Shai Agassi wants to tip a $3 trillion market – the market for miles. Agassi, the CEO and Founder of Better Place, told a Climate One audience in San Francisco that he plans to end oil’s stranglehold on the global economy by offering consumers access to miles in electric cars that will be cheaper, and more convenient, than the gasoline-powered cars they replace. Oh, and he thinks the market will tip by 2020.
Undaunted by the death of climate legislation in Congress, U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) vowed to reintroduce comprehensive legislation next year and guaranteed its passage within a few years. “We have a responsibility to the rest of the world. Most of the CO2 which is up there is red white and blue.” Markey, chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, conceded that events in the spring, including the health care reform push and Deepwater Horizon disaster, conspired to distract attention nationally from the importance of climate legislation. But its demise was assured, he said, when Republican Senate leaders used the threat of filibuster “as a way of engaging in obdurate, obstinate opposition to this legislation passing – and time was their friend.”
It is “morally unconscionable” for the fossil fuel industry, and the politicians who carry their water in Congress, to stand in the way of action on climate change, says Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm. A Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and former Department of Energy official, Romm says California voters have an opportunity this November to defeat the forces seeking to delay action on climate change by rejecting an attack on AB 32. “There isn’t anything more important Californians can do than kill Proposition 23 by as large a margin as possible to send a message. Anybody who wants to save the climate in this country, who wants to pass legislation, is going to have to transform politics in this country so that there is a political cost to trying to destroy the climate.
Better Place Founder Shai Agassi, and served as Better Place CEO from the company’s founding in 2007 until October 2012.
As a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, Agassi was asked, “How do you make the world a better place by 2020?” In response, he wrote a white paper that envisioned a replicable model of a single country able to wean itself off oil for transportation by harnessing renewable energy to power zero emission electric cars.
Agassi’s vision and white paper led to Better Place, which he grew into a global company with operations in Europe and the Middle East, the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific Region. Under his leadership, Better Place turned his vision to reality in Israel and Denmark in five years, with plans to scale its operations far beyond its initial core markets.
Widely recognized for his foresight and leadership, Agassi was awarded in 2011 the “Legion d’Honneur” by the French government for his contributions to sustainable transportation. That same year, the City of Mannheim, Germany, birthplace of the world’s first automobile, awarded him the first ever “Bertha-Carl Benz Award” for being a role model in taking on large challenges related to climate change. Ernst & Young also recognized Agassi in 2011, naming him “Entrepreneur of the Year” in Israel.
Agassi, who began computer programming at age seven, received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, where he began his studies at age 16. Better Place is Agassi’s first sustainable, social enterprise, which he founded at age 39, after successfully founding three high-technology companies.
Before Better Place, Agassi served as an executive board member and President of the product and technology group at SAP, the world’s largest enterprise software company. Agassi served as an executive board member since 2002, when he became the youngest member of the executive board where he served for another five years. He left SAP in 2007 in order to start Better Place and dedicate his experience to solving the issues related to oil dependence and climate change.
Ed Markey is a Representative from Massachusetts; born in Malden, Middlesex County, Mass., July 11, 1946; attended Immaculate Conception Grammar School, Malden, Mass.; graduated from Malden Catholic High School, Malden, Mass., 1964; B.A., Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass., 1968; J.D., Boston College Law School, Chestnut Hill, Mass., 1972; lawyer, private practice; United States Army Reserve, 1968-1973; member of the Massachusetts state house of representatives, 1973-1976; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fourth Congress by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative Torbert H. Macdonald, reelected to the sixteen succeeding Congresses (November 2, 1976-present).
Joseph J. Romm (born June 27, 1960) is an American author, blogger, physicist and climate expert who concentrates on methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming and increasing energy security through energy efficiency, green energy technologies and green transportation technologies.