Author: Steve McDougal

Steve McDougal is CEO and co-founder of 3Degrees. Steve oversees the company’s day-to-day operations while directing the development of corporate strategy.

2021: Resolutions for Action

Resolutions for Action

As I reflect on 2020 and our goals for the new year, I’m humbled by the enormity of the challenges we face. During his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden’s remarks noted cascading crises, including “A raging virus. Growing inequity. The sting of systemic racism. A climate in crisis.” Throughout the past year, 3Degrees has been on our own journey to bring these issues to light.

Leadership through a global pandemic

When I’d imagined potential challenges I might encounter as CEO of 3Degrees, supporting employees through a global pandemic wasn’t one of them. Yet, here we are… working to keep employees safe and supported, including the pandemic transition to a 100% remote workforce. 3Degrees’ value of respect for our employees drove our decision to bolster the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) of partial paid time off for employees who qualified. We not only allowed employees who had exhausted Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off to use FFCRA, we also ensured that anyone who took the time off received full pay. The realities of the global pandemic, ongoing racial injustices, and remote work have affected everyone in different ways. Like many leaders, I’ve been looking for ideas for how to best support our employees as they navigate these overlapping crises. Case in point: we made the decision to close business from December 24 – January 1 to provide an opportunity for employees to recharge and rejuvenate. It was one concrete action we could take to support our hardworking team.

Our role in addressing systemic racism

I am reminded of the devastating impacts of systemic racism in the wake of the killings of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.

We — as organizations and as individuals — must recognize, address, and dismantle systemic racism.

Over the past year, we have been creating our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) action plan, establishing an accountability team, and overhauling our recruitment process. During a recent meeting of our internal DEI Accountability Team, we engaged in a frank discussion about where we see progress and where we’re still falling short. As we reflect on how to prioritize action, I draw upon insights from Erasing Institutional Bias: How to Create Systemic Change for Organizational Inclusion by Dr. Tiffany Jana and Ashley Diaz Mejias, a book recommended by our employee-led DEI Business Resource Group. I remain committed to transparency and will continue to provide updates on 3Degrees’ progress and lessons learned as we dig into this work.

A new dawn for climate action

The catastrophic reality of climate change is becoming poignantly and terrifyingly clear. Last fall, many of our employees experienced evacuation orders related to wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington. The historic size and spread of these wildfires was a frightening reminder about the impacts of climate change, and one that hit very close to home. Unfortunately, the U.S., the second largest emitter of GHG emissions on the world, continues to lag in our climate action efforts. While overall U.S. emissions fell below 1990 levels for the first time in three decades, these reductions reflect the pandemic’s economic and human toll, not significant structural changes in the carbon intensity of the U.S. economy, as noted by Rhodium’s recent report. However, last week, I got a boost of optimism when President Biden took action to recommit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord hours after taking office. With this renewed sense of urgency around climate action, we are more committed than ever to partnering with organizations that are establishing bold plans to achieve net zero emissions. 

As we close the first month of 2021, I am hopeful that all three of these critical issues are now a national (as well as global) priority.

If I’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that we need the collective power of everyone — government, businesses, and individuals — to address these cascading crises.

Empathy, self-examination, and commitment to do better has come through during an incredibly trying year. Our resolutions for the new year include harnessing those qualities to lead us through to a brighter future. What steps are you taking to tackle the challenges ahead?

Inspiration and Accountability from the B Corp Movement

remote worker on video call b corp mug

Here’s how the B Corp movement guides businesses like ours in the necessary work to do better.

3Degrees was recently recertified as a B Corporation, and we’ve been part of the movement to use business as a force for good for eight years and counting. It’s hard to imagine a more poignant time to receive this news than September 2020, when 3Degrees’ employees and our neighbors are facing challenges that continue to mount. After six months of working remotely during a global pandemic, many of our teammates are also dealing with kids going back to virtual school, the immediate threats of extreme weather, and so much more. 

I think it’s safe to say that all of us recognize a clear need to make things better. It’s clear that the devastating impacts of climate change are already here. It’s clear that workers need and deserve respect, care, and thoughtful leadership from their employers. It’s clear that we must build toward a better, more equitable future. 

The B Corp movement has been an important source of grounding, guidance, and inspiration for our company. Especially today, the commitment to positive action within our B Corp community gives me great hope for tomorrow.

