The Scale of Deep Decarbonization

September 20-21, 2017
Faculty House, Columbia University 64 Morningside Drive, New York, NY 10027

Introduction and Background

The second Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC) took place during Climate Week NYC 2017 at Columbia University in New York. LESC is focused on technological developments that can support the implementation of the Paris Agreement. It aims to promote problem-solving, brainstorming and global co-creation of multi-sector solutions to address climate change. The solutions are within reach and yet, our targets fall short and our timelines do not align. Most alarmingly, global climate change is still rapidly approaching dangerous tipping points due to the slow pace of implementation.

How do we make these solutions practical and accessible to all? And how do countries around the world access the knowledge, resources and partners they need to realize ambitious nationally determined commitments (NDCs) to reduce emissions?

Working in a three-way partnership, ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) have brought together world-leading scientists, engineers and technical experts from business, academia and local government to share knowledge, identify bottlenecks, discuss best practices and prioritize future research. The goal is to identify the potential technologies and pathways for the necessary transformation in each sector.


September 20

Registration Opens


LESC Partner Welcome

9:00 - 9:15am

  • Guido Schmidt-Traub, Director, SDSN
  • Angie Fyfe, CEO, ICLEI USA
  • Rasmus Valanko, Director Climate & Energy, WBCSD

Progress Since Last Year and Expectations for COP23

9:15 - 9:30am

  • Laurence Tubiana, CEO, European Climate Foundation

Conference Expectations and Enel Introduction

9:30 - 9:45am

  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director SDSN

Road Towards Zero Emissions: Vision for the Future of the Energy Industry

9:45 - 10:00am

  • Francesco Starace, CEO, Enel

Networking Break

10:00 - 10:15am

‘Session A: Deep Decarbonization Pathways: Where Do They Lead?’

10:15am - 12:15pm

  • Chaired by Jim Williams, Associate Professor in Energy Systems, University of San Francisco
  • Chaired by Margaret Torn, Professor, U.C. Berkeley
  • Chris Battaille, Researcher, Simon Fraser University
  • Daniel Buira, Founder, Tempus Analytica
  • Grace Wu, PhD Candidate, Energy and Resources Group, U.C. Berkeley and Researcher, Berkeley Lab
  • Meg Argyriou Head of Engagement, ClimateWorks Australia
  • Noah Kaufman, Economist, WRI

Lunch (Provided)

12:15 - 1:15pm

‘Session B: Demand Side Solutions to Renewable Integration: Do They Scale?’

1:15 - 3:15pm

  • Chaired by Vijay Modi, Professor, Columbia University
  • Dan Steingart Professor, Princeton
  • Greg Geller Director, Regulatory & Government A airs, EnerNOC
  • Ben Haley Co-Founder, Energy Evolved Research (EER)
  • Chen Li CEO, Gotion INC

Networking Break

3:15 - 3:30pm

‘Session C. Renewable Electricity Systems: How High Can We Go?’

3:30 - 5:30pm

  • Chaired by Angie Fyfe, CEO, ICLEI USA
  • Elaine Hart - Power analyst, Portland General Electric
  • Trieu Mai, Senior Energy Analyst, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Said Mouline, Head of the Moroccan Agency for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
  • Mayor Uy-Tan, Mayor, Catbalogan Samar Province, Philippines
  • Tor Henrik Andersen, Political Adviser to the Governing Mayor of Oslo, City of Oslo
  • Jean-Pierre MAUGENDRE, Sustainable Development Deputy Manager, SUEZ

Closing Remarks


September 21



  • H.E. Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar COP22 President, UNFCCC

‘Session D. Autonomous and Electric Vehicles: On the Road to Deep Decarbonization?’


  • Chaired by Rasmus Valanko, Director Climate & Energy, WBCSD
  • Lewis Fulton, Director, Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways, UC Davis ITS
  • Jason Babbie, Deputy Director, Urban Solutions & Strategic Program Development, NRDC
  • Doug Kaufman, CEO, Transloc
  • Corey Ershow Transportation Policy Manager, Lyft
  • Jean-Philippe Hermine, Renault VP Environment Strategy & Planning, Renault-Nissan Alliance
  • Vidar Helgesen, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway

‘Session E: Alternative Energy, Nuclear and CCS: What are the Prospects?’


  • Chaired by William Horak, Chair of the Department of Nuclear Science and Technology, Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Rachel Slaybaugh, Assistant Professor Nuclear Engineering Dept, UC Berkeley
  • Lenka Kollar, Director, NuScale Power
  • Howard Hornfeld Founder and President Fusion Advocates, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Klaus Lackner, Director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Arizona State University
  • Bjørn Otto Sverdrup Senior Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, Statoil ASA

Closing Remarks


  • Jeff Sachs, Director, SDSN

Documentary Pre-Screening

12:45 - 2:30pm

Private theatre screening of a new, not yet released, documentary followed by live Q&A with filmmaker David Schumacher. The screening is in the Schapiro/CEPSR building, Davis Auditorium on the 4th floor (campus level), room 412 (10 minute walk from Conference Venue). This part of the program is co-hosted with the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy.