September 21, 2023


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7 Questions with Bob Keefe

8 min read
Bob Keefe

Interview with Bob Keefe 

Bob Keefe is the government director of E2 – a nonpartisan business which aims to offer company views on environmental concerns –  and oversees their function on a nationwide scale. Keefe primarily focuses his awareness on the financial gains of good environmental procedures the clean energy economic system positions and connected problems. Prior to commencing his work with E2, Keefe invested a lot more than 20 decades doing the job as a political, company and environmental journalist. He has co-authored several small business associated publications and unveiled Climatenomics: Washington, Wall Street and the Economic Fight for our Earth in Could. This 7 days, we requested Bob about his do the job. 

How did you finish up as the executive director of E2? 

I put in about 20 several years as a business enterprise, technologies, and political journalist in advance of signing up for E2 about a ten years or so ago. One particular of the explanations I was definitely captivated to this work is since I understood more than a life time in journalism, and speaking to businesspeople, speaking to lawmakers, conversing to many others, just how significant and how influential business enterprise voices and company leaders can be on impacting coverage. When we are talking about climate and environmental coverage, we will not necessarily generally believe about small business voices and the importance of these voices. There are a few voices that are additional influential than businesspeople with lawmakers in Washington and in our condition houses. What I definitely love about E2 is that we’re an firm of much more than 10,000 business leaders suitable now who are employing individuals voices, their voices for very good, for the superior of the financial state and the great of the surroundings. 

In your belief, what are the most pressing challenges right now, economy or otherwise, that are connected with climate improve right now? 

Very well, the most pressing troubles are the types that we are residing as a result of and having to pay for each day ideal now. As I aim on in the guide Climatenomics the price tag of weather alter is just battering our financial system suitable now. Previous 12 months, we had $150 billion truly worth of destruction from local weather relevant disasters- wildfires in the west, so lots of hurricanes in the east, flooding, and drought in our nation’s Heartland and in our farming communities. Now, that’s driving up the price tag of everything from corn flakes to chicken. Also, if you appear at homeowners’ coverage, homeowners’ insurance plan is up 40%, in portion due to the fact coverage organizations are viewing record losses from all these all-natural disasters, drought and flooding from other local weather disasters added approximately 30 billion to the price of crop insurance plan that each and every taxpayer pays for. And just glance at the heat wave that just impacted the full region by driving up air conditioning costs, forcing businesses to lower hrs or close, and even worse than that in Kansas 2000 cows had been killed more than dead from heatstroke. 

Can you speak a small little bit about why you all concentration on the intersection in between organization and government as a essential way to deal with weather alter? How do you all think about catering to, or talking to equally business enterprise individuals together with of plan makers? 

Nicely, as I mentioned earlier, company voices are just so significant and influential with lawmakers frequently. In my time as a journalist and my time doing work at E2, I can explain to you that there’s absolutely nothing politicians, like a lot more than kissing toddlers, going to ribbon cuttings, and chatting about careers and financial advancement. They are not kissing way too many babies any longer, but they absolutely sure are conversing about when employment arrive to their cities, or financial development comes about. And it’s firms that make that materialize. But even extra broadly, organizations, as I outlined in the guide, are just key to the answer. Appropriate now, just about every big enterprise in The usa is moving to thoroughly clean energy renewables. Why? Perfectly, of class it’s the ideal point to do, but it’s also since solar and wind are the most affordable electric power available. Firms are also noticing the other facet of what I connect with the Climatenomics coin as nicely, which is the price tag. And people organizations are now relocating absent from destinations that are inclined to hurricanes or wildfires or flooding to sites that are safer and can, so they can continue to keep their companies up and managing and the profit’s flowing, but sad to say, they’re functioning out of destinations to go. It’s an challenge that we truly require to handle in this region. We require to do one thing about local weather adjust and the fees that come with it for our economic stake if practically nothing else. 

