Becoming aware, taking action

In the summer of 2007, Greg Dalton took a Commonwealth Club trip to the Arctic traveling on a Russian icebreaker with a group of scientists and journalists. Walking on melting tundra, sailing through fields of ice and witnessing strange new animal migrations, Greg came face to face with the reality of climate change.

Returning in despair, Greg spent hours at his dining room table putting together a video of the trip, reliving the experience and processing what he had learned. Once he absorbed this new reality, he resolved to do something about it.

That autumn, working with The Commonwealth Club’s CEO, Gloria Duffy, Greg launched Climate One , a program exploring the array of interconnected topics surrounding climate, and a place for people concerned about these changes to gather and learn. We are proud that after 10 years we are still covering the most important issue of our time by convening people, connecting ideas, and inspiring new approaches.

Ten Years of Impact

From our start in 2007, Climate One’s unique contribution has been to provide a respectful space for inclusive, rational discussions about the environment at a systemic level. Bringing a broad, journalistic perspective to the conversation on climate change and its consequences, we’ve continued to host many significant and influential discussions.

Oct 2007: UNDP reaches out to Climate One

The United Nations Development Program approached Greg Dalton about coming to San Francisco to release its first report on the disproportionate effect climate change will have on poor people around the world.

UNDP reaches out to Climate One to release its report

The United Nations Development Program approached Greg Dalton about coming to San Francisco to release its first report on the disproportionate effect climate change will have on poor people around the world. The first Climate One program featured Google executive Larry Brilliant, CH2M Hill sustainability manager Andrea Gardner, UN official Ad Melkert and venture capitalist Nancy Pfund.

Oct 2008: Google Goes Big

At the peak of the “Drill Baby, Drill” craze and one month before the presidential election, Eric Schmidt unveils the Google Energy plan at Climate One.

Google Goes Big

At the peak of the “Drill Baby, Drill” craze and one month before the presidential election, Eric Schmidt unveils the Google Energy plan at Climate One. With the stated goal of stimulating debate, the $4.4 trillion proposal calls for the reduction of US carbon emissions by 48% by 2030.

Sept 2009: Climate One TV Premieres

Two years after Climate One launched, we were honored to have Nancy Dobbs, President and CEO of KRCB, in our audience.
Two years after Climate One launched, we were honored to have Nancy Dobbs, President and CEO of one of California’s PBS affiliates, KRCB, in our audience. After the show, she was so impressed with our work she suggested creating a TV show for her channel. We have run a monthly program since then.

Apr 2009: An Unlikely Summit

Two weeks before the US House of Representatives votes to approve a national cap-and-trade program, Chevron CEO Dave O’Reilly and Sierra Club chief Carl Pope meet for the first time at Climate One.

Two weeks before the US House of Representatives votes to approve a national cap-and-trade program, Chevron CEO Dave O’Reilly and Sierra Club chief Carl Pope meet for the first time at Climate One. While affirming differences in approach to transitioning to a low-carbon economy, Mr. O’Reilly agrees that climate science is valid and climate change is real.

Dec 2009: Climate One Goes To Copenhagen

Climate One goes to Copenhagen for the U.N. climate summit. (COP15)

Sept 2010: Energy, Economy, and the Environment

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears at Climate One to talk about public diplomacy and the interconnections between energy, the economy, and the environment.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears at Climate One to talk about public diplomacy and the interconnections between energy, the economy, and the environment. While discussing US oil dependence on neighboring nations Canada and Mexico, Sec. Clinton states that, “Clean, renewable energy is in both our economic interests and the interests of our planet.”

Apr 2011: Shifting Sands

Alex Pourbaix of TransCanada and Sierra Club’s Carl Pope join a Climate One forum to discuss the environmental impacts of processing oil from Alberta’s oil sands, including transport through the Keystone XL pipeline.
Alex Pourbaix of TransCanada and Sierra Club’s Carl Pope join a Climate One forum to discuss the environmental impacts of processing oil from Alberta’s oil sands, including transport through the Keystone XL pipeline. While acknowledging the relative benefits of obtaining crude oil from a friendly neighbor, Mr. Pope insists, “The United States is going to be used as a transit zone and a refining zone. We’re going to take the environmental risks.”

Dec 2011: Stephen H. Schneider Award

Dr. Stephen Schneider is widely considered a founding father of climate science, and was a very influential part of Climate One from the beginning.
Dr. Stephen Schneider is widely considered a founding father of climate science, and was a very influential part of Climate One from the beginning. He was the first member of the Advisory Board and offered invaluable guidance and support to Greg for any science related matters. He passed away suddenly in 2010 as he was en route to Climate One. In his honor, this award was established and is now in its seventh year.

Jul 2012: Students on Ice Scholarship

Climate One begins sponsoring one Bay Area high school student each year who would attend the Students on Ice program in the Arctic, simultaneously paying homage to the place that inspired his own journey.
Two of the biggest drivers in Greg’s endeavor to change the conversation about climate change are his two children. Educating and empowering the youth is integral to a more sustainable future. With this in mind, Greg began sponsoring one Bay Area high school student each year who would attend the Students on Ice program in the Arctic, simultaneously paying homage to the place that inspired his own journey.

