Keynote speaker Thomas Friedman is a New York Times columnist and author who is promoting his new book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded." In it, he argues national security and saving the planet go hand-in-hand.
"Green is geopolitical, geostrategic, geo-economic, capitalistic, innovative, and patriotic. Green is the new red, white and blue," said Friedman.
Friedman told an invitation-only crowd of Bay Area leaders, the country that can deliver affordable, clean, reliable energy will own the future. But if that country is to be the U.S., it will require a revolution to get there. He calls what we're doing now a party by comparison.
"You'll know it's a revolution when somebody gets hurt," said Friedman.
He sites the information technology revolution as an example of what he thinks needs to happen.
"There was just one rule in the IT revolution, it was change or die, adapt or die. It wasn't change your brand or die, it wasn't somebody give me a green racing stripe on my stationery or die," said Friedman.
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty is on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board and he's chairman of the MTC.
"Do you agree with Friedman that you can't have a revolution without somebody getting hurt?" asked ABC7's Heather Ishimaru.
"I totally agree and think there will be casualties," said Haggerty.
And not all of those casualties may be corporate.
"I totally support, and this is a hugely unpopular thing, we need to look at a gas tax," said Haggerty.
That may be a tough sell to both politicians and the public as Haggerty and the air district try to create a climate change consensus.