Major Climate Conference on Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New York State will be the site of a major conference to identify actionable solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Scheduled for June 25th and 26th in the Adirondack Park, the Conference will convene business leaders and experts on climate change economics, carbon finance, selected emissions sectors, and the U.S. carbon sink. Participants are expected to produce a slate of possible policy and regulatory options to overcome market and other barriers that are inhibiting implementation of substantial low-cost greenhouse gas emission reductions.

“We know ways exist to materially cut greenhouse gas emissions. What we do not yet know is the policy and regulatory framework that can kick-start these solutions so they take hold across the U.S. economy,” said Conference Co-Chair Carter Bales. Mr. Bales was a co-author of a recently published McKinsey & Company report which identifies ways to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent with positive impact on the U.S. economy. Additional cuts are available at relatively low cost (ranging up to $50 per ton of CO2 equivalents saved). “We finally have the facts in hand to move against greenhouse gas emissions in an economically sensible way.” said Mr. Bales, “Achieving these reductions at the lowest cost to the economy will require coordinated economy-wide action, which is why we are assembling this group of climate leaders to work on the task.”

The Conference is by invitation only, and will be limited to 125 participants. “Many past conferences have focused on identifying the problem and its causes,” said Ross Whaley, the other conference Co-Chair. “This is not another of those conferences. This conference centers on finding the U.S. solution.” Robert Socolow, the Princeton University physicist and co-director of the University’s Carbon Mitigation Initiative called the planned gathering, “a serious opportunity to prove we can start to get ideas into the market. We are going to go beyond the theory that this will work, and into the reality of making it work.”

Judith Enck, New York State’s Deputy Secretary for the Environment is also expected to attend. “New York has long been a leader in protecting the environment,” said Ms. Enck. “This Conference is going to look at the most cost-effective ways we can bring real reductions in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions based on serious and thorough research. We are especially interested because the conference will focus on ways we can reduce emissions in a way that will create net economic benefits.”

Conference organizers said New York State provides an ideal venue for the national conference in part because the state has offered to help advance a slate of pilot projects designed to test certain of the recommendations that might arise from the conference.

More than 70 major businesses and organizations are scheduled to participate. Businesses slated to date to participate include Brookfield Power, National Grid, Honeywell, Hellmuth Obata & Kassabaum (the world’s largest architectural firm), General Electric, AES Corporation, Bovis Lend Lease, (one of the world’s biggest project management and construction companies), Credit Suisse Capital Markets, and McKinsey & Company. Conference partners include New York State, the New York Academy of Sciences, The National Geographic Society, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Yale School of Environment and Forestry, the US Green Building Council, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the American Museum of Natural History.

"Holding this conference in the Adirondack Park is no accident. It will bring together people from around the nation to a place where New Yorkers have taken leadership positions on many critical environmental issues over the years,” said New York State’s DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. Moreover, the Adirondack Park reminds us what is at stake if we fail to curb greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Conference will be held at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The new museum complex was recently awarded a Silver LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.

For a list of conference advisors and participants and more information about the Conference, please refer to the Conference website.

For information on the McKinsey Report, Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost? see the McKinsey Special Climate Change Initiative at: http://www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/ccsi/greenhousegas.asp

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