Why B Corps Matter, Now More Than Ever

Sustainable Capitalism

The B Corp movement is about creating a new version of capitalism, one that sustains and even improves our society. The B Corp vision calls for more than financial gains for a few; Certified B Corporations commit to stakeholder capitalism, in which business serves not just shareholders but also stakeholders: customers, suppliers, employees, and communities. This is a vision recognized by nearly 200 Business Roundtable CEOs, representing major U.S. companies. And now is the time for businesses to commit to this vision.

3Degrees arrived at this vision partially because we started this business to create positive change. The climate emergency was clear to us when we founded 3Degrees, and when we learned about B Corp certification we didn’t hesitate to pursue it (read our full B Corp story here). Despite challenging financial times for our business, we invested in becoming a B Corp and were certified in 2012.  

As 3Degrees has worked to address climate impact around the world in recent years, we’re proud to see the B Corp model being embraced by global business leaders, and crucially, large companies as well. This month, four multinational B Corp companies launched the B Movement Builders initiative, challenging large companies with at least $1B in revenue to adopt the B Corp vision. It’s heartening to see other leaders stepping up in spite of, and because of, the challenges humans face today. 

As Hallvard Bremnes, Global Head of Sustainability at Givaudan, says: “The current situation has even more acutely shown the interdependence between performance and purpose and our need to play a role in changing the balance of this dynamic for Givaudan and beyond.”

Meaningful Climate Action

When your business becomes a B Corp, you declare that “business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered. … and thus we are responsible for each other and future generations.”

3Degrees’ business is built around climate action, and we see the urgency for all businesses to do more to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and negative climate impacts. That’s where the B Corp Climate Collective and its Net Zero challenge come into the picture. 

In December 2019, we joined 500+ B Corps in a pledge to reach Net Zero by 2030. That’s an aggressive goal for most companies – and 20 years short of the 2050 goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, today the Net Zero by 2030 list is more than 700 companies long! We’re looking forward to the progress this strong coalition will make in the months and years to come.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

There is no climate justice without social justice.

2020 is teaching us many lessons, and one of the most important lessons for me is that business leaders must fight for racial justice and equity.

The police killings of Black Americans, subsequent police violence at protests across the country, and so much more makes it impossible — and unconscionable — for people with privilege to ignore the continued racism and inequality in our institutions. 

At 3Degrees, we’ve been working to undo our own role in upholding inequitable systems. We’ve learned that meaningful climate action must be anti-racist and equitable. And now we’re learning how to practice these lessons. Once again the B Corp community helps guide us and hold ourselves accountable with climate justice resources, working groups, and more.

Businesses for a better future

If you’re still with me, and you’re in the business world, I want to challenge you to consider how your company can contribute to a better future. The turmoil around us makes it hard to see the forest for the trees, but it’s so important that you try. Because our current challenges only underscore the reasons why every business must take action now to be a part of something better. For 3Degrees, the B Corp community has helped us do that. Our B Corp certification has helped us achieve more than we thought possible, and we commit to doing even more in the future. 

I hope it can be a guide for you, too. The B Impact Assessment, a free tool to measure your business’s impact, is a great place to start.

Meaningful climate action must address anti-racism and equity

2020 has been a year of disruption. The ongoing, systemic oppression of Black Americans, including police violence, highlights how much work needs to be done to bring true equity to our society. This has been an awakening for me. We all must do more, and we all have to do better. And, as 3Degrees’ CEO, I have an obligation to do everything I can. Here are some of my reflections:

As a U.S.-headquartered company in the clean energy industry – which is historically dominated by white men 3Degrees is part of a messy, complicated, and unjust history of systemic racism. White supremacy has been woven into the fabric of the United States and, whether we’ve even realized its existence or not, white people like me have benefited from it. We all have an urgent responsibility to recognize the characteristics of white supremacy culture and help dismantle it. That will require a constant, unyielding devotion to racial justice, inside and outside of our business. We have a part to play in changing the future, and as CEO I am committed to making changes — both in our organization and in our industry.

Diversity is one of 3Degrees’ company values. This June, the 3Degrees team has been discussing what it means to be an anti-racist organization, particularly in the context of our mission to make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change. Last Friday, we paused business for a day to provide employees with a day of reflection and action in honor of Juneteenth. The fight against climate change is intertwined with dismantling the racist systems in America and indeed throughout the world. As we shared in a public statement earlier this month:

We recognize that climate change has a disproportionately negative impact on Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color. Urgent action on climate must also acknowledge, explore, and advance equity and inclusion in marginalized communities. Our efforts to date have fallen short. The lack of racial diversity at 3Degrees and throughout our industry, especially in leadership positions, contributes to a void in recognizing problems and developing solutions. This is one reality (among others) that we are committed to changing.