Nov 2012: A Heated Discussion

Environmental advocate Bill McKibben sits down with former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister at Climate One to talk about the future of fossil fuels and the companies that produce them.
Environmental advocate Bill McKibben sits down with former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister at Climate One to talk about the future of fossil fuels and the companies that produce them. Both men agree that the world needs better energy alternatives but differ sharply on climate science and the path toward an affordable renewable energy mix.

Oct 2013: “Best Guide for a Challenging Future”

San Francisco Bay Guardian editors vote Climate One as the winner of the 2013 award for “Best Guide for a Challenging Future.”
San Francisco Bay Guardian editors vote Climate One as the winner of the 2013 award for “Best Guide for a Challenging Future.” The award gives special recognition to organizations that brighten the Bay Area experience. For the awards announcement, SFBG editors wrote, the “Climate One series deserves a shout-out for bringing the most pressing environmental issues of our time to the fore.” Read the full article: https://issuu.com/sf.guardian/docs/48.03/30

Jun 2014: The Answer, My Friend . . .

Texas Governor Rick Perry visits Climate One to discuss energy production and independence, citing Texas’s leadership.
Texas Governor Rick Perry visits Climate One to discuss energy production and independence, citing Texas’s leadership. “Today, the nation’s leading developer of wind energy is not one of those progressive states on the East Coast or the West Coast,” says Gov. Perry. “The number one wind energy-producing state in the nation is along the Gulf Coast. It’s Texas.” Solving the world’s energy problems, he suggests, requires innovation, competition and free-market capitalism.

Apr 2015: Looking Abroad for Solutions

Former US Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson visits Climate One and explicitly connects the dots between the climate change and the economy.
Former US Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson visits Climate One and explicitly connects the dots between the climate change and the economy, calling for greater collaboration with China to share best practices: China, he says, has “a practical, pragmatic leadership that recognizes that they’ve got problems and is going to look everywhere and move to solve them.”

Oct 2015: 2015: Amazon Watch and OPEC

When René Ortiz, the former Ecuador oil minister and former OPEC secretary general, came to Climate One, it was not only his first time riding in an electric vehicle but it was also his first time sitting down with executive director of Amazon Watch...
When René Ortiz, the former Ecuador oil minister and former OPEC secretary general, came to Climate One, it was not only his first time riding in an electric vehicle (courtesy of Greg) but it was also his first time sitting down with executive director of Amazon Watch, Leila Salazar-Lopez. It took some convincing to get the two to share a stage but they managed an informative conversation despite Ortiz maintaining that because of the world’s addiction, “We need the oil industry.”

Dec 2015: Climate One goes to Paris

At the Paris Climate Summit, Greg interviews global leaders in a marquee event supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
At the Paris Climate Summit, Greg interviews global leaders in a marquee event supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. California Governor Jerry Brown and governors from Latin America and Africa laid out their plans for decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions. The Paris Climate Accord is ratified a few months later, and leaders continue to make some of the biggest contributions towards the goals set forth by the Accord.

July 2017: Al Gore and Climate One

Al Gore comes to Climate One to launch his book and movie An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. “The climate denial is no more ferocious than the resistance to civil rights in the South,” he says. “And yet, it gave way.”

Al Gore and Climate One

Oct 2017: Civil Rights Hero, Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley

When civil rights hero, Rev. Dr. Durley, came to Climate One, he aptly explained why environmental movements still lack diversity.

It has been a challenge for people to see climate change is a civil rights issue. When civil rights hero, Rev. Dr. Durley, came to Climate One, he aptly explained why environmental movements still lack diversity. “People move from a psychological point of survival,” said Rev. Gerald Durley. “When you've got police brutality when you got rent, when you got poor education, when you've got unemployment, those issues that are very bread-and-butter issued,” he continued listing the issues. It is not that people aren’t concerned about the environment, it is that, “they've got other pressing issues.”

Now more than ever

On our tenth anniversary, Climate One is doubling down on our mission to make sure the conversation around climate change remains many-voiced, robust and at the forefront of our civic dialogue. We’re going beyond simply raising awareness to catalyzing action without villainizing individuals or groups. We’re surfacing the web of interrelated issues that impact the interconnected global economy and ecosystems. And we’re setting the stage for one-time adversaries to develop empathy and perhaps become partners who develop solutions that inspire us all.

The Commonwealth Club’s new headquarters provides a fresh and contemporary space for the most challenging, in-depth discussions. And a new generation of participants are provoking even more lively, inspiring discussions that foster educated hope.

We’re also expanding our reach through podcasts, video and social media platforms, bringing our forums and to an ever-growing community of concerned leaders and citizens.

Securing our future

Regardless of the challenges ahead, we’re in a much more informed, creative, and resolute position than we were ten years ago. We plan to be here for whatever it takes, however long it takes, and for those who are concerned about the future of our economy. Thanks for joining the conversation and for supporting the ideal of a respectful civic forum. Our work is just beginning.