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2008 Conference of Governors on Climate Change —
Background

Background Agenda Expected Outcomes Contact

“This Conference on the conservation of natural resources is in effect a meeting of the representatives of all the people of the United States called to consider the weightiest problem now before the Nation.”

... so said President Theodore Roosevelt in May of 1908 in his opening address at the White House Conference of Governors which launched the modern conservation movement and planted the seed for the National Parks System. Roosevelt, an avid hunter and outdoorsman, showed remarkable foresight in engaging the “chief executive officers of the States” to preserve and protect the Nation's natural resources.

Now, 100 years later, we face a new and critical challenge: global climate change. This time, however, leadership in the United States is coming from visionary state governors who are simultaneously acting to grow their economies, protect their people and ecosystems, and address this global challenge.

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies commemorated the 100th anniversary of Roosevelt's legacy with a Conference of Governors on Climate Change on April 17 and 18, 2008. This conference celebrated the past, confronted the present climate challenge, and envisioned a new future. In particular, this conference recognized those governors who have demonstrated global leadership in addressing climate change and also provided these leaders with an opportunity to exchange ideas and chart a forward path on state, national, and international action. The event included both an exclusive forum for private discussion among the governors as well as an open plenary session to give participants the opportunity to address the media, policymakers, students, and the world. Given the scope of this challenge, international governor-equivalents who have demonstrated visionary tactics on addressing climate change were also invited to participate.