Indiana governor presents state at United Nations climate conference

By TOM DAVIES – Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said Friday he was focusing on business as he spent this week at the United Nations climate conference in Egypt.

The Republican governor said he has spoken to business and foreign government leaders about state and business investments in renewable energy in Indiana, even amid skepticism among fellow Republicans in the state legislature about such measures.

Holcomb told Indiana reporters via video conference call that it was important to position the state to receive a share of corporate investment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are so many important decisions to make around reshoring, onshoring and building supply chains, clusters and ecosystems and making sure you eliminate all supply chain issues and have just-in-case access to products that you have to meet consumer demand,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb led an Indiana delegation that arrived in Egypt on Sunday and is expected to return to the state on Saturday.

President Joe Biden spoke on Friday at the COP27 annual global climate change conference that drew leaders from nearly 200 nations to Egypt’s resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. It wasn’t immediately clear on Friday how many other US governors would attend the conference, though New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, both Democrats, announced they would be traveling to Egypt for the second week. of the vertex.

Many of the Republicans who dominate the Indiana legislature have been skeptical of a shift to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, as utility companies have moved toward shutting down some coal-fired power plants in the state. These critics raise concerns about renewable sources providing reliable electricity and rising energy costs.

Sam Carpenter, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council’s advocacy group, said he was thrilled that Holcomb traveled to the United Nations conference and recognized the economic opportunities available with the shift to renewable energy sources.

“One thing I hope when Governor Holcomb comes back is that he will raise the question that we need to acknowledge the climate crisis, that we need to address it,” Carpenter said. “It’s hard to deal with something you don’t recognize, and that’s currently a challenge within the Statehouse.”

Holcomb traveled to northern Indiana last week for an event marking the second phase of an Israeli-owned company’s planned $1.5 billion solar park in Starke and Pulaski counties.

Holcomb said Indiana needs to be flexible as it is “vying with the world” for business investment.

“What I’ve learned is that we often find ourselves trapped in this scenario of oo,” said Holcomb. “Either you believe in science or you don’t believe in science, you either believe in economics or you believe in the environment. It is both.

Holcomb’s time at the climate conference was his sixth foreign trip this year, including to Germany and Switzerland last month and to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in May.

Holcomb also traveled to Taiwan in August amid heightened tensions between China and the United States following a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier that month. He flew to Israel last year in a show of support for the country after an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.

“I’m going where we’re invited,” Holcomb said. “I go where we are able to work to solve problems, whether they are modern problems, new days, new problems or long lingering problems.”

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