Can the Governor of California terminate global warming?
The Hollywood action figure took a step in that direction by announcing yesterday that he would host a climate policy summit in November for governors of all 50 states and the leaders of states and provinces from other countries, including China and India. During a speech in San Francisco, Gov. Schwarzenegger said he was “tired of waiting for Washington to act,” and so would convene the governors to get the nation and the world on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The summit will take place in Los Angeles, Nov. 18-19, just weeks before U.N. climate negotiations begin in Poland in December. Schwarzenegger hopes that state leaders will agree on a framework for climate solutions that can influence the U.N. talks as well as shape the thinking of the new U.S. president and Congress taking office in January.
Gov. Schwarzenegger’s initiative comes amid a flurry of state-based activities that seek to respond to global warming. Just yesterday, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a consortium of 10 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states — held its first auction of emission trading allowances for utilities. Earlier in the week, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), which includes seven Western states and four Canadian provinces, announced a greenhouse gas cap and trade plan. And on Sep. 19, California released a new analysis that demonstrates the economic benefits of AB 32, the state’s landmark global warming law.
Unbowed by the nation’s financial crisis, the California governor said his state was moving full-steam ahead to reduce carbon emissions from 596 million metric tons (business-as-usual) to 427 million metric tons in 2020, or 30% from what would otherwise occur. He showed flashes of his acting career when he described giving the “hasta la vista, baby” treatment to some state legislators, who wanted to delay the implementation of AB 32. Schwarzenegger backed up his case with an impressive list of state programs, including a plan for a Million Solar Roofs, an aggressive goal for renewable energy, and a low-carbon fuel standard.
“The world is looking to us for leadership,” the Terminator told the audience. Judging by the enthusiastic applause he received for these lines, Californians are enjoying Schwarzenegger’s latest role.