INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Helsinki: Expert Addresses California,S Aggressive

Published: Wed 3 Oct 2007 01:01 PM
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RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHHE #0750 2761331
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031331Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3806
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS HELSINKI 000750
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
STATE/IIP FOR CYNTHIA LACOVEY
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV SOCI ENRG TRGY KPAO KGHG FI
SUBJECT: HELSINKI: EXPERT ADDRESSES CALIFORNIA,S AGGRESSIVE
EFFORTS TO CONFRONT CLIMATE CHANGE
REF: HELSINKI 00131
1. (U) Using California as a model for initiatives at the
state level, former Executive Director of the California Air
Resources Board, Catherine Witherspoon, presented U.S.
strategies for combating climate change to a wide cross
section of Finnish society, including government officials,
academics, journalists, business contacts and interested
citizens. During a two and a half day visit to Helsinki
September 10-12, Witherspoon offered significant insights
into the environmental policy creation process in the U.S.
and the importance of technology in countering climate
change. Witherspoon effectively engaged leading Finnish
politicians and business leaders in discussions about efforts
to develop aggressive climate policies and fund technological
breakthroughs in the U.S. Audiences asked Witherspoon fair,
though often direct, questions about U.S. efforts and the
future of U.S. climate policy. Witherspoon's approach, which
was upbeat, yet realistic, resonated with Finnish audiences.
Additionally, her visit assisted Embassy efforts to reach out
to contacts from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who
felt excluded from the High Level Dialogue last year.
2. (U) Witherspoon met numerous officials from Finnish
Government Ministries, including Minister of the Environment
Paula Lehtomaki, members of Parliament, business leaders, and
representatives from NGOs. Speaking to an audience of over
200 people, Witherspoon addressed the topic of "the
challenges of climate change strategies in California" during
a Climate Change Seminar sponsored by Embassy Helsinki, NGO
Environment Leaders' Union and Haaga-Helia University of
Applied Sciences. Witherspoon also gave presentations at two
key think tanks: the Finnish Institute of International
Affairs (UPI) and the Finnish Business and Policy Forum
(EVA). She was also interviewed by numerous media outlets.
With over two decades of experience in air quality management
and climate issues, Witherspoon is closely connected to
California,s innovative role in driving regional and
national environmental and climate change policy.
3. (U) Building upon the success of the U.S.-EU High Level
Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable
Development (HLD) in Helsinki last October, Embassy Helsinki
has held numerous activities to raise the profile of positive
U.S. actions to address climate change. This momentum
provided the foundation for Witherspoon's successful visit to
Helsinki.
WARE
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