Can you communicate a minor bit to our listeners who are very likely in communities where they may perhaps want to be advocating on this problem? Why is advocacy in this place so important? How do the efforts of persons or communities really aid to press and develop alter at the area amount? 

Perfectly, equally at the area degree, the point out degree, the federal amount, it doesn’t make any difference. There are a lot of folks out there chatting to lawmakers, attempting to get what they want, and if you might be not speaking to them as effectively, you’re not heading to get what you want. Poll after poll, right after poll, after poll in this place has revealed that Us citizens want a lot more thoroughly clean electrical power. They want action on local weather alter, and they want their lawmakers at the federal to state the community amount to do much more about that. And politicians and elected officers search a large amount at polls, but they also hear. If we are not in there chatting to them about the financial price tag of local weather transform, the economic rewards of weather motion, together with all the other fees and benefits, whether or not it can be overall health or social troubles or American competitiveness or national stability that is all tied to climate alter, then they’re likely to be hearing from fossil fuel firms. They are heading to be listening to from others. And you can think that people sorts of providers that and incumbent industries that will not want to alter are spending a ton of cash and are spending a ton of time with all those lawmakers. We have obtained to go out and signify to talk about the other side of this equation. 

Can you talk a minor bit about what E2 has realized by incorporating this small business perspective into the assessment of environmental issues and if there is nearly anything in your time at E2 that sort of astonished you? 

Yeah, I wouldn’t say it is really a shock and it should not be a shock, but it is a minor difficult to wrap your head about men and women who have designed local climate alter, the surroundings, and thoroughly clean strength a partisan challenge. The fact is it really is not a partisan challenge and it shouldn’t be when we talk about these disasters. This $150 billion truly worth of climate disasters that that is not just taking place in, in blue states or red states. It’s not just California on fireplace. It truly is Louisiana underwater from repeated hurricanes. It really is not just New York and blue states obtaining strike by flooding, it really is Iowa and Indiana, and other spots in the Midwest. So, climate modify does not know geography, geology, or politics, it really is taking place all over the place. On the other aspect of the coin, what we have also located at E2, and a single of the things my business has performed for a extensive time, is seem at the place clean power jobs are developing all around the nation. Each and every year we put out a thing known as Clear Positions America. And what we’ve discovered is that there are almost as a lot of clear electrical power positions now in Republican congressional districts as there are in democratic congressional districts and, offered the advancement we see in matters like electric powered automobiles and battery storage, that kind of factor, and where those organizations are going, you can find likely to be much more positions in Republican and purple states operating on electric cars and cleanse strength. Then there are in democratic districts. So, the message is if you, as a lawmaker, want these employment in your backyards, if you want to do something about the economic hurt, which is currently being inflicted on your constituents for the reason that of local climate improve, you require to do anything about it and you need to move procedures in Washington. 

And lastly, what are some of your beloved podcasts or textbooks that you would propose our listeners to take a pay attention to? 

Very well, a book I just finished, and it took me a pretty extensive time to complete it, not for the reason that it was uninteresting or unexciting, but mainly because it was very very long, which is some thing named Wilderness Warrior, which is about Teddy Roosevelt. It’s wonderful e book by a great author named David Brinkley. One of the things that truly struck me and, and form of resonated with me as I was looking through, is 1st of all, just how considerably Teddy Roosevelt did in conditions of preserving and really shaping what The usa is, is about. He made 150 national forest, 51 federal fowl reserves, five national parks and he did all that by the way inspite of large, huge tension from timber businesses, from oil and fuel corporations from the opposing political social gathering. Congress was not with him on all these issues and enterprise and marketplace was not with him on preserving these lands. They preferred to minimize it down and make a large amount of dollars providing timber, for instance, but President Roosevelt realized that this was the appropriate detail to do for The united states. He experienced the courage, he experienced the courage to do what he assumed was the proper thing, even in the facial area of opposition, from business enterprise, from the other political social gathering and a Congress that failed to necessarily agree with them. We want to do that with weather alter. We need to do that with local climate action. We are running out of time. 

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