KC Golden of Climate Solutions Wins Heinz Award

KC Golden, Climate Solutions
KC Golden of Climate Solutions

Teresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation today announced KC Golden, an advocate for climate solutions, as a recipient of one of five prestigious Heinz Awards. During his nearly 30-year career, Mr. Golden has made tremendous progress advancing policies that promote clean energy solutions and sustainable prosperity. Honored in the award category of Public Policy, Mr. Golden will receive an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000.

Mr. Golden currently serves as the Policy Director for Climate Solutions, a research and advocacy organization pioneering practical and profitable solutions to global warming, where he encourages businesses and public officials to embrace clean energy solutions and advance strong climate policies.

“KC Golden is proof that the art of creative problem-solving can still win the day in shaping our public policy. By mastering the facts and working to truly understand the needs and priorities of the major players in the climate debate, he has helped steer public policy towards building fundamentally cleaner and more sustainable systems, providing an essential cornerstone to changes undertaken in Washington State and elsewhere,” Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation, said today. The practical and profitable solutions to global warming that he has pioneered prove that strong climate action builds both economic vitality and healthy communities, building on the sort of mutual shared interest that is at the heart of all good policy.”

From his work as a river guide to his service in the non-profit and public sectors, Mr. Golden has always had a passion for sustainable solutions. That passion has driven him to work tirelessly over the years, sustaining momentum and inspiration over the course of a long and often uphill battle to win responsible climate policies.

Mr. Golden has worked alongside Washington State Governors Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke to pass clean car and energy laws, as well as legislation to limit the state’s climate pollution and to train workers for clean energy jobs.

Throughout his career, Mr. Golden has built bridges among business, government, agricultural, faith and environmental communities to advance practical solutions. Working across traditional political and economic boundaries, he has been able to build common ground among diverse interests to advance renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable fuels, cleaner vehicles and smart energy technology.

Working with Seattle Mayors Paul Schell, Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn, Mr. Golden played a pivotal role in driving local leadership for climate solutions. He developed the plan to make Seattle the first city to meet all of its electric power needs with no climate pollution, a goal the city reached in 2005. Building on that success, he helped Mayor Nickels launch and promote the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which – within months – was signed by hundreds of mayors from 37 states representing 35 million people. It has now been signed by over 1,000 mayors and has helped spur implementation of local solutions in large and small communities across America. These local climate leaders are demonstrating the power of solutions in their own communities, and are joining with other communities around the world to drive global action from local roots.

“Climate disruption is a huge problem, but it’s not that complicated. We know how to tackle it. We know what’s necessary and what’s right:  we have to transform our energy economy from the fossil-fuel based systems of the past to the clean energy systems of the future.  And as we do, we can build a stronger economy and healthier communities – sustainable, broadly-shared prosperity. We have the technology, we have the economic models; now it’s up to us to prove that we have the wisdom and the will,” said KC Golden. “It won’t be easy, but it’s not optional.”

Mr. Golden realizes that building effective solutions at the scale of the climate problem means much more than “environmental protection.” It requires rebuilding the economy on sustainable foundations, with the full partnership of business, government and civil society. He has helped to inspire a new kind of inclusive advocacy with the vision of sustainable prosperity: prosperity that can work for many more people, in the Northwest and around the world.

Mr. Golden has also been honored by Seattle magazine as one of Seattle’s “Power 25” most influential people, and its #1 Eco Hero.

In addition to KC Golden, the 18th Heinz Awards honor the following individuals:

  • Arts and Humanities: Mason Bates, Ph.D., Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, (San Francisco, Calif.), for dissolving the traditional boundaries of classical music and moving orchestral music into the digital age
  • Environment: Richard J. Jackson, M.D., M.P.H., University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health, (Los Angeles, Calif.), for his visionary approach to promoting public health through smarter urban planning and designing healthy communities
  • Human Condition: Freeman Hrabowski, III, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, (Baltimore, Md.), for inspiring minority students to the highest levels of excellence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)
  • Technology, the Economy and Employment: Jay Keasling, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Joint BioEnergy Institute, (Berkeley, Calif.), for his innovations in the emerging field of synthetic biology impacting medicine, chemistry and clean energy

About the Heinz Awards

Established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, the Heinz Awards celebrate the accomplishments and spirit of the Senator by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him.

The awards, administered by the Heinz Family Foundation, annually recognize individuals for their contributions in the areas of: Arts and Humanities; Environment; Human Condition; Public Policy; and Technology, the Economy and Employment.

Nominations are submitted by invited experts, who serve anonymously, and are reviewed by jurors appointed by the Heinz Family Foundation. Award recipients are ultimately selected by the Board of Directors.

In addition to the monetary award, recipients are presented with a medallion inscribed with the image of Senator Heinz on one side and a rendering of a globe passing between two hands on the other. The Heinz Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pa. on October 11. For more information about the Heinz Awards or the recipients, including photographs, visit www.heinzawards.net.

Source:  Heinz Foundation Press Release, September 12, 2012.