LESC at 2018 GCAS: The Land-Energy Nexus In Climate Change Mitigation

September 11, 2018
McLaren Conference Center, University of San Francisco

The Land-Energy Nexus in Climate Change Mitigation event is a special edition of the Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC) taking place alongside the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley Lab and the University of San Francisco in addition to other local partners. The event is brought to you with support from Enel.

The 2018 Global Climate Action Summit will bring together leaders from state and local governments and business from around the world. In an official GCAS affiliate side-event, LESC will host panels featuring distinguished speakers who will highlight the current state of technological solutions in each field and identify research, funding, and policy gaps. The agenda will include facilitated networking sessions to promote multi-stakeholder collaboration.

This year’s LESC features distinguished panelists from government, academia, business, and civil society who will address the themes of energy and land use. It will begin with a plenary session on The Land-Energy Nexus in Climate Change Mitigation, a conversation about the role of energy in low-carbon land-use scenarios and land use in low-carbon energy scenarios. The plenary aims to challenge assumptions that could lead to unworkable approaches to decarbonization, and develop frameworks for land-energy integration that are conceptually sound and implementable on the ground.

The plenary will be followed by three concurrent sessions in two breakout rooms on Decarbonizing Energy and Land Use that will dig deeper into these topics and the latest breakthroughs and challenges in technology and policy. The agenda will also include opportunities for poster sessions, information stations, and facilitated networking to promote collaboration.

Poster Session

The event will feature a poster session and pop-up discussion showing off exciting new research to help build a carbon-neutral future. Read more about the poster presentations here.


11 Sep 8:30AM
Registration Opens

Breakfast to be provided.

11 Sep 9:00AM
Welcome & Conference Objectives

Jim Williams, University of San Francisco


Rev. Paul Fitzgerald SJ, President, University of San Francisco
Guido Schmidt-Traub, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Maria Mendiluce, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Margaret Torn, University of California

11 Sep 9:13AM
Opening Keynote

Valery Miftakhov, Emotorwerks, Enel
Bill McKibben, American Environmentalist

11 Sep 9:30AM
Plenary Panel 1: Climate Solutions in Action: policy perspectives on the land and energy nexus

To achieve the goals of the Paris agreement and keep global warming to well below 2 ℃ emissions from energy and land-use change must be reduced rapidly and carbon dioxide will need to be removed from the atmosphere to achieve zero net emissions by mid-century globally. Many models for decarbonizing the energy system rely heavily on bioenergy for transportation fuel, dispatchable power and carbon removal. At the same time it will be essential to preserve and restore forests as a natural climate solution and to protect biodiversity. Meanwhile food production must increase to feed the world’s growing and increasingly affluent population. How do we achieve these daunting and essential goals simultaneously?


Daniel Lashof, World Resources Institute


Governor David Ige, Hawaii
Executive Commissioner Luis Carlos Romo Salazar, Sonora, Mexico
Alexandre Ywata de Carvalho, Brazilian Institute of Applied Economics Research
Claire Jahns, California Natural Resources Agency

11 Sep 10:30AM
Plenary Panel 2: Where Energy and Land Use Meet: New Findings for Decarbonization Pathways

How much of Earth’s fertile land will be dedicated to bioenergy production in the standard IPCC scenarios for keeping global warming below 2º? This session presents expert analysis of land use in deep decarbonization pathways, challenging prevailing wisdom about what is possible and demonstrating the need for new approaches. Panelists will focus on what is required from the land and energy systems to keep warming below 1.5-2ºC.


Dan Sanchez and Margaret Torn, UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab


Petr Havlik, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Jim Williams, University of San Francisco
Emily McGlynn, University of California, Davis
Rob Jackson, Stanford Woods Institute

11 Sep 11:45AM
Networking Break
11 Sep 12:00PM
Plenary Panel 3: New Thinking on Navigating the Land-Energy Intersection

Climate protection requires a sweeping low-carbon transformation of both energy systems and land use. Yet this transformation could also bring potential conflicts. How can bioenergy production, siting of energy facilities like wind farms, and carbon sequestration in forests and soils be conducted so as to avoid impacts on food, water, and biodiversity?
This panel will look at different frameworks and implementation mechanisms to avoid these conflicts, enhance the co-benefits of carbon-smart land use, and align stakeholder interests with the most sustainable pathways. Resource managers, decision makers, and policy advisors have a responsibility to fairly and sustainably manage our natural resources. This discussion will showcase a few ways this may be done in an evermore connected world.


Chris Weber, World Wildlife Fund


Guido Schmidt-Traub, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Christa Anderson, Stanford University and World Wildlife Fund
Brian Shillinglaw, New Forests

11 Sep 12:45PM
Lunch Break and Keynote Discussion with John Holdren, Professor, Harvard University, Pres. Obama's Science Advisor

Lunch to be provided.


