Press Release

Todd Stern and Tony Blair Among Political and Business Leaders to Address the Capitol

February 26, 2009
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Media Contact: Ben Edwards
Media Relations Coordinator
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Senators Convene Top Policy-makers, CEOs and Economists to Capitol Hill for Climate Event

WASHINGTON,D.C.(February 25, 2009)–Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will be among the high-level participants meeting with U.S. legislators and business leaders in the Capitol building on March 3 to discuss the challenges and opportunities for U.S. leadership on climate change, it was announced today. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s climate envoy, Todd Stern, will address an afternoon gathering of the event.

The symposium, ‘U.S. Climate Change Action: A Global Economic Perspective,’ will foster discussion about how the economic opportunities of U.S. climate policy, such as new technologies and job growth, can be fully captured and how the costs can best be mitigated. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), John McCain (R-AZ), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) are cosponsors of this one-day bipartisan event.

Tony Blair will be joined by business leaders Jeff Immelt of GE, Jim Rogers of Duke Energy, Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures and John Chambers of Cisco to discuss how U.S. firms can capture opportunities in, and help to build, a low-carbon economy. Governors Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, and Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia will also attend.

Policymakers from China and Europe will describe the lessons learned from their own climate policies including Zhou Dadi from the Chinese Energy Research Institute, Ed Milliband, Minister for Energy and Climate Change in the UK and Minister Connie Hedegaard from Denmark, who host the UN climate meetings in December in Copenhagen.

Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the highly influential report ‘The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review’ in 2006 and Nobel Prize winning U.S. economist Professor Joe Stiglitz, will provide their perspectives on how principles for climate legislation can be developed alongside policies on the economy and energy security.

The event is being organized by three leading Washington think tanks, the Center for Global Development (CGD), the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and the World Resources Institute (WRI), together with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which is chaired by Lord Nicholas Stern.

The symposium will open with a high-level morning discussion about how to advance U.S. climate policy in light of the global economic context and the upcoming climate change negotiations in December 2009. This conversation will be followed by a press conference to discuss the themes and key outcomes of the discussion. The symposium will continue in the afternoon with several presentations on key aspects of the climate change debate, including the costs of inaction, managing the costs of climate policy, pursuing the opportunities of a low-carbon economy, and reaching a global solution.

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK, said ‘The current economic woes provide us not with an excuse for inaction but a reason for acting. Let us stimulate economic growth by investing in alternative energy and energy efficiency; and let us invest now in these times of lower carbon price to prepare for the times when that price rises again. Let us put economic growth and combating climate change in alliance not opposition.’ Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy says “Decarbonizing our economy by 80 percent between now and 2050 would be historic. The sooner we pass climate change legislation, the better off for our economy and the world's environment. We can go about it the wrong way and create a costly and very painful disruption to our economy. But if we go about it the right way, we can avoid unnecessary economic harm and dislocation."