ASPEN, Colo., Aug. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI) CEO Chip Comins has confirmed that billionaire philanthropist and NextGen Climate Founder Tom Steyer will speak at AREI's 11th American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) Summit August 10-13, 2014 in Aspen, Colorado. The Summit features 125 scientists, educators, international business leaders, financial experts, student activists, renewable energy authorities and technology innovators.
Steyer will participate in the panel "Can a Political Agenda Be Achieved that Meets the Urgency of the Climate Change Crisis?" on Tuesday, August 12 at 3:30pm. Other panelists include League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski and Former President of the National Wildlife Federation Larry Schweiger. AREI President Sally Ranney will moderate. Ranney has worked with three U.S. Presidents on environmental agendas.
Steyer will also discuss "Politics, Climate Change & History," an armchair conversation with historian and Rice University Professor Douglas Brinkley on August 13 at 8:45am. Brinkley authored The Reagan Diaries, The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast and more.
Steyer's name has been at the forefront of national news since February, when he announced a $100 million campaign to fight climate change. Steyer's campaign – $50 million of his own, $50 million to be raised by his PAC, NextGen Climate –means to encourage action on global warming by helping elect candidates who support such measures.
The New York Times said the move would make NextGen "among the largest outside groups in the country, similar in scale to the conservative political network overseen by Charles and David Koch." Steyer plans to finance political campaigns in seven key states, aimed at Democratic victory in the 2014 midterms and 2016 presidential race.
Steyer founded equity management firm Farallon Capital Management in 1986. He sold his stake in 2012 and no longer earns a share of its profits. Eager to find anything that may tarnish his green label, critics have been quick to point out Farallon's investments in the coal industry.
In a July op-ed for Politico, Steyer addressed his past, saying "It's true—Farallon did make fossil fuel investments under my watch. But the more I learned about the climate problems we face, the more I realized I had to change my life. I concluded that the best way to align my work with my beliefs was to make a real change—leaving my role managing a firm with investments across the industrial spectrum, and joining in the global effort to find a solution to climate change once and for all." He says that, as of June 30, he's divested his personal holdings from the fossil fuel industry.
It's notable that one of the blogs that's written extensively about Farallon's investments in the coal industry – PowerLine – is led by John Hinderaker, a partner in a law firm that, according to a 2011 ThinkProgress report, counts fossil fuel conglomerate Koch Industries as a major client.
"Steyer has done something that's still far too unusual: He's admitting he was wrong on climate change and that he wants to rectify it. It's that kind of honesty we'll all need to embrace if we're to face the steep climb of remaking the global economy into one that isn't tied to carbon," wrote Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist who writes about climate, in a July article for Slate.
Steyer will receive this year's AREI Climate Hero Award at the AREDAY Summit.
About AREDAY – The 2014 AREDAY Summit takes place August 10-13, 2014 at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colo. The agenda includes a multi-day speaker series with over 125 speakers, a film festival and other events. AREDAY offers attendees the opportunity to engage with clean energy world leaders from the public and private sectors, including the fields of finance, investment, solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and new energy technologies. Passes can be purchased on the Registration Page of the AREDAY website, or through the Wheeler Box Office, 970-920-5770. For more information, visit www.areday.net. AREDAY is a program of the American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI), a registered 501(c)(3) organization based in Colorado.
Darnauer Group Communications