Billionaire investor and philanthropist Tom Steyer delivered a free lecture titled “Confronting Climate Change: A Political Reality Check” last night at Pollock Theater to discuss the urgency of reducing climate change and passing public policy advocating clean energy.
Steyer is the president of NextGen Climate, a nonprofit political advocacy group concerned with combating climate change. The event was hosted by the Carsey-Wolf Center and is part of the Energy Leadership Lecture Series sponsored by the Institute for Energy Efficiency.
According to Meaghan Shaw, communications manager of Institute for Energy Efficiency, the aim of the talk was to educate students and community members about energy-related topics.
“The goal … is to bring leading thinkers and researchers to [UCSB] to present their views on energy-related topics to the campus and community,” Shaw said in an email. “As a national leader in the climate change space and the founder of NextGen Climate, Tom Steyer is the right person to effectively communicate what climate change really means.”
According to David Auston, executive director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency, it is important for students to confront the issues posed by climate change as discussed in the lecture.
“This is an issue that has enormous impact of the future of our planet and everyone, students, members of the SB community and others should learn more about it,” Auston said in email. “Even if they are somewhat skeptical about climate change, they need to hear from a variety of people about this issue.”
Auston also said students and administrators at the University of California Office of the President have addressed these issues through concrete, long-term goals.
“UCSB students are already doing a great deal to advocate for climate change mitigation. With the new UCOP goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, it is even more important that students become involved,” Auston said.
Shaw said climate change is a complicated issue and student groups play an important role in addressing climate change.
“Climate change is a topic of global importance, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there that makes it difficult to fully understand,” Shaw said in an email. “There are many student groups on campus that are leading the way in sustainability, [and] I would look to them for guidance.”
Auston also said Tom Steyer is a talented speaker on climate change based on his education and passion about climate change mitigation.
“Tom Steyer is a very articulate and forceful advocate of climate change mitigation. He knows the issue well and is also very much focused on action, not just discussion,” Auston said in an email.
NextGen Climate spokesperson Suzanne Henkels said climate change is a major issue that requires immediate attention.
“Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and we can no longer afford to wait to address this real threat,” Henkels said in an email.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt / Daily Nexus.
A version of this story appeared on page 3 of Wednesday, May 7, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.