"The Gathering of One Hundred": The Climate Group convenes top US business and government leaders
- 06 March 2009
The Climate Group hosted "The Gathering of One Hundred" at the US Botanic Garden Conservatory in Washington, DC on March 3, 2009.
The gathering brought together select top business executives and environmental policy makers. The theme was straightforward: The US Congress, Obama Administration, state Governors and corporate leaders across all industries have the historic opportunity to frame federal policy on climate change.
The evening's speakers underlined the urgency to act now. Strong federal policy, supported by the states and by industry, is needed so that the US can join other nations in committing to meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at the next international climate change conference in Copenhagen later this year.
Policy makers in attendance included Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Representative John Dingell (D-MI15), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Chair of the President's Council on Environment Quality Nancy Sutley. The Rt. Honorable Tony Blair, a strong supporter of The Climate Group, joined the group to share an international perspective.
Neville Isdell, Chairman, The Coca-Cola Company and Blythe Masters, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase provided corporate perspectives on climate change policy.
Isdell spoke of how business can tackle climate change and said, "The political climate has changed. There is a new urgency among governments to address climate change. Leading organizations like The Climate Group are helping bring stakeholders together to move the agenda forward toward Copenhagen and beyond."
Achieving the scale and the speed to meet the climate change challenge demands new partnerships between business, government and civil society - what Isdell calls the "Triangle of Sustainability."
Despite the daunting tasks ahead of business and government, Isdell was upbeat: "We have mountains to climb, but even more I feel that working together synergistically we can do what this moment requires of us."
Joining Isdell and Masters were other top executives, including Lew Hay, Chairman & CEO of Florida Power & Light,, John Chambers, Chairman & CEO of Cisco and Jeff Swartz, Chairman & CEO of Timberland. Recognizing the crucial role for public-private partnership to address global climate change, the corporate leaders in attendance spoke eloquently about what is needed to move America into the new energy economy.
"The Climate Group is working with our international business and government members to accelerate the implementation of breakthrough technologies, supporting activities ranging from piloting to financing and policy support," said Michael Allegretti, Director of Government Relations for The Climate Group. "I am truly humbled by the possibilities that this group of one hundred can achieve. You are the men and women who can steer us towards a clean, innovative and prosperous world."