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Sen. Gail Schwartz receives the Randy Udall Award from the Colorado Renewable Energy Society

September 12th, 2013

Filed under Home Page, In The News

DENVER, August 16, 2013 – Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) is celebrating its 17th year of supporting a sustainable energy future with a full day conference, auction fundraiser, and annual awards on September 6th at the University of Denver Sturm School of Law. Speakers will include industry experts, technology professionals, and policymakers including the director of the Colorado Energy Office, Jeff Ackermann.  Representative Max Tyler will accept the Larson-Notari award, in recognition of his clean energy contributions to the state, and Senator Gail Schwartz will accept the newly instituted Randy Udall Award for leadership in energy and climate change policy.

 

–Acceptance Speech–

 

RANDY UDALL is a personal hero of mine and it is humbling to be receiving an award in his memory this evening.

I believe, Randy’s life goal was to impart a sense of personal responsibility for the environment in each of us. Yet, he was realistic in the sense he understood that his individual impact would have limitations, and he had to inspire an army of folks to accomplish his mission.  One of the more remarkable facets of his nature was to envision multiple paths to an end goal and embrace strange “bedfellows” along the way. This is a lesson for all of us!

One tool for building his army of superheroes was through his prolific writings and speaking.  He was a great teacher and father who instilled in young people his vision for a better world by giving his time so generously.  What a terrific communicator he was, putting complicated concepts into such attainable terms! We all can recall a “Randyism’.  Like:

“You know what fries my bacon? In 2011, Germany installed more solar power in one year than Americans have in 50. If it were just the industrious Germans, I could probably handle it. But the laid-back, Fiat-driving Italians did the same thing. The Italians!”

“Given climate realities, we desperately need a rapid energy transformation, but wishing can’t make it so. As a Vulcan might say, what is desirable is not necessarily probable..” and goes on to say ” Unless saving energy quickly becomes the nation’s focus, we already have the answer: “Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.”

Randy also wrote about, “My daughter Ren celebrated her 25th birthday last summer. She’s a member of what I call Generation B, where B stands for “bonfire.” Since her birth, more than half of all the fossil fuel consumed in human history has been burned, and more than half the greenhouse gas emissions humans have ever produced has gone skyward. As it steadily accumulates in the atmosphere, this enormous plume, now measuring 30 billion tons each year, is enough to melt glaciers, strand polar bears on sea ice, shrink the Colorado River, and alter the climate on which life depends.”

Over the past several years, as you are aware, Randy and I worked together on the “Eligible Resource of Methane” in the RES.  A highly successful and unlikely collaboration between coal mines, the environmental community, a aspen ski area and DMEA and Holy Cross rural electric utilities.  Randy taught us an important lesson, the ability to identify mutual areas of interest by understanding those on the opposite side of an issue in order to achieve a common goal. It is not the norm to embrace climate deniers to attain climate benefits of mitigating the hazardous methane gas from coal mines, but we now know that it can be done, while saving trees, water, wildlife habitat, snowpack, jobs, and industry.

I joined you earlier today for the remarks of Jeff Ackerman, Director of the Colorado Energy Office.  He gave an inspiring perspective on what Colorado has achieved over the past several decades to become one of the nation’s leading states in renewable energy.  We have developed a strong RES for IOUs and REAs, built strong legislative incentives for adoption of new technologies, and are identifying new challenges moving forward.

Jeff cleverly defined a “disease” from which I also suffer, along with many of you in this room, no doubt: “Advocacy”, which is characterized by suffering from passion, unease and vision.  As advocates, I believe that we have a mandate to complete Colorado’s energy picture by moving to a broader framework of carbon and climate. Replacing KWH of electricity with BTUs of energy so we can incorporate all renewables into our incentive structure while preserving our climate as a whole.

We can move beyond the constraints of focusing on “30% of 30%” of the electric generation sector, and make a commitment to the other 70% of energy consumption–the transportation sector uses 30% of our energy. And then move on to the new frontier of the built environment that consumes 42% of our energy resources.  The time is now for real action around climate and efficiency (as Amory would say the “Negawatt”).

In closing, I am so honored by your award this evening, and like so many, our work has just begun.  In some respects I feel it is similar to what we felt when we lost Randy Udall at such a vibrant stage of his life and in my opinion he was not done!  His passion, unease and vision were his calling and he defined advocacy in many respects.  As Paul Anderson stated at a tribute for him help explain Randy’s drive for many of us:

“He had such a strong passion for the environment. His connection to the wilderness was without limit.  His caring for the natural world was a way of caring for his soul. “

Onward soldiers, Randy has planted a sense of responsibility in each of us to care for the natural world around us and embrace a vision that includes everyone at the table for generations to come.

I would also like to acknowledge Randy’s family including Leslie Emerson. We can’t do what we have to do without the support of our families. Thank you CRES for this honor.

