Governor Manchin, Senator Alexander Address International Business Executives As U.S. Chamber Climate Summit Kicks Off

Press Release
September 21, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Remarks today by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander were among the highlights of the opening session of the Major Economies Business Forum (MEBF) on Energy Security and Climate Change at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

 Executives representing more than a dozen business organizations from the world’s top economies, who collectively represent more than 25 million businesses worldwide, convened in at the Chamber for a dialogue ahead of the U.N. climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.

“I appreciate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to speak at this very important forum,” said Governor Manchin.  “Sustainable energy will continue to be one of world’s most critical areas that we must address by coming together for solutions.  West Virginia has always stepped to the forefront to provide the energy that powers the United States, and we are committed to finding more efficient and environmentally responsible ways to continue to provide that energy source in the future. 

Senator Alexander highlighted the benefits of emissions-free nuclear power in his remarks.  "The truth is that if we want safe, cost-effective, reliable, low-carbon electricity, we can no longer ignore the wisdom of the rest of the world and must invest more in the technology we ourselves invented: nuclear power,” he said.

Earlier, the delegates began their discussion with a focus session on the nexus between energy security, energy efficiency, and climate change in developing and developed countries.  Thomas d’Aquino, chief executive and president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, served as a scene setter for the discussion, while Jamshvd Godrej, past president of the Confederation of Indian Industries moderated the discussion.

“We have to recognize that for many countries, providing modern energy services to their citizens is as important—if not more so—than reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.  “An international agreement that fails to recognize the growing need for affordable and reliable energy will not be viable over the long-term.”

Among other topics of discussion Monday were the importance of leveraging public and private sector capital to finance the deployment of clean energy technologies, as well as a discussion on the U.S. perspective on international climate negotiations with Christo Arutsio, deputy director of the Office of Global Change at the U.S. Department of State. 

The MEBF continues tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. EDT with remarks by Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., the ranking member on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. 

The mission of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.  Through its Institute for 21st Century Energy, Global Intellectual Property Center, and International Division, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is actively raising awareness of the business community’s views on elements of an international climate change agreement.            # # #