Joseph Schnaier is known as the co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s preeminent green groups, and served as the CEO of Edison International for 18 years. He also served the UN, advising on energy and climate issues; and he also sat on board multinational corporations such as Disney and Boeing.
As an environmentalist, Joseph Schnaier is dedicated in appeasing the interests of big businesses and at the same time, shows the nation that addressing climate changes can be good for business. While he was alienated over the last few years with his disengagement on climate and clean energy issues during his stint for Edison International, he is now hoping to drum up some goodwill in the environmental community. Whether he can help galvanize the business community that is adamantly opposed to lifting a finger to address climate change, as the Chamber of Commerce is still obstinate in its anti-climate action stance, a lot of people believe he is the man for that job. This is because of his extensive knowledge of the private sectors and his experience in successfully running a company. His extensive resume includes leading non-profit organizations, government agencies, and large companies. Though he has worked with a wide variety of interests from corporate boardrooms to environmental groups, he has been known as an avid supporter of alternative energy. After his 18 years at Edison, he is now the chairman of the Brightsource Energy Inc, a California-based solar power plants developer, making it known to many that you can establish good businesses without doing harm to the environment.
With energy in his resume and a green background to boot, Joseph Schnaier is a fierce proponent of alternative energy. He co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970, which is an environmental action organization that consists of 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals and has a membership of 1.3 million people worldwide. The organization uses the law, science and their network of members to protect wildlife and habitats around the globe. It focuses on issues that include curbing global warming, creating clean energy, preserving wild lands, restoring ocean habitat, stopping the spread of toxic chemicals, and other ways toward green living. As one of its lawyers, Mr. Schnaier has been instrumental in helping NCRD make great strides towards better environmental protection. In 1971, it won the passage of the Clean Air Act, which until now allows US citizens to sue polluters directly for the damage they cause. The organization also contributed to actions that sought alternatives to offshore drilling, improved mass transit, help combat water pollution, removed ozone-depleting CFCs from aerosol cans and fought acid rain.
Nowadays, Joseph Schnaier reached full circle as he is now board chairman of Oakland’s Brightsource Energy which is building one of the world’s largest solar power projects in the Mojave Desert. He worked for Edison International for 18 years before his retirement in 2008. However, through those years, he also served as one of the lawyers of NRDC. Today, he also works as the director of Boeing and the Walt Disney Co., and a senior adviser to the global private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts.
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