Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Aimee Christensen on nature and politics

Valley People

Express Staff Writer

Aimée Christensen is a local woman who has taken her passion for environmental conservation to the halls of power in Washington, D.C., and to the wider global stage in an effort to preserve what she loves most. She is CEO of Christensen Global Strategies, advising companies, investors, institutions, governments and nonprofit groups that are facing the global challenges of climate change, ecosystem degradation and resource scarcity.

Christensen serves as strategic adviser to Cambridge University's Programme for Sustainability Leadership and to the Prince of Wales' Business & Sustainability Programme. She is also program chair of the World Climate Summit, which brings together business leaders to collaborate on building a clean global economy. She is the 2011 Hillary Institute for International Leadership laureate for exceptional leadership on climate change solutions and is a 2010 Aspen Institute Catto fellow.

Christensen has two decades' experience in policy, law, advocacy and philanthropy. She has worked with, The World Bank and the U.S. Department of Energy, where she drafted the first bilateral and regional climate change accords.

Before getting into the thick of political discourse over one of the most transcendent issues of our time, Christensen spent her childhood in the Wood River Valley, learning from her parents, Ann and Doug Christensen, to treasure and study the wonders of nature.

"We had black widow spiders in jars and frozen birds in the freezer," she said during a recent "Tedx Talk," one of many lectures she has delivered around the world.

Christensen is a contributor to energyNOW! on ABC and Bloomberg. She was interviewed last week by Fox News about a drop in solar company stocks following a controversy involving bankrupt Solyndra solar company and the Obama administration.


During the interview, she provided some perspective on the broader potential of U.S. solar energy companies and alternative energy sources in general, in the wake of the scandal. Christensen explained that Solyndra had produced an innovative, non-silicon-based product. She said a drop in the price of silicon, used to make solar panels, contributed to Solyndra's demise, despite a $500 million guaranteed loan.

"Overall prices for the solar industry have dropped 37 percent in the last three years, which is great for the solar industry, but bad for companies like Solyndra," she said.

Christensen has worked with both the Clinton and Obama administrations, often promoting a shift in government subsidies from fossil-fuel-based energy companies to alternative sources such as wind and solar. She recently moderated a discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York City. She served during the early years of the gathering as deputy chair for climate and energy.

This week, she spoke to the Idaho Mountain Express by phone during a break from an annual advisory board meeting at Stanford University, where she earned a law degree. She focused on the need to engage the business community in a long-term plan to save the environment.

"They (companies) have to meet quarterly earnings requirements, so they are focused on the short term, but money is not a perfect proxy for long-term human well-being," she said. "We currently are rewarding near-term financial outcomes. We have to value externalities, like carbon."

Christensen is a proponent of a proposed carbon cap-and-trade system to incentivize a reduction in carbon-based greenhouse gas emissions. She says the United States should invest in green technologies now, rather than wait for them to become more profitable.

She said her work involves creating corporate strategies with social benefits, and how to match these strategies with business bottom lines.

"How do we really redirect capital at a scale to get us at a more prosperous path now for the future? By valuing long-term human well-being," she said. "Nature underpins this so much."

Tony Evans:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.