William Becker, 62, is Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP), which has created a comprehensive plan for the next President of the United States to jump-start federal leadership on global warming during his first 100 days in office. PCAP, delivered to the Obama Transition Team in November 2008, has been called the Gold Standard of policy guidance for the incoming President.
Bill also directs two dynamic projects that have grown from PCAP: The Central Appalachia Prosperity Project is creating a plan for that region to make the transition from coal to a green economy; The Future We Want project is creating an interactive exhibit and world wide web site for the public to envision what the future will be like in a green society and to help design it.
Prior to joining the University of Colorado Denver to direct these initiatives, Bill served as the Central Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Energy, where he and his staff of 30 helped spread the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in a 12-state area. During 15 years at DOE, he became the agency’s principal expert on sustainable community development.
While on sabbatical from DOE during 2005-2006, Becker served as senior advisor to the Global Energy Center for Community Sustainability at the Gas Research Institute and as an adjunct faculty member in the Colorado Energy Research Institute at the Colorado School of Mines. He led a DOE-sponsored team of US experts to Beijing to consult with Chinese officials on the “greening” of the Olympic Village for the 2008 Games; participated on a DOE team that traveled to Thailand to advise the government on tsunami reconstruction; and served as an advisor to the Louisiana Energy Office on the sustainable reconstruction of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, one of the areas most damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Bill has worked with many other disaster-damaged communities to help them incorporate energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable design into their recoveries. After the Great Flood along the Mississippi River in 1993, he organized and led a team of sustainable development experts that assisted two communities in relocating from the floodplain and rebuilding on higher ground with sustainable designs and technologies. The projects were cited as prototypes of green community action by the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. In 1996, he founded and directed DOE’s Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development and its Smart Communities Network web site, the “granddaddy” of sustainable community resources on the internet.
In the 1970s, as the editor/publisher of the weekly newspaper in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, Bill proposed and helped implement a pioneering project to relocate much of the community from the floodplain of the Kickapoo River and build the nation’s first “solar village”. The project has been featured in the television documentaries Solar Town USA and River Town, as well as in several books, including two authored by Becker: Come Rain, Come Shine, and The Making of a Solar Village. Becker’s most recent book, The 100 Day Action Plan to Save the Planet, was published in October 2008 by St. Martin’s Griffin of New York. Today, 30 years later, Soldiers Grove is being cited as a model of what communities worldwide must do to in this time of global climate change: Adapt to impacts such as flooding and extreme weather events, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using clean and renewable energy technologies.
Bill serves as senior advisor to Natural Capitalism Solutions Inc. and on the Board of Directors of the Public Sustainability Partnership in California. He serves on the Global and North American Advisory Boards for OgilvyEarth, a program in which one of the world’s largest communications firms is providing sustainability guidance for Fortune 100 companies. He is an advisor to the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and its flagship program, the Prince of Wales’s Business & the Environment Programme (BEP). He is a member of the Experts Advisory Group for the Institute for Environmental Security (The Hague), which is commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of the Environment and the United Nations Foundation to work on climate-related global policy coherence.
Bill is a regular contributor to several prominent blogs on energy, climate and the environment including Huffington Post, Climate Progress, SolveClimate and the Environmentalist Magazine. He speaks frequently in the United States and Europe on the topics of climate change, national energy policy and the future.
During his diverse career, Bill has served as a war correspondent in South Vietnam, where he won a Bronze Star medal; writer/photographer for the Associated Press; publisher of his own weekly newspaper in rural Wisconsin; editorial writer and columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, WI.; associate director of the Wisconsin Energy Extension Service; research director for the Wisconsin State Senate; executive assistant to the Wisconsin Attorney General; Counselor to the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, DC; and communications director for the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
In his spare time, Bill is a landscape photographer, blues guitarist and fly fisherman. He and his wife Mary live in Golden, Colorado.