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The conference calendar has been gaining momentum as we transition into the new year. CCA’s Tidal Decision conference this March is coming into full focus, as several prominent speakers have been confirmed. You can read their biographies, along with a column on the purpose of the conference from CCA Director of Operations Jessica Fletcher. Additionally, find highlights from last November's outstanding NU Climate Change Symposium, which brought together scholars and professionals from a broad field of expertise. Learn as well about our partnership with TJM Capital and Zone Mechanical taking a step forward at a recent meeting. To follow, a profile of founding member Transparent Container outlines how the company has set an important example for reducing waste from packaging materials.

Inaugural Tidal Decision Conference Set for March

       With a focus on the economic risks, rewards, and trade-offs of sea level rise in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, CCA is holding a leadership-level conference at the Gaillard Center, in Charleston, South Carolina on March 6th and 7th, 2018, titled Tidal Decision. Mayors, corporate leaders, and experts in funding, financing, and sustainable infrastructure will convene to share best practices and to discuss the possibility of forming a regional alliance.

     The event is being produced to serve the needs of municipal and corporate leaders who will hear from their peers, as well as professional service firms, consultants, banks, project finance, and infrastructure companies, on how to build resiliency and embed appropriate contingency plans. The event includes two private workshops for municipal leaders. The first will demonstrate how to structure the financing required to build sustainable infrastructure, and provide and overview of funding sources. Next will be a workshop focused on formulating messaging for community residents, and the federal and state government agencies that municipalities work with to receive funding. There will also be private workshops for business owners and leaders wishing to learn how they can participate in public-private partnerships and build contingency plans. Professor Norm Levine of the College of Charleston will also present the results of the Lowcountry Study on sea level rise.  

We are excited to share with you some of our notable speakers who have already committed their time to this event:


Dr. Katharine Wilkinson—Keynote Speaker
Project Drawdown

Dr. Katharine Wilkinson is Senior Writer

Project Drawdown, where she collaborated

with Paul Hawken on the New York Times

best-seller Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive

Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

 (2017). Katharine’s interdisciplinary background

cuts across research, strategy, and thought

leadership, with a focus on exploring, amplifying,

and invigorating action to address climate change.

Previously, she was Director of Strategy at the

purpose consultancy BrightHouse and worked for the Boston Consulting Group and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Based on her doctoral research at the University of Oxford, Katharine published Between God & Green: How Evangelicals Are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change (2012).

Robert Litterman
Kepos Capital


Robert Litterman is the chairman of the Risk

Committee at Kepos Capital LP. Prior to joining

Kepos Capital in 2010, Litterman enjoyed a 23-

year career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he

served in research, risk management, investments,

and thought leadership roles. During his tenure 

at Goldman, Bob researched and published a

number of groundbreaking papers in asset

allocation and risk management. He is the co-

developer of the Black-Litterman Global Asset

Allocation Model, a key tool in investment

management, and has co-authored books including The Practice of Risk Management and Modern Investment Management: An Equilibrium Approach (Wiley & Co.). He is also the inaugural recipient of the S. Donald Sussman Fellowship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and serves on a number of boards, including Commonfund, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and World Wildlife Fund.
Jennifer Roberts
Former Mayor of Charlotte, NC (2015 - 2017)
                                                                 Jennifer Roberts is a native of Charlotte

                                                              and is the only person to have served

                                                              both as Chair of the Mecklenburg County

                                                              Commission and later as Mayor of Charlotte.

                                                              Roberts has long been a champion of air

                                                              and water quality, both as a commissioner

                                                              and as Mayor, and signed on to many 

                                                              initiatives to combat climate change. 

                                                              She helped Mecklenburg County turn

                                                             to single-stream recycling, pushed for carbon

                                                             reduction goals, and championed a new

                            transit system that continues to expand in Charlotte/Mecklenburg. She supported the start of an energy efficiency program, called Envision Charlotte, that has saved the collaborative partners over $26 million in utility costs over five years. Earlier in her career,  Roberts served in the US Foreign Service as a diplomat in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.  She has also worked as an international banker and an adjunct professor at UNC Charlotte.

Billy Keyserling
Mayor of Beaufort, SC
                                                           Keyserling, a Beaufort native, worked in                                                                     Washington, DC for almost 16 years providing                                                             administrative and legislative duties for                                                                         members of the U.S. Congress, coordinating

                                                         an international human rights initiative,

                                                         and working as a public affairs consultant. 

