ADBC Participates in 16th Annual Wirth Chair Sustainability Awards Luncheon: Keynoter Secretary Ernest Moniz cautiously optimistic about COP 21.
On August 31st, the Annual Wirth Chair Sustainability Awards Luncheon was held in Denver. Retiring NREL director Dr. Dan Arvizu was honored for his work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, was the keynote speaker.
Former US Senator Timothy Wirth opened the luncheon and lauded the work of the Wirth Chair and the present holder of the Chair, Mark Safty. ADBC and the Wirth Chair partnered in May for a Sustainability trip to Denmark – which the group on the tour considered an “eye opener.”
Governor John Hickenlooper gave brief remarks about the role of Colorado in sustainability. Sustainability Award winner Dr. Dan Arvizu thanked the many Colorado dignitaries attending for the support and leadership they have provided over Dr. Arvizu’s decade at NREL. These leaders included: Senator Wirth, former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Frederico Peña, former US Senator and, later, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, former Governor Bill Ritter, and others. Dr. Arvizu who has worked with energy issues for 40 years said the last decade has been the most exciting and a culmination of the work done before.
Secretary Moniz’s theme was “The Path Through Paris”. He admitted that a year ago he would not have been optimistic about an agreement at COP 21 (The UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change). However, events over the last year, including Pope Francis’ statements on Climate Change have changed the game. “But we also have to remember that success will only mean the start of the really hard work to implement those programs.”
Dr. Moniz declared that Colorado is well placed to benefit from a low carbon society. The Secretary sees innovation and cost reductions from innovation as being the only way to meet the ambitious goals required. He admitted, “There is an urgency to this” (climate challenge). “We cannot afford the historical time frame for transformation.” In other words, it is time to accelerate and “step up our game.”