Gov. Jennifer Granholm will speak on campus today at the inaugural environmental law conference held by the University’s Environmental Law and Policy Program and Environmental Law Society.
An advocate of alternative energy development, Granholm will kick off the conference, which is scheduled to continue Friday with environmental panel discussions. Granholm is expected to speak at 4 p.m. in the Honigman Auditorium.
Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said the governor “will focus on how the crisis of climate change can be turned to economic opportunity.”
Granholm, a Democrat, has called for an investment of $100 million of public and private funds in renewable energy technologies, through a new energy package, with the goal of supplying 10 percent of Michigan’s total energy needs with renewable sources by 2015.
Boyd said Granholm, once the state’s attorney general, will also discuss “the role Michigan can play in addressing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”
At the conference, Granholm will honor six University faculty members and two graduate students who contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the network of scientists who shared the Nobel Prize last year with former Vice President Al Gore.
The conference will also feature several speakers who plan to address the issues of climate change and sustainability. Georgetown Law Prof. Lisa Heinzerling will speak during Friday’s luncheon. Heinzerling played a pivotal role in authoring briefs for Massachusetts v. EPA, a Supreme Court case in which the court ruled that the Clean Air Act could regulate greenhouse gas pollutants.
David Uhlmann, the Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program, said he hopes the conference will encourage discussion about environmental challenges.
“The goal of the conference is to talk about how the next (presidential) administration can address global climate change,” he said.
This year, the University has embraced the issues of alternative energies research and innovation. The College of Literature, Science and the Arts has chosen “Energy Futures” as its theme this semester. Earlier this year, the school hosted a kickoff event with Robert Musil, the former CEO for Physicians for Social Responsibility, who urged students to unite and mobilize against global climate change.