                                                        He returned to Beaufort in 1989 and served                                                                 two terms in the South Carolina House of

                                                         Representatives, where he was Vice Chair of

                                                         the Joint Legislative Committee on Energy,

                                                         and served as Chairman of the Beaufort

                                                         County Legislative Delegation. After

deciding against seeking a third term in the legislature, Keyserling was elected to Beaufort City Council in 2000 and served one term.  He became Mayor in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016.  Keyserling serves on the boards of the Municipal Association of South Carolina and the South Carolina Humanities Council.

Nancy Shaver
Mayor of St. Augustine, FL

Nancy Shaver currently serves the people

of St. Augustine in her second term as Mayor.

Nancy’s business experience is both national

and global and includes leading a Fortune

500 marketing organization.  She began her

working life as a teacher, then became a senior

leader of a publicly traded technology startup.

She most recently worked as Principal

Consultant in the Strategy Practice of Experian,

a global leader in information and technology. She has served on boards of businesses and non-profits, and currently serves on the Tourist Development Council, the Lightner Museum, and the Continuum of Care Board, which oversees agencies serving the homeless. Nancy also has shared her management guidance with non-profits and small businesses on a pro bono basis.

John Tecklenburg 
Mayor of Charleston, SC
     Mayor Tecklenburg spent much of his career

as a businessman and entrepreneur—a family

legacy that began with the opening of his great-

great-grandfather’s corner grocery store at St.

Phillip and Wentworth streets in 1867. Mayor

Tecklenburg founded Southern Oil Company in

1978, which he successfully owned and operated

for nearly 20 years. He was appointed to serve as

Director of Economic Development for the City of

Charleston, where he helped lead the revitalization

of Upper King Street. Since becoming mayor in

2016, Mayor Tecklenburg has been committed to

improving citizens’ quality of life and making Charleston a city of opportunity for all. Among his efforts to improve city-wide livability, Mayor Tecklenburg has paid particular attention to flooding and drainage relief, appointing the city’s first-ever Director of Emergency Management and Resilience, and beginning the process of implementing the City of Charleston Sea Level Rise Strategy, which outlines actions designed to make the city more resilient to the effects of changing weather patterns.


A Note from CCA's Director of Operations on the Aims of the Upcoming Conference  

      Programming Tidal Decision has been a whirlwind experience. In its inaugural year, Tidal Decision will boast an impressive lineup of speakers, and I think will bring about a vital and meaningful discussion about how and why alliances need to be formed. We have two parallel goals that we are looking to encourage with Tidal Decision.

      First, and possibly most important, we hope to shift the conversation about sea level rise and climate change from the ominous possibility of impending disaster, to the positive potential that a threat of this magnitude could bring about. As coastal communities around the world begin to reconcile the way they’ve historically interacted with water with the drastically different ways they can adapt to it, I believe the possibilities will spark a new energy in the resilience and mitigation efforts that are already underway. When I think of the coastal communities that could exist in 50 to 100 years, I don’t imagine has-been historic towns that will have been lost to sea level rise. I think of all the exciting, modern, green technology that can be implemented between now and then that will impel businesses and citizens to flock to the coast to visit, experience, and live in these cutting-edge communities.

     Our second goal for Tidal Decision is to piggy-back off the energy created by the positive messaging of the conference, and assemble an ever-growing alliance of municipal leaders that will spearhead the adaptation of the Southeast coast.

We hope to start with a manageable group of mayors and civic leaders who are inspired by the conference, and then organically grow by recruiting new members of a Southeastern municipal task force. Such a united, regional front against sea level rise and climate change could have the influence to promote adaptation, technology, and infrastructure development.

     An alliance of this nature is important for multiple reasons. First, we believe a team effort increases the chances of receiving both government and

foundation funding.  If we remove competitive barriers, and show that regional communities are willing to work together, such a show of unity could go a long way in garnering the interest and support of significant funding sources. Second, as we all know, sea level rise is nondiscriminatory. A piecemeal effort involving each city and town preparing as its own entity, without taking into account the impacts those efforts (positive or negative) could have on neighboring communities and the coastline as a whole, would be an inefficient and potentially ineffective use of valuable resources. On the other hand, if each community, as part of a greater effort, were to have a platform in which they can collaborate, create partnerships, share best practices, and coordinate efforts, the same resources could have a much more profound impact. If this model is successful in the Southeast, it could become the standard by which vulnerable coastal communities and regions nationwide determine their resiliency and mitigation protocols. 

     All of us at CCA send out a big thanks for your interest and participation in the conference, and we look forward to seeing you for the inaugural version of Tidal Decision this March.

