San Francisco, CA -- PG&E Corporation this week announced the contribution of $1 million in shareholder funds to launch the “California Climate Challenge,” a new corporate-giving initiative dedicated to helping communities prepare for, withstand, and recover from extreme events caused by climate change.
Jumpstarting the challenge effort, organized by the Bay Area Council, is part of PG&E’s larger strategy to assist communities in confronting the consequences of climate change. The strategy has three major pillars: Respond -- help first responders be more effective; Rebuild -- help communities rebuild; and Resilience -- identify solutions to increase infrastructure resilience.
“We are already experiencing the reality of climate change in California -- more severe and more frequent storms, heatwaves, wildfires, and drought, along with the threat of rising sea levels. PG&E is incorporating this ‘new normal’ into how we manage risks, plan, and invest our resources. But our collective response to extreme events such as the tragic North Bay firestorms must go beyond the immediate work of rebuilding what was lost. A focus on resilience will strengthen our communities for the future,” said Geisha Williams, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation.
Respond: To help communities respond, PG&E will continue working with first responders, including firefighting agencies, on increasing their effectiveness in both preventing and combatting wildfires. For example, PG&E donated $25,000 to the Potter Valley Volunteer Fire Department in recognition of their heroic success in stopping wildfire flames from destroying a facility essential to the town’s water supply. The company also donated $15,000 to Santa Rosa Firefighters Local 1401 to fund their relief efforts.
"The hardworking people of PG&E and the Santa Rosa Fire Department work side by side in the field during emergencies to keep our community safe, which is why we are now excited to work together in bringing our community together and begin the road to recovery," said Tim Aboudara Jr., President of the Santa Rosa Firefighters Local 1401.
Rebuild: To help communities in the North Bay rebuild, PG&E donated $2 million to the North Bay Fire Recovery Fund, distributed $1 million to local communities, organized volunteer efforts, and created resources for customers and builders. We will continue to partner with federal, state and local government agencies around critical community needs related to both temporary assistance and longer term, sustainable campaigns.
“These funds are immensely helpful as we support our local immigrant families to get back on their feet. It?s going to be a long road back for many of the people we serve and all help is appreciated,” said Josefina Hurtado, Executive Director of Puertas Abiertas, a community resource center in the Napa Valley.
Resilience: In addition to funding the California Climate Challenge, PG&E is to helping to support resilience through other public-private partnerships, including this year’s launch of the Better Together Resilient Communities grant program and state-level participation in the Tree Mortality Task Force and Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program.
PG&E’s participation in the California Climate Challenge is designed to attract resources from across the California business community, while also providing a framework for corporate, government, and environmental leadership concerning the risks that climate change is creating for the state’s infrastructure and economy.
The challenge will raise money to support research, planning, and implementation of community-level “climate resilience” projects focused on California’s water, energy, and telecommunications networks, as well as natural ecosystems and wildland-urban boundaries. The total amount raised -- and the process for selecting projects -- will be announced during the September 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.
“California’s business climate is inseparable from its actual climate. Much of California’s infrastructure was built under a colder, wetter, more predictable climate than we have today. Protecting our homes and employment centers from extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods and wildfires, requires a top-to-bottom assessment of our existing resilience, and fresh thinking on how to best adapt,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council.
The California Climate Challenge Fund will be administered by the Bay Area Council Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports initiatives to build stronger, more vibrant communities, a healthy economy, and a more innovative, globally competitive and sustainable Bay Area region.
“We applaud this initiative to fund a public-private partnership for climate resilience in California. Businesses are concerned about climate risks, which have the potential to cause wide-ranging disruptions to their operations and supply chains. Corporate support for tackling climate change is only growing stronger, and companies clearly see the benefit of staying ahead of the game and doing their part,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and President of Ceres and a member of PG&E’s Sustainability Advisory Council.