McKnight to Join International Battle on Climate Change
"It definitely is not about sending American experts overseas," said Energy Foundation president Eric Heitz. "It recognizes that the problem is international and that the best minds of the U.S. and China and India and Europe and other places have to work on it," he said. That includes pooling international expertise so that countries can develop their own strategic plans, he said. Those could include policies that encourage energy conservation, more efficient appliances, cleaner fuels, preservation of tropical forests, and renewable energy requirements for utilities that sell electricity.
Michael Noble, executive director for St. Paul-based Fresh Energy, said that McKnight has realized that global warming is an overarching problem that jeopardizes goals that the foundation's programs have funded for decades: housing and health, water quality, natural resources, and health of ecosystems.
"Even though a lot of attention is rightfully focused on how we can get our economy straightened out, the solutions have to be low-carbon, clean energy, and innovative solutions that we can grow our economy without damaging the environment," Noble said. Fresh Energy receives about 20 percent of its budget from McKnight grants.
Wolford said that the scale of the commitments is what is needed to prompt action on multiple fronts for an urgent problem. "It's not only the right thing to invest in, but now is exactly the time when we should make this commitment," she said.