I am on my own journey to be an anti-racist leader, which includes learning more about the history of racial oppression and unpacking my own biases. When an employee-led group focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion formed in 2016, I enthusiastically supported the concept, but I didn’t really know where it was headed or what my real investment would need to be. Suddenly I found myself in discussions on new topics, terminology, and a requirement to define what diversity means for our company. These discussions frequently pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone and tested my decision-making, risk aversion, and commitment to doing the tough work. 

As our work continues, I’m more aware of why I get uncomfortable and I’m pushing myself to share openly. I’m learning to be a better listener and to accept feedback. I’m ready to invest more of my own time and company resources to make change happen. I know the team at 3Degrees is with me in this work, and I look forward to what we will do together — within our organization, our industry, and with our partners and clients — to dismantle white supremacy and build an equitable future for people and the planet. I invite you to join me.

Staying Connected on What Matters

bench overlooking nature

We’ve all probably heard the phrase, “If you don’t have your health, nothing else matters”. Given the current global pandemic situation, this phrase has never felt more true. 

We want to let you — our trusted clients, friends, partners, and colleagues — know that 3Degrees is committed to staying connected with you on what matters.

Right now, we understand that most of you are grappling with new workplace and home realities. So are we. Following guidance from CDC and local authorities, 3Degrees closed our physical offices in March. Like most of you, we are adjusting to working remotely, sometimes with pets and/or children making cameo appearances on video calls. Many of us are also managing other stresses, such as worrying about elderly loved ones, being unable to visit sick and elderly parents, or having to cancel once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings, graduations, and memorials. The effects are far-reaching and deeply personal. 

While these are unsettling times, they’re also a heartening reminder how individuals and communities can pull together to confront a common challenge. We’ve already seen examples of how this global pandemic is spurring amazing creativity and innovation that should provide lasting benefits long after we are on the other side of the current crisis. Many of the same characteristics that are critical to an effective COVID-19 response, such as compassion, perseverance, and care for vulnerable populations disproportionately affected, are also critical to addressing the longer-term, ongoing challenge of climate change. 

We remain passionate about our mission to help businesses and their customers take urgent action on climate change — which remains a critical issue. And, people’s health, their families, and their livelihoods are what’s currently weighing on everyone’s mind. Focusing your attention on these important concerns right now is understandable. And 3Degrees will continue to be here when you’re ready to re-engage in efforts around renewable energy, transportation decarbonization, and other climate solutions. 

Looking ahead, we’re working on many ways we can stay connected remotely. On the immediate horizon, we’ll be participating in an April 14th webinar with Bloom Energy on GHG Accounting and Emissions Reduction Techniques. If you’re ready to engage, we’d love for you to join us. And yes, kids and pets are welcome to make cameo appearances.

Here’s to staying connected on what matters.

New Year, Renewed Ambition — A Note from our CEO


First, let me wish each of you a happy new year.  I hope everyone was able to recharge over the holidays and feels ready to jump into 2020 at full force. Though we’re only a few weeks in, I can already tell the year ahead is going to be a whirlwind as organizations across the globe continue 2019’s positive momentum on climate action.  Why do I believe that? Here’s a quick story for you…

When Dan Kalafatas and I started 3Degrees over a decade ago, I was spearheading sales and I honestly thought my phone wasn’t working (sadly, it was). I would make dozens of calls a week, and literally nobody called me back. Fast forward to today, January 2020, and it’s a completely different world. Corporate and utility organizations alike are proactively reaching out to us for help with their renewable energy, transportation, and climate solutions work. In fact, 3Degrees added nearly 30% more staff in 2019, including new international hires, and had to move offices to accommodate this growth.

While much of the climate news these days can be disheartening, I offer this as a piece of good news. This growth is a direct reflection of an increasing number of organizations holding themselves accountable and stepping up to take climate action — which, as we all know, is desperately needed. I see no signs of this slowing down in 2020.  

