change] is a priority for the President, it’s a priority for Secretary of Defense Austin,” said Assistant Secretary Dalton. “He has noted that climate change is making the world more unsafe, and we need to act.”

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