The Western Governors’ Association ("WGA") will hold its annual meeting in Park City, Utah on June 14-16, 2009. Based on a review of the Agenda posted to the WGA’s website, the focus of the meeting will be on developing regional and global strategies for addressing important issues related to energy resources, climate change and water. I will be attending the annual meeting this year and reporting on the outcome of discussions on the following topics:
On June 14, 2009, there will be a panel discussion on policies and technologies to address water use in an era of declining water supplies due to climate change. Panelists include: Dr. Peter H. Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute; Professor Eilon Adar, Zuckerberg Institute for Water Resources, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Doug Miell, Principal, Miell Consulting; Cameron J. Brooks, Ph.D., Director of Solutions and Business Development for IBM Corporation’s Big Green Innovations initiative.
On June 15, 2009, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff will provide their perspectives on developing large amounts of clean energy in the West and the transmission lines needed to bring it to market. Following their remarks, they and the Governors will have the opportunity to discuss what cooperation is needed between states and the federal government to accelerate progress. An outline of discussion points that might be expected from the Governors during this session could include topics addressed in the letter dated May 1, 2009 from the WGA to the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.
In addition, there will be a panel discussion on international, U.S. and regional strategies for addressing climate change. Panelists for this discussion include: Robert B. Zoellick, President of The World Bank; Joan Ruddock, British Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy; and Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Attendees at the conference will also have the opportunity to hear a briefing from Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, on "Creating a National Climate Service."
On June 16, 2009, Susan Shirk, Director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California, San Diego, will be a Keynote speaker, followed by a panel discussion on ways national and subnational governments can cooperate to expedite the deployment of new technologies and policies to address energy and climate change. Panelists include: Eric Heitz, President of The Energy Foundation; Susan Shirk, Director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation; Charles Freeman, Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The meeting is being hosted by Utah Governor and Western Governors’ Association Chairman Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., and his wife Mary Kaye and Lt. Governor Gary Herbert. Expected at the meeting are eleven Western Governors and three Western Canadian Premiers and 500 attendees including Obama Administration officials, other VIPs and industry and non-governmental leaders from around the West, across the country and around the world.