Here are a few examples of developments that I find most promising right now:

  1. Accelerating corporate commitments. From the historic pledge taken by over 500 B Corps – including 3Degrees –  to get to Net Zero by 2030 (20 years ahead of the targets set in the Paris Agreement), announced in December at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25, to tech giant Microsoft’s recent headline-grabbing announcement that it will be carbon negative by 2030, as well as launch a $1B carbon innovation fund, we’re seeing an acceleration of companies willing to step up and take meaningful climate action.
  2. Increased focus on transportation emissions. In 2016, the transportation sector surpassed the power sector as the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses (GHG) in the U.S. We clearly have our work cut out for us to address this rather significant challenge. That said, it’s been encouraging to see companies such as Lyft and Etsy take initial steps to address their Scope 3, transportation-related emissions by investing in carbon offsets in the near-term, while they work on longer-term solutions. Our team is also working with more clients on broader transportation-related solutions, including fleet electrification strategies, and incentive programs such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in California.
  3. Utilities are also stepping up to the challenge. As highlighted in this article from Greentech Media last week, several major electric utilities are setting carbon-free targets, which is an important step forward. While there is still huge variation in how the country’s biggest utilities are addressing climate change, these bold commitments are a positive sign.
  4. Inspirational youth movement. As I wrote in a blog post following the Global Climate Strike last September, I’ve been thinking a lot about the legacy that we will leave behind for the next generation and I’m energized by the incredible leadership that this generation is already demonstrating.

Here’s wishing you and your organization a sustainable and action-oriented new year and decade, with a renewed passion for doing all we can to address the climate challenge.

Steve McDougal
CEO, 3Degrees

Fueling a Cleaner Future — Reflections from VERGE 19

Verge 2019

Last week, I was part of the Low-Carbon and EV Fleet workshop at VERGE 19. Katie Fehrenbacher from GreenBiz did a great job bringing together thought leaders across business and policy to dive into the opportunities and challenges around decarbonizing transportation.

Real world fleet transition challenges

I had the opportunity to moderate a panel with three leaders who manage their organizations’ fleet transitions: Julie Johnson, National Business Development-Advanced Vehicle Techs, Ryder System, Inc.; Michael McDonald, Director of Maintenance and Engineering for Sustainability and Government Affairs, UPS; and Mike O’Connell, Vice President of Supply Chain, PepsiCo.

Steve McDougal Verge 19

Steve McDougal with panelists (L to R): Michael McDonald, Julie Johnson, and Mike O’Connell

The panelists were candid about the challenges of overall vehicle reliability — even as the technology for low-carbon and EV fleets continues to make significant progress. While all the panelists value reliability, it presents a different degree of risk to their respective business models. Case in point: Mike O’Connell noted that PepsiCo’s vehicles deliver and restock its distributors’ inventory. However, even if there’s an issue that delays the vehicle, consumers will likely still be able to get their drinks and chips. In contrast, if/when UPS experiences an issue with vehicle reliability, customers don’t get their packages. Similarly, Ryder’s customers expect reliable uptime when they lease fleets from the company. There is no back-up inventory for the delivery of packages or uptime of leased vehicles.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that each panelist emphasized the diversity of their fleets’ alternative fuel portfolio to include both alternative fuels and EVs. Maintaining fuel diversity has been an important approach to mitigate the challenge of reliability. Consider that UPS has announced plans to add more than 6,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks that can run on both renewable natural gas (RNG) and conventional natural gas. Given these plans, UPS is the largest consumer of RNG in the transportation industry.

And the potential impact is significant: RNG yields up to a 90 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional diesel, as noted by UPS.

Scalability was another theme as these panelists shared insights from their experiences in managing fleet transitions. Their vision is to move beyond demonstration projects and pilots. Mike O’Connell from PepsiCo shared, “We can all do five or ten of something but it doesn’t make sense unless it can scale to 100 or more.” And the panelists noted that it can take time to build up infrastructure and vehicles for these other fueling options.

The role of market-based incentives in accelerating the transition

Jennifer Cohn

Jennifer Cohn with 3Degrees, speaking about incentives to transition to low-carbon fleets

In another session, my colleague Jennifer Cohn provided an overview of “How Incentives Can Accelerate the Transition to Low-Carbon Fleets.” She focused on the low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) as a key example of an important market-based instrument that organizations can leverage. This program is relevant for anyone operating fleets in California, Oregon, and/or British Columbia — particularly organizations with electric vehicles in their fleets or charging infrastructure on their campuses.

