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Terry Tamminen
Terry Tamminen is the Former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, the President of Seventh Generation Advisors, the R20 Regions of Action Founding Chair’s Strategic Advisor, and an operating partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors. His latest book is Watercolors: How JJ the Whale Saved Us.

In 1993, Terry founded the Santa Monica BayKeeper and co-founded additional Waterkeeper programs in five California watersheds. He later served as the Executive Director of the Environment Now Foundation in Santa Monica, CA and co-founded the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at the School of Law, University of California Los Angeles.

In the summer of 2003, Terry helped Arnold Schwarzenegger win the historic recall election and become Governor of California. He was appointed as the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency in November 2003 and was later appointed Cabinet Secretary, the Chief Policy Advisor to the Governor. During his service in state government, Terry was the architect of many groundbreaking sustainability policies, including the Hydrogen Highway Network, the Million Solar Roofs initiative, and California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

In February 2007, Tamminen founded the non-profit organization Seventh Generation Advisors to help other states and world governments adopt clean energy and sustainability polices based on California’s successes. That year he was also named the Cullman Senior Fellow for climate policy at The New America Foundation and was appointed as an Operating Advisor to Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity fund that provides capital to middle market companies across a wide variety of industries specializing in resource efficiency and sustainable technologies.

In 2011 Terry was appointed as the R20 Founding Chair’s Strategic Advisor. As the Founding Chair’s Strategic Advisor, Terry is advising the R20 on policy and helping with the design and implementation of climate resilient economic development projects.

An accomplished author, Terry's latest book, Watercolors: How JJ the Whale Saved Us, shares his remarkable true story of the rescue of JJ, a one-day-old gray whale that was found abandoned in Marina del Rey, California. His previous book, Cracking the Carbon Code: The Keys to Sustainable Profits in the New Economy (Palgrave), shows how to find the low carbon products and services that save money, get ahead of regulations, and preserve resources for generations to come. Terry’s former book, Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction (Island Press), is a timely examination of our dependence on oil and a strategy to evolve to more sustainable energy sources. He has also authored a series of best-selling “Ultimate Guides” to pools and spas (McGraw-Hill) and several theatrical works on the life of William Shakespeare. Terry is an avid airplane and helicopter pilot and speaks German, Dutch and Spanish.

Terry was one of six finalists for the 2011 Zayed Future Energy Prize, which offers $2.2 million of awards in the category of clean, sustainable energy recognizing individuals, non-profits, and companies that are doing the most to commercialize and distribute renewable energy to replace fossil fuels and cut pollution. Terry Tamminen was named Vanity Fair’s May 2007 Environmental Hero and in TIME Magazine’s 2007 Earthday edition, he was featured in the “51 Things We Can Do” section. In 2008, The Guardian ranked Terry No. 1 in its “Top 50 People Who Can Save the Planet.” In 2009, Tamminen was named an “Eco Baron” in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes’s book, Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet.

Entries by Terry Tamminen

Will Companies Solve Climate Change Before Countries?

(1) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 10:45 AM

I just spent a week at the 15th Annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in India, a four-day eco-extravaganza for hundreds of participants from government, business, academics, and community organizations. India, the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, may hold the key to a global climate change deal in Paris...

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Trending in 2015: Cut the Cord

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 3:29 PM

Think how quickly we evolved from landline phones, that took weeks to install, to cellphones that take a few minutes to buy and activate. Some of the same dynamics are about to force traditional energy utilities and grids to cut the cord and evolve to a 21st century customer-driven distributed...

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China's Air Pollution Solution

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 12:39 PM

China and the US announced a substantial policy down payment on tackling greenhouse gas emissions in Beijing. Related air pollution problems in China are literally breathtaking: my eyes watered and I was coughing all week, even though the smog was less than usual because the government had ordered half the...

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Climate Change Jumpers

(1) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 1:39 PM

It was fitting that New York hosted the recent UN climate change summit for several reasons. Let's start with the old joke about the guy who jumps off the Empire State Building and, as he passes the 50th floor on this way down, is heard to say "so far so...

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Divest or Double Down?

(2) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 5:32 PM

Thank goodness the graduation season is finally over. I witnessed pomp and circumstance at prep schools from Orlando to the Napa Valley and at colleges from Los Angeles to the Ivy League. The surprising topic at all of these cap-and-gown fests? Endowments divesting their holdings in fossil fuel companies.