Jessica Fletcher
CCA Director of Operations

Chad Frischmann of Project Drawdown delivers the closing plenary address at the Northwestern Climate Change
Symposium on November 10th, 2018. (photo courtesy of ISEN)

Experts Talk Messaging, Finance at the NU Climate Change Symposium in November

     Consider the following statement by Michael Wasielewski, Executive Director of Northwestern University's Institute for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN): "While there is overwhelming scientific consensus that the earth is warming, and that anthropogenic emissions are largely responsible for these changes, only 53 percent of the US population agrees." [1] In part to address this gulf in understanding between experts and laypersons, ISEN  hosted a two-day conference in November, the Northwestern Climate Change Symposium. In keeping with the event's subtitle, “Dialogues in Science, Business, and Policy,” specialists with corporate, political, and climate research backgrounds spoke in various formats at several locations near the university. 

     The Symposium’s interdisciplinary approach was summarized in an introductory statement: “Climate change is a global challenge that is not constrained by borders between nations or fields of study. Effective solutions require unprecedented communication and collaboration across disciplines.” This claim was put directly into practice by way of the forum’s accessibility (admission was free and open to the public) and networking opportunities.

     The opening panel, titled, “Call to Action: Climate Communications, Cognitive Science, and Identity Politics” featured Wendy Abrams, founder of Cool Globes. [2] Abrams emphasized the importance for those attempting to inform others about the stakes of climate change to appeal to the personal, tangible, and practically actionable. They should deliver a basic, hopeful, and solution-based message, de-emphasizing metrics such as parts per million (PPM) in favor of examples that people can relate to, such as a change in degrees Fahrenheit relative to body temperature. The next speaker, Kaitlin Raimi, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, urged educators to focus their message on the “movable middle”— political moderates who are most likely to change their opinions given new information. She also suggested comparing climate change to a disease: something difficult to reverse, and whose treatment involves trade-offs.

     Later in the day, Tom Hodgman of the Nature Conservancy gave a talk titled, “Financing Conservation Pays Climate Dividends.” Hodgman presented the organization’s impact investing wing, NatureVest, which was launched in 2014. The fund supports initiatives directly and indirectly related to climate resilience and mitigation, including green infrastructure, reforestation, water markets, sustainable agriculture, and debt conversions. With $8 billion total invested at the rate of $2 billion per year, NatureVest wields the type of resources that can drive progress not only for organizations, but also for developing countries struggling with debt. For example, they have entered into a $22 million debt conversion plan with the low-lying island nation Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, buying the country’s debt from investors, and working with officials to restructure loans at a lower interest rate. In return, Seychelles has agreed to put funds freed up by the restructuring toward improvements in coastal, coral reef, and mangroves management and conservation programs.

Mark Porter of the Rocky Mountain Institute speaks at the Northwestern Climate Change Symposium in Evanston, IL on November 10th, 2017. (Photo Courtesy of CCA)

     On the second day of the conference, Mark Porter of the Rocky Mountain Institute spoke in the auditorium of the historic Woman’s Club of Evanston. Porter manages the Business Renewables Center at RMI, which facilitates renewable energy procurement for corporations. By helping businesses bypass utilities to purchase power directly from wind and solar producers, the BRC has driven the trend that saw corporations overtake utilities in 2017 as the majority purchasers of wind power in the U.S. [3] The list of new purchasers at first was dominated by IT giants such as Apple and Google, then more recently by consumer goods staples including Kimberly Clark and Anheuser-Busch InBev. [4]  The locations of these companies’ headquarters (Silicon Valley (2), Texas, and Missouri, respectively) are not coincidentally located outside the regulated markets within regions heavily controlled by utilities—the U.S. Northwest (excluding California) and Southeast, according to Porter.

     Chad Frischmann, Vice President and Research Director of Project Drawdown, delivered the closing plenary session, titled “Drawdown: 100 Substantive Solutions to Global Warming.” Emphasizing the conceptual simplicity of the organization’s goal of slowing and eventually reversing the buildup of atmospheric CO2, Frischmann suggested changing the climate discourse of “fear, disempowerment, [and] misunderstanding, to understanding, opportunity, optimism. Because if global warming is happening to us, we’re victims...but if it’s happening for us, when you see it instead as an opportunity, that can make it all based on change for the better.”  This shift in tone can be achieved by stressing the practicality and feasibility of Drawdown’s solutions, which he divides into three categories: replacing the production of carbon, reducing the production of carbon, and sequestering carbon. Not surprisingly, several in the top ten of Drawdown's 100 solutions check off at least two of these categories, notably regarding population control (Educating Girls is solution #6, Family Planning #7) and food (Reduced Food Waste is #3, Plant Rich Diet #4, and Silvopasture #9), which combined comprise more than one quarter (27%) of the 100 solutions’ CO2-reduction potential.
       Though achieving Drawdown's goals may seem like a Herculean task to some, Frischmann offered encouragement by concluding his speech, and the conference, on a note stressing collaboration: “The age of the hero is over—now we need to work together.”