Run by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the LCFS aims to reduce the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuel pool. LCFS is based on life-cycle emissions of the fuel — from production to consumption. The lower the carbon intensity of alternative fuels — ethanol, bio-diesel, electricity, etc. — the more LCFS credits can be generated. While EVs may have zero tailpipe emissions, you can make the inputs greener by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs) to match charging output.

The total value of LCFS credit transactions exceeded $2 billion in 2018. Credit prices are driven by market supply/demand and have been historically volatile — but they are now at an all-time high of ~$200 per credit. As these are “market-based” incentives, there is an element of risk that is important to manage. 3Degrees advises our clients on this and sometimes even hedges that risk on their behalf.

An interesting finding – when Jennifer asked the workshop attendees who had heard of LCFS, almost every hand in the room went up. But when she asked who was actually taking advantage of the LCFS program, only two hands remained.

The takeaway? Many organizations are leaving significant money on the table — and also have an opportunity to make an even larger impact on the decarbonization of transportation.

I look forward to seeing many more businesses make greater headway here in the near future, for their own benefit — and that of the climate.

Standing Together with the Global Youth Climate Movement

3D employees at the climate strike sept 20

On Friday, September 20th, I stood together with the youth climate strikers in Chicago. That day was likely the largest climate protest in world history. It was a historic moment in the youth climate strike movement as a groundswell of adults joined in solidarity to show their support and amplify the demand for transformative action to address the climate crisis. On a personal level, this timing offered a poignant reminder for me about the importance of intergenerational responsibility as we dropped off our youngest son at college.


Steve McDougal at the Chicago climate strike 

As I think about the legacy we will leave behind for the next generation, I am filled with both optimism and concern. That particular blend of emotions has been a common experience for me in my roles as a parent and as a business leader. My optimism comes from what I see in my role as CEO of 3Degrees, a renewable energy and climate specialist. 3Degrees is committed to urgent action on climate change — our entire organizational ecosystem is built around that. It is inspiring to see the passion that our employees bring to their daily work and their commitment to achieving impact through groundbreaking work for our clients. So that definitely fills up the optimism bucket.

But on the other hand, as the youth climate strikers relentlessly remind us, we are still not on the right path to avoid the worst effects of climate change. We need more action to combat climate change – more urgent action – action that spans individuals, businesses, and government leaders.

As Greta Thunberg bracingly reminded us during her speech at the UN Climate Action summit in New York on September 23, “If you choose to fail us we will never forgive you.” 

When I reflect on my experience at the Chicago climate strike, I am energized by the incredible leadership the next generation is demonstrating. At the same time, I am deeply concerned about the trajectory of our collective actions to protect the future world that they will inherit. Today’s youth is clear that the status quo is unacceptable. But the open question remains: what more will we – business leaders and government leaders – actually do to combat climate change? 

3Degrees employees stand in solidarity with the global youth climate movement. Some used paid volunteer time to join local climate events, while others stayed in the office and continued our daily work of helping clients take climate action.


Happy New Year from 3Degrees’ CEO


Hopefully, all of you were able to enjoy some downtime with your family and friends over the holidays last month.  I know I was – and that means I also had some much-needed time to sit and reflect on the past year, as well as gear up for the year ahead.  First things first: I am tremendously grateful for the impact that our customers made last year with our help. Together, we transacted over 47 million MWh of renewable energy and 2.3 million MT of carbon offsets. Just to put that in perspective, that is similar to the carbon sequestered of nearly 400 million acres of US forests in one year.  I couldn’t be prouder of the important work we’re doing to advance our mission of helping our clients and their customers take urgent action on climate change.  Which brings me to my next observation…

While there has been a lot of news this year about how much worse climate change is getting,  I remain optimistic. We are part of a unique ecosystem with the power to make it possible for people to take action on climate change, meet their emission reduction goal and make real impact.  And we’re seeing it happen at a faster pace. 2018 gave us a lot to be hopeful for:

  • According to the most recent NREL report, release Oct 2018, The last reporting year saw a 28% increase U.S. voluntary green power purchases
  • We also saw a dramatic increase in the number of aggregated renewable energy contracts signed. Which is exciting not only for rapid acceleration of renewable energy development but also for allowing companies of all sizes unprecedented access to the renewable energy market.
  • Since 2008, the fastest creator of blue collar jobs in the USA and worldwide has been clean energy. Whether these are construction jobs in solar or manufacturing jobs in electric vehicles, clean energy continues to be the place people look to build lasting careers in the 21st century.

