WisBusiness: Nelson says companies that respond to climate change will thrive

By Brian E. Clark

MADISON – The way Tia Nelson looks at things, Wisconsin companies that develop technologies to deal with and combat climate change will be winners in the evolving economy.

“I don’t think there is a business out there that isn’t contemplating a carbon-constrained world,” said Nelson, co-chair of Gov. Jim Doyle’s Global Warming Task Force.

She pointed to Johnson Controls, which makes environmental control systems for managing the heating and cooling systems in commercial buildings. It also makes batteries and is pursuing technologies that it hopes will help it dominate the hybrid vehicle market.

The Glendale firm is Wisconsin’s biggest company. In the most recent quarter, its sales climbed 11 percent to $9 billion and profits increased nearly 30 percent, to $466 million.

“That’s what I want to see happening in Wisconsin,” she said.

“I want to see companies that are strong and making big profits like Johnson Controls is by being on the cutting edge of sustainability and emerging technologies,” added Nelson, who is the executive secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

“We can do that and use this to our advantage. The states that do that are going to be ahead of the curve when federal legislation comes.”