Climate Leadership in LA: Interview with Mark Gold
Posted by Stef McDonald on Monday, June 26th, 2017
Tell us about your work on climate change.
As UCLA’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability, I help lead the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge with goals of 100% renewable energy, 100% local water, and enhanced ecosystem and human health by 2050. The research and action initiative was inspired by UCLA’s own Ale Hall’s climate downscaling work on Los Angeles. I get to work with incredible climate scientists as well as university leadership working towards transforming UCLA to climate neutrality by 2025.
What inspired you on your career path? And what or who inspires you now?
My environmental mentor were Dorothy Green and Felicia Marcus. I admire Mary Nichols for her amazing perseverance and leadership on climate and air.
What are the barriers you face in work — and what could make your job easier?
Right now, the biggest concern is the loss of funding for critical climate and renewable energy research. We have nearly 100 faculty working in these areas and the need for groundbreaking climate science and renewable energy breakthroughs has never been greater. The anxiety over the loss of federal research dollars is overwhelming right now.
A genie grants you two wishes that will help fight climate change. What do you ask for? The third wish is for anything you want (sky’s the limit!).
I’m not a big believer in genies! A global, enforceable commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2050 falls into the miracle category. Also, a global commitment to preserving the world’s forests, wetlands, grasslands, and oceans would go a long way towards protecting biodiversity, the lungs of the planet, and the world’s largest carbon sinks.