Dozens of former world leaders are expected to converge on Minneapolis in October 2015 for an international summit on climate change and democracy, organizers announced Monday.
The conference, called “Minnesota 2015: Democracy for a Sustainable Future,” is designed to draw people from around the globe to explore ways that democratic nations can reduce greenhouse emissions.
“It takes it beyond ‘here’s the challenge, here’s the problem,’ ” said Orlyn Kringstad, executive director of the U.S. branch of Partnership for Change, one of the cosponsors. “It’s [about] what needs to be done and how governments around the world can support those efforts.”
The summit will be held in connection with the annual meeting of Club de Madrid, an organization of some 100 past presidents and prime ministers from around the globe, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. The University of Minnesota has offered to host some of the sessions.
“We’re really calling it an event, because it’s more than just a conference,” said Kringstad.
Kringstad said that the former world leaders, who have joined forces on a host of global problems, will help focus attention on the challenges of climate change and sustainable development.
“They’re not constrained by politics or policies or by political parties within their countries any longer,” he said. “They’re much more open to speak.”
Minneapolis attorney Jim Dorsey, the conference director, said the goal is to “create a series of templates” showing how business, governments, groups and individuals can work together to reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
Those strategies, he said, “will be known collectively as the Minnesota Compact.”
He acknowledged that the politics around climate change and global warming have created a stalemate in the U.S. Congress. But he said there’s also growing support for action, especially in the business world. “The dialogue is changing,” he said.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the former chairwoman and CEO of Carlson Cos., will serve as honorary chairs, and President Eric Kaler of the University of Minnesota will serve as co-chairman.
The conference, dubbed MN2015, will be held in Minneapolis from Oct. 25 to 28, 2015.