Governors to Gather at Yale for Climate Change Conference

On Friday, April 18, U.S. Governors and top environmental officials will meet at Yale University to exchange ideas on how states and the federal government can combat global warming and develop a strategy for future action.

“This is the first time such as prestigious group of state officials have come together to have a serious discussion on climate change,” said Yale University President Richard C. Levin. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host such an important event that we hope will represent a significant turning point in how policymakers can work together to address this global challenge.

Governors who plan to attend the event include Arnold Schwarzenegger of California,  Jon Corzine of New Jersey, M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Rod Blagojevich of Illinois.

In addition, Christine Todd Whitman, Quebec Premier Jean Charest, Manitoba Premier Gary Doer and Nobel Laureate Dr. R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will participate.

Several of the governors will sign a climate change declaration that will highlight the need for “partnership” between the federal and state government.

Yale has affirmed its commitment to sustainability, especially in reducing the university’s carbon footprint with an initiative to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below the 1990 level by 2020. Yale has already taken steps to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings, use renewable fuels, reduce electricity use, and invest in alternative energy.
Friday’s gathering will also celebrate the centennial of President Theodore Roosevelt’s landmark 1908 Conference of Governors, which launched the modern conservation movement, planted the seed for the National Parks System, and inspired significant state efforts to protect land. The event will celebrate 100 years of state leadership on critical environmental issues, confront the present climate challenge, and set out a vision of a federal-state partnership for future action.

“Roosevelt showed remarkable foresight a century ago in engaging the states’ chief executive officers to preserve and protect the nation’s natural resources,” said Levin. “Now, we face a new and critical challenge—global climate change—and leadership in the United States is coming from visionary state governors.”

The following events on Friday, April 18, 2008 are open to the press and public:

10:30am—Discussion of Governors on Innovation by the States

Levinson Auditorium of Yale Law School
127 Wall Street (between York and High Streets)

  • Moderated by Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes
  • Governors Sebelius, Corzine and Blagojevich, Premiers Charest and Doer

1:30pm—Signing by Governors of Declaration on Climate Change
& Public Addresses

Woolsey Hall
Grove and College Streets

Declaration Signing:

  • Welcome addresses by President Levin and Governor Rell
  • Governors Blagojevich, Corzine, Rell, Schwarzenegger and Sebelius
  • Observers: Premiers Charest and Doer, Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursík, Sonoran Minister of Ecology Angel Lopez Guzman

Public Address:

  • Introduction by Yale President Richard C. Levin
  • Nobel Laureate Pachauri
  • Governor Schwarzenegger

Governors Participating:

  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell
  • Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich
  • Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius
  • New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine

Special Guests:

  • Nobel Laureate R. K. Pachauri
  • Quebec Premier Jean Charest
  • Manitoba Premier Gary Doer
  • Czech Republic Deputy Prime Minister Martin Bursik
  • Former EPA administrator and 50th Governor of NJ, Christine Todd Whitman
  • Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes

States sending representatives on behalf of their Governors:
Arizona, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Washington

States Signing the Policy Declaration:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Delaware
  6. Florida
  7. Illinois
  8. Kansas
  9. Maine
  10. Maryland
  11. Massachusetts
  12. Michigan
  13. New Jersey
  14. New Mexico
  15. New York
  16. Oregon
  17. Virginia
  18. Washington

The 2008 Conference of Governors is jointly hosted by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, the Yale Project on Climate Change, the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale, the Yale Office of Sustainability, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Funding for the conference and its associated outreach materials was generously provided by the Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, and the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund.

Declaration on Climate Change (pdf)

Video of conference available