​Featured republicEn: Sara Roccisano

about 3 years ago

Sara is a renewable energy investment professional with ten years of experience on the buy and sell side of the market. She recently spoke to ClimateEye editor Chelsea Henderson about her first encounter with Bob Inglis and why the markets are a driving force when it comes to climate change mitigation.

How did you first hear of RepublicEN?
I introduced myself to Bob after an event at New York University's School of Law. He was a participant on a panel there, and given he's from the south, I'd never heard of him before the event. But he compelled me to listen to his message. With his conservative background, he talked about the importance of mitigating climate change in a way I hadn't heard the issue framed. Bob made an unexpected connection of the dots.

What about Bob's message resonated with you?
My biggest takeaway from his presentation was the idea of the Eco-Right versus the Green Left. He made a ton of sense to me. I realized I am the Eco Right. Given my background with investors, I agree with him that the free market and our entrepreneurial spirit must be well integrated into solutions to mitigate climate change. His work gives me realistic hope we can get this issue to the next level.

Can you elaborate?
I'm not a politician. I have never been in government. But from my vantage point, I can see now how everything is coming together, how it needs to come together. There is policy awareness in business and financing, and we need this perspective and involvement in order to solve a complex issue like climate change. The Green Left cannot do it without those sectors. Power to the markets equals power to the people.

What trends do you see?
I follow the issue of climate change from a business perspective, and in that regard, we have made significant advances even from where we were five years ago. Take, for example, the international agreement reached in Paris. Think about the significance of all the countries in the world committed to mitigating climate efforts. Here at home, the issue of climate change has been front and center in the presidential debates. And look at all the states with vast sources of wind power. These are predominantly red states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. People in those states, many of them farm owners, know the advantages to wind energy development. It's so inexpensive compared to the alternatives, not to mention the financial benefits of leasing land for wind farms. There is economic potential in tapping into our renewable sources of energy.

How can the financial sector help mitigate climate change?
Government can't provide solutions on its own. The Green Left can't do it either. We need participation from the financing/business sectors. When you educate people, they make choices that send signals to the market. Take the Tesla Model 3, which represents the advent of a mainstream electric car and is happening as coal capacity is being taken offline. Political leaders like to point to oil in Saudi Arabia, but do people realize that the Saudis are investing $2 trillion in weaning the country off oil and much of that money is going toward solar? Other countries are investing in energy efficiency. I
was in Myanmar recently, where only one in three households have electricity. But you see shacks with solar panels on roofs. Developing countries are not just following the coal-heavy industrial revolution footsteps of the U.S.

How can we "connect the dots" for more people?
Dispel misinformation. Provide more education and you will improve receptivity to the message. There has to be an individual story or an awareness of what's happening to guide personal choice. When the consumer is informed and empowered, that's where meaningful change happens. People opt to buy cleaner light bulbs, cars, etc. when they understand the impact their purchases have. Solar is taking off not because we suddenly noticed the sun, but because people have the choice to use it. Just as more people are choosing to drive energy efficient vehicles. But in order to choose, we need to be informed. Climate progress is going to be made based on the power of the people, not the power of the government or the states or investors acting alone.

You can reach out to Sara here