Sen. Gail Schwartz receives the Randy Udall Award from the Colorado Renewable Energy Society

DENVER, August 16, 2013 – Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) is celebrating its 17th year of supporting a sustainable energy future with a full day conference, auction fundraiser, and annual awards on September 6th at the University of Denver Sturm School of Law. Speakers will include industry experts, technology professionals, and policymakers including the director of the Colorado Energy Office, Jeff Ackermann.  Representative Max Tyler will accept the Larson-Notari award, in recognition of his clean energy contributions to the state, and Senator Gail Schwartz will accept the newly instituted Randy Udall Award for leadership in energy and climate change policy.

 

–Acceptance Speech–

 

RANDY UDALL is a personal hero of mine and it is humbling to be receiving an award in his memory this evening.

I believe, Randy’s life goal was to impart a sense of personal responsibility for the environment in each of us. Yet, he was realistic in the sense he understood that his individual impact would have limitations, and he had to inspire an army of folks to accomplish his mission.  One of the more remarkable facets of his nature was to envision multiple paths to an end goal and embrace strange “bedfellows” along the way. This is a lesson for all of us!

One tool for building his army of superheroes was through his prolific writings and speaking.  He was a great teacher and father who instilled in young people his vision for a better world by giving his time so generously.  What a terrific communicator he was, putting complicated concepts into such attainable terms! We all can recall a “Randyism’.  Like:

“You know what fries my bacon? In 2011, Germany installed more solar power in one year than Americans have in 50. If it were just the industrious Germans, I could probably handle it. But the laid-back, Fiat-driving Italians did the same thing. The Italians!”

“Given climate realities, we desperately need a rapid energy transformation, but wishing can’t make it so. As a Vulcan might say, what is desirable is not necessarily probable..” and goes on to say ” Unless saving energy quickly becomes the nation’s focus, we already have the answer: “Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.”

Randy also wrote about, “My daughter Ren celebrated her 25th birthday last summer. She’s a member of what I call Generation B, where B stands for “bonfire.” Since her birth, more than half of all the fossil fuel consumed in human history has been burned, and more than half the greenhouse gas emissions humans have ever produced has gone skyward. As it steadily accumulates in the atmosphere, this enormous plume, now measuring 30 billion tons each year, is enough to melt glaciers, strand polar bears on sea ice, shrink the Colorado River, and alter the climate on which life depends.”

Over the past several years, as you are aware, Randy and I worked together on the “Eligible Resource of Methane” in the RES.  A highly successful and unlikely collaboration between coal mines, the environmental community, a aspen ski area and DMEA and Holy Cross rural electric utilities.  Randy taught us an important lesson, the ability to identify mutual areas of interest by understanding those on the opposite side of an issue in order to achieve a common goal. It is not the norm to embrace climate deniers to attain climate benefits of mitigating the hazardous methane gas from coal mines, but we now know that it can be done, while saving trees, water, wildlife habitat, snowpack, jobs, and industry.

I joined you earlier today for the remarks of Jeff Ackerman, Director of the Colorado Energy Office.  He gave an inspiring perspective on what Colorado has achieved over the past several decades to become one of the nation’s leading states in renewable energy.  We have developed a strong RES for IOUs and REAs, built strong legislative incentives for adoption of new technologies, and are identifying new challenges moving forward.

Jeff cleverly defined a “disease” from which I also suffer, along with many of you in this room, no doubt: “Advocacy”, which is characterized by suffering from passion, unease and vision.  As advocates, I believe that we have a mandate to complete Colorado’s energy picture by moving to a broader framework of carbon and climate. Replacing KWH of electricity with BTUs of energy so we can incorporate all renewables into our incentive structure while preserving our climate as a whole.

We can move beyond the constraints of focusing on “30% of 30%” of the electric generation sector, and make a commitment to the other 70% of energy consumption–the transportation sector uses 30% of our energy. And then move on to the new frontier of the built environment that consumes 42% of our energy resources.  The time is now for real action around climate and efficiency (as Amory would say the “Negawatt”).

In closing, I am so honored by your award this evening, and like so many, our work has just begun.  In some respects I feel it is similar to what we felt when we lost Randy Udall at such a vibrant stage of his life and in my opinion he was not done!  His passion, unease and vision were his calling and he defined advocacy in many respects.  As Paul Anderson stated at a tribute for him help explain Randy’s drive for many of us:

“He had such a strong passion for the environment. His connection to the wilderness was without limit.  His caring for the natural world was a way of caring for his soul. “

Onward soldiers, Randy has planted a sense of responsibility in each of us to care for the natural world around us and embrace a vision that includes everyone at the table for generations to come.

I would also like to acknowledge Randy’s family including Leslie Emerson. We can’t do what we have to do without the support of our families. Thank you CRES for this honor.