While these statistics are promising and inspiring, I raise these in no way to minimize the issue – climate change can absolutely feel big and overwhelming.  We are taking on giant challenges, that require bold action. However, from my vantage point, I see more organizations than ever before stepping up to commit to true leadership through this complicated challenge and I find that inspiring.

Thank you, to all of you, for your hard work and commitment to addressing this urgent issue last year. There is much work the world needs us to do, and I look forward to continuing to tackle that challenge together in 2019.

Steve McDougal

1. EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator –

3Degrees Takes on Decarbonizing Transportation at Global Climate Action Summit

Last week, the Global Climate Action Summit convened in our headquarters’ hometown of San Francisco, CA.  This historic event brought leaders together from all corners of the world to discuss decarbonization of the global economy – one of the most pressing and important topics of our time.

During the GCAS, I had the distinct pleasure of moderating a panel on Decarbonizing Transportation, with some of the summit’s leading minds on the topic:  Sam Arons, Director of Sustainability at Lyft; Holly Gordon, Sustainability Group Manager at BART; and esteemed Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler.  During the conversation, I asked the panelists for their perspectives on how disparate industries are – and should be – coming together to improve sustainability within our communities and make a real impact towards decarbonizing transportation, the sector responsible for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.1  

While we covered a lot of ground in our discussion, there were a few key themes that emerged.


Perhaps not surprisingly, the panel spent a fair amount of time discussing the nexus of smart planning and policy in guiding these efforts. One central theme is the importance of making intentional choices to co-site public transportation and affordable housing to enhance the quality of life and reduce the reliance on cars, thereby reducing emissions. BART and cities like Los Angeles have already started implementing such initiatives and Mayor Wheeler confirmed that Portland has been at the forefront of city planning initiatives that evaluate cohesive transportation, housing and climate solutions.

We also explored the role of new options like ride-sharing, scooters and bikes to increase access to public transportation to address the first mile / last mile conundrum. All of our panelists shared great examples of how BART, Lyft, and the City of Portland are working to build partnerships to reduce single occupancy rides and encourage greater use of public transportation. Case in point: Lyft is building out new in-app features to integrate with public transit, which are currently being tested in select markets.


Just imagine a world where fewer cars meant we could reclaim public spaces for other purposes, such as parks or dedicated bike/scooter lanes. I love that when I lead these discussions I always learn something new and this panel was no exception: did you know that in the U.S., parking lots take up more space that the entire state of Connecticut (there are roughly 2.5 parking spots for every car)?  And that BART is the owner of the most parking garage spaces west of the Mississippi? There is huge potential to transform these spaces. From Lyft’s Green Cities Initiative and vision of turning parking lots into parks, to BART’s public/private partnership for its carpool program with Scoop and Portland’s plan for the Green Loop, a six-mile interconnected park and active transportation path, we already see promising signs ahead for more sustainable communities that lower emissions and enhance quality of life. 


The final theme that I observed during our panel discussion was the electrification of fleets and the role it does – and will – play in decarbonizing our communities.  While electrification is often discussed as a critical tool in the decarbonization toolbox, this solution obviously only works if we ensure we are powering those fleets with renewable power.   

Clearly, as renewables continue to march down the cost curve and electric vehicle adoption increases, there is tremendous opportunity to make a huge dent in transportation emissions.  In December 2017, BART signed wind and solar PPAs for a total of over 106 MW and will now meet their renewable energy goals ahead of schedule.  Lyft, too, is embracing this opportunity and recently announced that, in addition to becoming a fully carbon neutral company, they are purchasing enough renewable energy to cover the electricity consumption of every Lyft office space, driver hub, and electric vehicle mile on their platform. In addition, Portland has just begun exploring options for going beyond RECs and procuring bundled renewable energy for electricity use in City operations. It feels like we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible for the convergence of electrification and renewable energy adoption – and that is exciting.

Although the global climate challenge looms large, I found myself wholly inspired by the group’s discussion and focus on galvanizing action. As Mayor Wheeler noted, “We all have to be successful for the planet to succeed.” Indeed, partnering with like-minded organizations – businesses, NGOs, public agencies, government, including the 3,540 signatories of #wearestillin who are pledging to uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement – are a reason for us all to have hope. Join us in making that a reality.