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Democracy Beats Deniers on Climate Change

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 11:28 AM

Any American civics lesson includes the "balance of powers" of our government among its three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. When all three branches agree on something, it's hard to argue against it. The latest of those rare alignments was completed when President Obama announced his plan to tackle carbon...

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Top 5 Earth Day Presents

(3) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 1:40 PM

What do you get Mother Earth on her big day (reminder: it's April 22nd!)? She's just so hard to shop for and, after all, she already has everything. She might appreciate one of those self-help books, although few moms want a gift that implies they are fat or "polluted," but...

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Climate Change Cowards

(3) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 6:22 PM

Overheard at the water cooler this week:

Tom: Sally, did you know we can solve climate change for as little as $35 per person?
Sally: I'm afraid that's a waste of my money, Tom.

Tom: But what if a polluter gave you the $35 and you could buy things...

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Snakebit Supply Chains

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 6:20 PM

Ever hear of a reality show called "Snake Salvation?" Me neither, until one of the serpent-handling co-stars was bit last month by a snake during a church service and later died. How does this unfortunate incident relate to sustainability and supply chains? Overlooking the obvious can come back to bite...

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How to Have a Very Happy New Year

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 1:37 PM

As the confetti is swept away and the world gets back to work, will 2014 be a banner year or will we be singing that "old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind" a year from now? Here are a few reasons to think the world will be greener...

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Something Better Than Coal in Your Stocking?

(1) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 3:14 PM

Legend says that naughty kids get a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking, so do nice kids get clean energy in theirs, at least metaphorically speaking? It all depends on who plays Santa Claus with your investments or in your nation's capital.

In Pakistan, the government recently announced plans...

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The Digital Life

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2013 | 6:30 PM

Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that before mid-century the exponential acceleration of information technologies, robotics, medical science, and artificial intelligence will result in a "singularity", a point at which humans will essentially merge with their technology. Such an event may seem implausible, but discoveries of how technology and humans...

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Hug a Government Worker Day

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 12:51 PM

Ten years ago this week, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California and he appointed me to be the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Until then, neither of us had given serious thought to serving in government, but the experience changed our lives and, although you may not...

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Playing the Energy Lottery

(6) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 9:38 AM

Last year Americans spent $65 billion on lottery tickets. In some games, the odds of winning have been compared to the probability of being struck by lightning while sinking a hole-in-one. The average U.S. homeowner spends $600 a year on fire insurance, but the likelihood of ever claiming against that...

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Taking the Scare out of Scarceonomics

(3) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 11:23 AM

Global population hit 7 billion well ahead of most predictions. The UN now forecasts that we will share the planet -- and its increasingly scarce natural resources -- with about 10 billion fellow humans by 2050. Even more sobering are the numbers of people moving from ultra-low water-food-energy footprints to...

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Energy Lessons From the Middle East

(2) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 11:49 AM

Last week Arnold Schwarzenegger, chairman of the R20 Regions of Climate Action, signed an agreement in Algeria to address waste and sustainable energy challenges in the Mediterranean and North Africa. At the same time, a meeting of officials in Bahrain examined technologies and strategies to help that nation evolve into...

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Nuclear Power Is So 20th Century

(276) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 7:04 PM

When I was born in the 1950s, nuclear power was said to be "too cheap to meter." Although few and far between, disasters at Fukushima and Chernobyl have laid waste to that claim and, for that matter, entire cities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself a nuclear physicist, led the charge...

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Winning the Climate Change Challenge

(16) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 8:28 PM

A few weeks ago, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere at almost 400 parts per million. Many scientists predicted that in reaching this level, we would see more intense storms (like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy); droughts (like the one suffocating the...

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Top 5 Green Gifts for Mother's Day

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 3:08 PM

We wouldn't be here without her. We'll never fully appreciate the sacrifices she makes every day for our well-being. Yes, it will take a very special gift to really say "I love you, mom" to our Mother Earth. Here are the top 5 green Mother's Day gifts that our favorite...

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Time to Recognize the Rights of Nature

(2) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 2:40 PM

With Earth Day 2013 around the corner, it's a good time to step back and see how we've been doing since the first Earth Day in 1970, when 20 million people took to the streets to protest rivers on fire, DDT-poisoned birds, sewage on beaches, and a devastating oil spill...

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