[1] [p.2]
[2] This initiative engages sculpture as a marketing tool in the form of five-foot-diameter globes that bear various messages, both literal and symbolic, concerning ways to combat climate change. The sculptures have toured cities internationally including Vancouver, Geneva, and Jerusalem. 


CCA Impact Investment Partnership with TJM and Zone Mechanical Targets HFCs

     Zone Mechanical, an Alsip, IL-based provider of industrial refrigeration, energy management, HVAC, and food service refrigeration, was looking to expand its CO2 and Ammonia refrigerant equipment installation business. Already a portfolio company of Chicago-based private equity firm TJM Capital Partners, Zone’s expansion looks to be further aided by CCA’s impact 

investment initiative in collaboration with TJM.  On January 16th, CCA President Mark Stenftenagel attended a meeting led by Zone CEO Frank Petrosino. Also in attendance were Vice President of TJM Mick Doyle, and MBA students from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. The goal of the meeting was to develop a strategy for scaling up Zone’s

implementation of ammonia and CO2 refrigerants, with the Kellogg students as consultants and TJM and CCA as investment facilitators. Refrigerant management is ranked #1 on Project Drawdown's list of the top 100 solutions to climate change, inciting CCA to make investment in this sector a priority for the organization.

      In an overview of the state of the industry, Petrosino spoke of how 20 years ago, the efficiencies for the installation and maintenance of non-HFC [1] refrigerants were not available as they are today. The current savings— on insurance and administrative costs, on energy and installation from smaller pipes, and updated electrical components of CO2 and ammonia refrigeration equipment—by themselves make for an attractive investment. Add to this the sustainability component of supporting the transition away from HFCs, and upgrading becomes a win-win proposition. The U.S.—where CO2 refrigerants have only been available for seven years—notably lags behind Europe, which is much farther along in its transition to alternative refrigerants. Petrosino mentioned as a roadblock to implementation the lack of awareness about the availability and benefits of next-generation refrigerants; CCA's impact investment initiative aims to both publicize and attract funding through membership for Zone’s drive to standardize CO2 and ammonia refrigerants.

[1] Hydrofluorocarbons, which as a greenhouse gas have at least 1000 times the heat-trapping capacity of CO2.


Transparent Container

 As an industry leader in plastic and paperboard packaging, Illinois-based Transparent Container excels at helping its customers reduce costs and time to market. Although they don’t settle for producing an efficient product. For one, their concern for their materials’ impact on landfills informs their

packaging design. While noting in their sustainability statement that since “there will always be packages that don’t make it back into the

recycling stream, we also need to make sure our packages are safe for the environment no matter where they end up.” They achieve this by limiting the quantity of material used for a given package, finding that “packaging can be reduced without sacrificing security.” Less material means less energy required in production, which translates to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, TC operates in the spirit of zero waste manufacturing: all scrap plastic is recovered for recycling, a significant portion of their materials include post-consumer plastics, and they encourage their clients’ use of PET, which has high value as a recyclable material.

       The company's founder, Dan Greiwe, has translated a longstanding concern about climate change into making sustainability a priority for his company. Living part time in Santa Barbara, California, he has witnessed firsthand the devastation that forest fires, drought—and, most recently, mudslides—have brought to the region. Among solutions to climate change, he strongly supports emissions reductions through the implementation of a carbon tax. Coming from the former CEO of a major industrial manufacturer, this sentiment aligns with a growing acceptance among major corporations of the feasibility, fairness, and practicality of such a measure, as demonstrated by the growing list of multinationals on the Climate Leadership Council. CCA is grateful for the support of founding member Transparent Container, whose example inspires other companies to put sustainability principles into practice.

CCA Climate Challenge Directory

CCA believes that climate change is in large part a design problem. Therefore engineers, architects, artists, and anyone else adept at applying technology to decarbonization, have the opportunity to shift the balance for preparedness and prevention infrastructure. These actors find themselves at the forefront of research and development for such promising inventions as underwater walls , hydrogen-boron fusion, and direct air capture. On this front, CCA has begun developing a database tentatively named the Climate Challenge Directory. The idea is to provide a resource on our website cataloguing design contests related to or inspired by the solutions to climate change presented in Project Drawdown. CCA affililiates have been working with web designers and content management specialists to develop a format for the directory. We plan to showcase contests such as the Clean Energy Trust's upcoming 

Switched On competition, along with a section on past contests and developments with winning designs.

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