A climate change conference to be held in Paris in December may be the first in decades to feature more than two-dozen leaders, and it could come with more than just climate policy discussions.
The American Conservatives Climate Change Task Force, which is headed by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is hoping to draw together a large group of policy experts from both the private sector and the public sector to discuss how climate change will impact the economy, public health and energy in the coming decades.
The task force’s president and co-founder, Mark Hertzberg, told the Wall Street Journal that the conference could include a focus on “the role of government and its agencies in the effort to adapt and manage climate change.”
“We’re seeing more of the federal government, not less,” Hertz, a senior adviser to the Republican Governors Association, told The Washington Post.
“We have the same type of government that we did before, but now we have a whole lot more people to coordinate.
We’re getting more involved.”
He added, “It’s not a one-way street.
We want to get as much information as we can to make informed decisions.”
While the conference will focus on climate policy, other topics could also be on the table.
Hertz said he expects to talk about the economic impact of climate change, how states and local governments can reduce carbon emissions, and how private industry will adapt to the impacts of climate.
“The conference will have a lot of energy to talk to the private-sector stakeholders and the governments,” Hertsberg said.
“It may be a lot more interesting than just the science.”
But Hertz stressed that the goal of the conference is to “make the case that we can solve climate change through more action, not just by the government, but by private sector.”
The task group is also looking to get more government out of the equation.
“This is not going to be a one event conference,” Hertson said.
He noted that the United States is a “high carbon country,” with “high emissions” in every state.
“That means we’re going to have to make some tough choices, both in terms of our climate policy and in terms for our economic growth.”
As a result, he said, “the American Conservative Task Force is working with federal, state, local and tribal leaders to promote climate action, especially for states and cities.”
He said that the group will also take a look at what can be done to “enhance public health by creating incentives for cities and states to reduce carbon pollution.”