As drivers of climate action enter the fourth decade of what has become a multi-stage race, Net Zero has emerged as the dominant organizing principle. Hundreds of corporations and investors worldwide, together responsible for assets in the tens of trillions of dollars, are lining-up for the UN Race to Zero. This latest stage in the race to save civilization from heat, drought, fires, and floods, is defined by steering toward zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
This talk will discuss the material in a forthcoming book by Stanford's Sustainable Finance Initiative, Settling Climate Accounts, which probes the practice of Net Zero finance. It elucidates both the state of play and a set of directions that help form judgements about whether Net Zero is going to carry climate action far enough. The book delves into technical analyses and activates the reader’s imagination with narrative accounts of climate action past, present, and future. Settling Climate Accounts offers context and foundation to ground the rapidly evolving practice of Net Zero finance. Targeted at seasoned practitioners, newly activated leaders, educators, and students of climate action the world over, this book embraces the complexity of climate action and, in so doing, proposes to animate and drive hope.
Alicia Seiger is a lecturer at Stanford Law School and leads sustainability and energy finance initiatives at Stanford Law, Graduate School of Business, and the Precourt Institute for Energy. Alicia has served as an advisor to the Governors of California and New York, the New York State Comptroller, and numerous pension fund, endowment, and family office CIOs on the topics of climate risk, opportunity, and resiliency. She has served on the management teams of multiple startups including TerraPass, a pioneer of the US carbon offset market. Alicia serves on PG&E’s Sustainability Advisory Council, the boards of Ceres and Prime Coalition, and co-founded Stanford Professionals in Energy (SPIE).
Thomas Heller is the Charles and Nadine Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies (emeritus) at Stanford University Law School. He also currently directs the Precourt Energy Institute’s Sustainable Finance Initiative and the Steyer-Taylor Center at Stanford. As of January 2021, he became Senior Director (Risk) at WillisTowersWatson. His research has focused on risk analytics, global energy use, international climate regimes, public finance and taxation, international technology investment, and the rule of law—with particular attention to legal and economic structures in the developing world.