The Climate Group, Royal Danish Embassy convene Midwest leaders for green jobs summit

5 March 2009

. The Climate Group and Royal Danish Embassy Convene Midwest Government and Business Leaders for a Summit on Green Jobs

. Governor Jennifer Granholm and Connie Hedegaard, Minister for Climate and Energy, Denmark offer Keynote Remarks

. Video Addresses from Senator Debbie Stabenow and Congressman John Dingell

The °Climate Group, in collaboration with Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and the Royal Danish Embassy, today convened government and business leaders at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to discuss how to bring low carbon manufacturing jobs and industry to the Midwestern region. The Climate Group, an international non-profit organization that assists corporate and governmental partners in the transition to a low carbon economy, convened the summit to support the region in job creation and business investment in environmentally-sensitive industries and technologies.

Governor Granholm was elected chair of the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) last month in Washington. The governor discussed her green jobs platform and her chair's initiative "Creating Jobs in a New Energy Economy," during the afternoon session. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Congressman John Dingell (D-MI15) offered their support via video address from Washington, DC.

"Our top priority in Michigan is creating jobs, and that is why this summit on building a renewable energy economy is so important to our state," Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said. "Building a low carbon economy that reduces our nation's dependence on foreign oil can be a source of increased innovation and can mean thousands and thousands of new energy jobs for Michigan and the Midwest."

The Royal Danish Embassy and the Danish Ministry for Climate and Energy volunteered their assistance to the region so that Midwest-based business and government leaders can learn from the Danish experience of re-making their economy around renewable energy after the oil crisis in the 1970's.

As a sign of their commitment to working with the region, Connie Hedegaard, Minister for Climate and Energy, Denmark, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm agreeing to high-level dialogue, fact-finding missions and sharing of information and technology to work with Michigan and other Midwestern states in their transition to a new energy economy.

"Thanks to our investments 20 years ago, today Denmark has a thriving clean tech industry that accounts for about 10 per cent of our total exports and is a major source of employment - in urban centres as well as in rural areas," said Connie Hedegaard, Minister for Climate and Energy, Denmark. "Through pragmatic policy, we turned crisis into opportunity - and the Midwest region in the U.S. can do the same."

Business leaders participating in the day's discussions included top executives from Whirlpool Corporation, Energy Conversion Devices, Novozymes, A123 Systems, Sakti3, Better Place, Ford Motor Company and Johnson Controls - Saft.

"We applaud these business and government leaders for coming together in a commitment to low carbon manufacturing and increased investment in renewable energy technologies that helps grow the Midwest economy and addresses global climate change," said Michael Allegretti, Director of Government Relations, The Climate Group. "Thank you to Governor Granholm, Senator Stabenow, Congressman Dingell and Minister Hedegaard for their leadership, and to the region's business leaders for recognizing the opportunities provided by environmental technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines and electric automobiles."

This summit is the first in a series of activities organized by The Climate Group to galvanize support for legislative action on climate change in the United States in 2009.

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