John Holdren, Professor, Harvard

11 Sep 2:00PM
Parallel Session L1: Implementing Natural Climate Solutions

The session will highlight the critical role of natural climate solutions (NCS) in achieving the ambitious objectives of the Paris Agreement. The session will delve into the following aspects of the implementation of NCS:

  • showcasing and comparing approaches to incorporating land-based GHG reductions and carbon sequestration into GHG mitigation strategies across jurisdictions and organizations;
  • exploring innovative financing mechanisms to drive scale; and
  • identifying gaps and needs, including discussion of inventories, targets and policies in California and other jurisdictions.

Diane Regas, The Trust for Public Lands


Peter Walke, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Hammerskjoeld Simwinga, Foundation for Wildlife and Habitat Conservation
Christopher Adamo, Danone

11 Sep 2:00PM
Parallel Session E1: From Microgrids to Global Interconnection: The Electricity System of the Future

Decarbonizing an economy requires large amounts of low carbon electricity to replace fossil fuels. The varying scales at which that electricity is supplied – ranging from rooftop systems to large offshore wind farms and desert solar installations - has very different implications for how the electrical grid is interconnected and operated. They also change the math on such critical concerns as the cost of electricity, reliability of the power supply, energy security, and land use.


Erica Brand, The Nature Conservancy and Jim Williams, University of San Francisco


Daniele Agostini, Enel
Erica Brand, The Nature Conservancy
Mengrong Cheng, State Grid Corporation
Ren Orans, Energy and Environmental Economics Inc.

11 Sep 3:10PM
Networking Break
11 Sep 3:25PM
Parallel Session L2: Land for mitigation, biodiversity, food, and fiber: how can we do it all?

This session brings together scientific and practitioner leaders from the nonprofit, research, and business sectors. They will highlight:
(1) land-use solutions in action: case studies that demonstrate how integrative land use solutions can simultaneously achieve biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, energy security, and sustainable livelihoods (e.g. in food and fiber); and
(2) new analytical approaches that can support integrative land use practices and planning through ambitious yet reasonable goal-setting and scaling of solutions.


Grace Wu, University of California, Davis and David Saah, University of San Francisco


Virgilio Viana, Amazonas Sustainable Foundation
Justin Baker, Research Triangle Institute
Dick Cameron, The Nature Conservancy, California
Renat Heuberger, South Pole

11 Sep 3:25PM
Parallel Session E2: The Step After Next: Decarbonization Challenges Beyond Low Carbon Electricity

It is well known that the key near-term steps for protecting the climate include low-carbon electricity, zero-emission vehicles, and energy efficient buildings. Many states, cities, and countries are committed to making major strides in these areas by 2030. This panel of experts explores the question of what steps are needed after 2030, through to 2050 and beyond.


Chris Bataille, IDDRI


Ken Alex, California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
Chris Bataille, IDDRI
Leon Clarke, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Ben Haley, Evolved Energy Research

11 Sep 4:35PM
Networking Break
11 Sep 4:50PM
Parallel Session L3: Solutions for Implementing Climate Smart Agriculture

This session will showcase how business, farmers, and investors have successfully worked on programmatic and project-based carbon projects, and will draw on their recommendations for NDCs across mitigation and adaptation in land use, forestry, and agriculture. Particular reference will be made to how new developments in technology across mapping, precision agriculture, modeling, monitoring, verification, and reporting can assist in scaling up land-based solutions.


Matthew Reddy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development


Hon. Ola Elvestuen, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment
Noora Singh, Global Sustainability, PepsiCo
Candace Laing, Nutrien
Jad Daley, American Forests
Bas Ruter, Rabobank

11 Sep 4:50PM
Parallel Session E3: Transforming Transport for a Clean Future

Transport contributes to 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions and growing. Transport-related energy use is set to increase 75% by 2050 unless we take serious steps to transform the current system. As climate change continues to gain importance, we urgently need a global and unified strategy to reduce emissions from transport and freight. This panel will go beyond incremental improvements to the transport system and explore what is needed for a step change in emissions from transport. The speakers will approach the system from the perspective of their own companies’ expertise and investments, covering: people and freight; long- and short-distance; and heavy- and light-duty transport. Speakers will draw on their experience of developing and deploying new solutions to identify what it will take to realize a decarbonized transport system.


Rasmus Valanko, World Business Council for Sustainable Development


Anirban Ghosh, Mahindra Group
David Schlosberg, eMotoworks
Patrick Browne, United Parcel Service
Michael Burns, Novozymes
Eric van der Schans, Port of Rotterdam

11 Sep 6:00PM
Cocktail Reception