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Governors to Gather at Yale for Climate Change Conference


New Haven, Conn. — Governors from across the United States will meet at Yale University on April 17 and 18 to review state-level programs to combat global climate change and to develop a strategy for future action.

The gathering will also celebrate the centennial of President Theodore Roosevelt’s landmark 1908 Conference of Governors, which launched the modern conservation movement, planted the seed for the National Parks System, and inspired significant state efforts to protect land. The event will celebrate 100 years of state leadership on critical environmental issues, confront the present climate challenge, and set out a vision of a federal-state partnership for future action.

“Roosevelt showed remarkable foresight a century ago in engaging the states’ chief executive officers to preserve and protect the nation’s natural resources,” said Yale President Richard C. Levin. “Now, we face a new and critical challenge—global climate change—and leadership in the United States is coming from visionary state governors.”

Governors who plan to attend the conference include M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Jon Corzine of New Jersey, and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. Canadian Premier Jean Charest will also be present, and a dozen other governors are exploring whether their schedules will permit participation.

The governors will meet privately for high-level discussions on climate change, and address the general public during a plenary session on April 18th. In recognizing those governors who have demonstrated global leadership in addressing climate change, this gathering will also provide these leaders with an opportunity to exchange ideas and chart a forward path on state, national, and international action. While at Yale, it is anticipated that the governors will sign a climate change declaration that addresses state and federal-level policymaking. This is particularly timely as the United States prepares for new leadership at the federal level.

Nobel Laureate Dr. R. K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will address the gathering. Several former EPA administrators, including Christine Todd Whitman and Carol Browner, will also be part of the dialogue. Governor Schwarzenegger and Dr. Pachauri will deliver public addresses at the conference on April 18. Theodore Roosevelt IV will speak on the 17th about the legacy of his great-grandfather. A complete list of conference participants and other details will be distributed closer to the event.

As one of the country’s leading environmental schools, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, led by Dean Gus Speth, is uniquely positioned to host the Conference of Governors. Founded in 1900 by Gifford Pinchot, Roosevelt’s trusted advisor and founder of the U.S. Forest Service, Yale’s environment school has an impressive record of training leaders in conservation and pollution control. Pinchot organized Roosevelt’s 1908 Conference of Governors, which inspired the modern conservation movement.


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