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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

Why You Will Soon Pay More For Fuel (A Lot More)

(3) Comments | Posted April 1, 2016 | 6:27 PM

Traveling through the Middle East this week, I heard unprecedented pessimism from colleagues in government and the private sector about the health of economies that are mostly dependent on the flaccid price of oil. In Bahrain, for instance, construction cranes still punctuate the dusty skyline, but headlines are dominated by...

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Go Green in 2016

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2016 | 4:15 PM

'Tis the season of prognostications in the media for 2016, but how can anyone make serious predictions in a world full of uncertainties and surprises (think Trump, Paris terror attacks, and Kobe Bryant's retirement)? To guide my own conjecture, I looked back at 2015 for signposts and found four big...

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Paris COP21: A Real Turning Point

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2015 | 2:23 PM

As the former Secretary of the California EPA, and in my current role as the President of Seventh Generation Advisors and Strategic Advisor to the R20 Regions of Climate Action, I have long been an advocate for the power of action at the state and local...

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Bottoms Up

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2015 | 5:42 PM

A new global agreement on climate change is in the works and could be completed later this month in Paris. It's a good thing, because epic droughts, record-breaking heat and cold waves and killer storms have become the new normal, along with countless other examples that validate the predictions that...

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The Candidates' Climate IQ

(6) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 10:02 AM

As the world gathers in Paris to hammer out a new comprehensive agreement to tackle climate change, the success or failure of that deal will rest to a great degree on the next President of the United States. Regardless of one's political or economic views, or scientific understanding of the...

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A Green Technology That Isn't So Green

(5) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 12:40 PM

I have 10 kilowatts of solar panels on the rooftop of my home in Santa Monica, California, enough to power my energy needs most of the time. Instead of selling excess power to the grid (and buying energy at night when the sun isn't shining) I'd like to install batteries...

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Volkswagen, Donald Trump, and the Pope

(4) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 12:43 PM

This may sound like one of those bad jokes about three unlikely bar patrons, but German automaker Volkswagen, presidential aspirant Donald Trump, and Pope Francis actually have something in common. All three shared headlines in the past few days about the environment and climate change.

Let's start with The Donald....

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Carbon Confederacy

(1) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 2:57 PM

As recent news focused on stories and commentary about removing the Confederate battle flag from public property, there has been a little-watched movement by secessionists of a different stripe. Yes, a number of leaders are calling on states to secede from the union once again, at least as it applies...

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Utilities Going Small

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 5:29 PM

Last month in Rio de Janeiro, I spoke at a conference of the non-profit Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP), which may be the most disruptive and subversive organization you've probably never heard of. And I mean that as a compliment, because the baker's dozen of energy giants that are the...

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The Second Coming of Solar

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 11:51 AM

For nearly half a century, homeowners and utilities have mounted solar panels on rooftops and in massive generation projects in the desert. Much of that was only made economical because of tax breaks and subsidies, such as California's Solar Initiative (the "CSI" or Million Solar Roof Initiative, as it is...

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Water, Water Everywhere

(3) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 12:56 PM

By now you've heard about the epic drought threatening every California water user, from almond growers to swimming pool owners, resulting in mandatory cutbacks and ostracism from neighbors for being the last on the block with a green lawn. So would it surprise you to learn that the state actually...

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 12:10 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently urged states to join those already "refusing to go along" with USEPA regulations that would cut air pollution from coal fired power plants. Chief among his arguments is the cost of cleaning up smokestack emissions, which he calls "an attack on...

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Will Companies Solve Climate Change Before Countries?

(1) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 9:45 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 | 2:29 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 | 11:39 AM

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 | 12:39 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 | 4:32 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 | 10:28 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 | 12:40 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 | 5:22 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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