Michael O’Reilly, Director of Policy & Climate Strategy, The Nature Conservancy – Georgia
Reading the news each day can raise mixed emotions for me, but I always appreciate the frequent stories describing the new jobs being created in Georgia to meet our state’s emerging opportunities. As Governor Brian Kemp has said, “With a focus on innovation and technology, Georgia continues to set itself apart as the No. 1 state for business.”
Much of the recent innovation spurring job growth in Georgia is connected to the clean energy transition, particularly in the solar manufacturing and transportation sectors. The state’s Department of Economic Development reports $21 billion in investments announced since 2020 in electric vehicle (EV) related projects alone that will produce more than 27,000 jobs in Georgia. In his inaugural address earlier this year, the governor set a goal to see Georgia recognized as the electric mobility capital of America.
The growth of Georgia’s clean energy economy is a prime example of how challenges bring opportunities. The state’s expanding EV industry is tied to a worldwide shift toward cleaner ways to power our society. Reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is essential for addressing the climate changes that increasingly wreak havoc with our communities, farms, and natural environments. Georgia’s booming EV and clean energy industries illustrate how meeting the climate challenge with intention and innovation benefits the state’s economy and its future.
The powerful pairing of innovation and intention will be a key theme infusing the 2023 Georgia Climate Conference that takes place in Athens, GA, on May 15-17, 2023. The Nature Conservancy is proud to be a sponsor of this major conference, organized by the Georgia Climate Project and hosted at the University of Georgia. The conference brings together a broad array of speakers and participants to explore how changes are impacting our state and how businesses, communities and institutions are adapting.
Just a few of the issues on the agenda for the conference include:
- How climate affects U.S. military readiness and how Georgia military installations are responding.
- How forests, marshes and other forms of nature play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions and supporting life.
- What impacts our farmers are experiencing and how to protect Georgia’s agriculture.
- How cities and counties are enhancing their resilience.
- Expanding solar energy in ways that support wildlife and communities.
- Updating our infrastructure to meet the needs of today.
The conference will provide inspiring insights into how Georgians are using the tools of today to create tomorrow’s opportunities. For more information about the conference and to register, check out the Georgia Climate Conference website.
For those interested in a deeper dive into carbon markets and the potential of “blue carbon” projects to conserve marine ecosystems while reducing greenhouse gases and supporting communities, check out the Blue Carbon Law Symposium, which runs in connection with the Georgia Climate Conference on May 17 -18. You can learn more about the Blue Carbon Symposium at this website.