Steve Howard on Florida's new climate commitments

30 July 2007

Steve Howard, CEO of The °Climate Group, discusses Governor Crist's recent climate change announcements in Florida:

"On July 13th Governor Crist of Florida introduced a range of groundbreaking greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for the State, including a long-term goal to reduce emissions of GHGs by 80% by 2050 on 1990 levels. I believe this represents a true step change in climate action in the US.

Following The °Climate Group's work bringing business leaders together with Governor Schwarzenegger and Tony Blair, both in California last year and again at No10 earlier this month, we had the privilege to work closely with the Florida Governor's team and the Centre for Climate Strategy on the 'Serve to Preserve' conference where the announcements were made.

At our two roundtable discussions we were able to bring together CEOs and Senior Executives from an impressive array of companies including JP Morgan Chase, Sam's Club (Walmart), GE, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Publix, Lehman Brothers and FPL Group.

German Minister Machnig, UK special representative John Ashton and California Governor Schwarzenegger were all involved in the event which greatly extended its reach and significance, each of their respective governments committing to long term collaboration with Florida to help accelerate change. Finally, the participation of the National Wildlife Federation, EarthJustice and Environmental Defense bought an additional and much valued perspective.

There can be no doubt that Florida faces real risks from climate change. Now, as well as seeking to manage those risks, Governor Crist's announcements show that the state will embrace significant opportunities associated with a low carbon pathway - from solar power to sugar-cane bioethanol.

The combination of a forward looking southern US state with forward looking businesses left people in no doubt that the US is taking major steps towards a low carbon economy. Furthermore, the speed with which Governor Crist acted has been impressive and provides a great example of what can be achieved in a relatively short space of time."

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