SACRAMENTO and COPENHAGEN /California Newswire/ — Highlighting California’s leadership in combating climate change and growing a green economy, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday addressed delegates from nations, states, provinces and regions from around the world at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The Governor encouraged commitment and action at regional, national and international levels modeled after California’s subnational approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, advance clean energy and fuels and create green jobs.
“Climate change is a global problem that demands global solutions, but while national governments have been fighting over emission targets, subnational governments like California have been adopting their own targets, laws and policies,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “And the truth is, the world’s national governments cannot make the progress that is needed on global climate change alone, they need the help of cities, states, provinces and regions in enacting real climate solutions. California has shown that a subnational government can lead the way to national change and I urge all of the world leaders here in Copenhagen to liberate the power beneath the national level to help us create an environment we can proudly pass down to our children, grandchildren and beyond.”
Yesterday, Governor Schwarzenegger and subnational leaders from Canada, Nigeria, France and Algeria announced an agreement to advance the concept of a new regional coalition to fast track the results of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and push their respective national governments into more rapid actions and stronger commitments to fight climate change. These founding members will develop the coalition’s principles, formulate a shared vision of global security and prosperity and recruit other subnational members for an official launch of the Club of 20 Regions (R20) next September. The R20 coalition is an extension of the Global Climate Solutions Declarationsigned at Governor Schwarzenegger’s Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2in October. In addition to Governor Schwarzenegger, the founding R20 members include: Premier Jean Charest of Quebec; Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan of Delta State, Nigeria; Minister Cherif Rahmani of Algeria; and President Jean Paul Huchon of Region Ile de France.
For years, Governor Schwarzenegger has worked to bring world leaders together at all government levels to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create a healthier environment and build green economies. In California, the Governor has held two Governors’ Global Climate Summits to bring together U.S. and international leaders to work together in the fight against climate change. Representatives from more than 70 states, provinces and countries participated in the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2, held earlier this year in Los Angeles. It was the largest gathering of regional leaders focused on climate solutions and working towards collaborative actions to help reduce emissions and build green economies.
The Governor’s summits have helped provide a platform for states and provinces to partner to reduce emissions, to grow their green economies and to influence their national governments towards the same goal. At the conclusion of this year’s summit, Governor Schwarzenegger joined 30 global leaders in signing the Global Climate Solutions Declarationcommitting all to work together to pursue clean transportation and mobility, support national climate change legislation, include forests in climate policy development, acknowledge the need for adaptation efforts and recognize the role of subnational governments in climate change discussions and actions.
Since the Global Climate Solutions Declaration in October, 21 additional regional government leaders have signed on, making the commitment to address the effects of climate change. Additionally, just today before Governor Schwarzenegger addressed delegates of the conference in Copenhagen, the first governor in Brazil to adopt a hard cap on emissions of 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, Governor Josè Serra of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, signed onto the declaration. The founding members of the R20 coalition have also joined and signed onto the collaborative effort at the Copenhagen conference.
Under Governor Schwarzenegger’s leadership, California has consistently led the nation and the world in enacting some of the most ambitious policies to protect the environment and fight climate change, including:
•Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32): Through AB 32, California established a first-in-the-world economy-wide, comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The Act calls for a reduction of California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The Governor has also called for an additional 80 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.
•Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS): In 2007, the Governor signed an executive order creating the LCFS, which will help to dramatically expand the market for alternative fuels in California by requiring fuel providers to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in the state. LCFS requires a 10 percent reduction of the carbon intensity from transportation fuels by 2020, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 13 million metric tons a year, equivalent to taking three million cars off the road.
•Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): The Governor signed an executive order earlier this year to provide clear and permanent direction for the creation, delivery and servicing of California’s renewable energy projects, which will help avoid another energy crisis while increasing the state’s renewable energy use. The California Air Resources Board will adopt regulations to increase the state’s RPS to 33 percent by 2020.
•Alternative and Renewable Fuels Vehicle Technology Program: In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 118 by former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez which established the Alternative and Renewable Fuels Vehicle Technology Program to fund the research and development of new technologies. The program will invest $176 million to make existing alternative and renewable fuels and vehicle technologies available in the marketplace.
•Tailpipe Emissions Standards: Due to Governor Schwarzenegger, California’s attempt to receive a federal waiver to reduce emissions from passenger vehicles has been granted. The Governor’s efforts produced a national standard for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles that will improve our environment and protect our economy. Inspired by California, the federal government is now requiring that all new cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016, making the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles 35.5 miles per gallon.
•Promoting Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel: In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger launched an initiative to coordinate the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure to match the emerging California market for zero-emission hydrogen vehicles and buses. Since then, California has become home to the largest number of hydrogen stations in the world with a network of 16 stations in the greater Los Angeles area and another 10 throughout the rest of the state. Seven more stations are planned by 2010 for the Los Angeles region which will more than double the amount of hydrogen available to the public.
•Sales Tax Exemption for Zero Emission Vehicle Equipment: Last year, the Governor and Treasurer Bill Lockyer created a program to exempt manufacturing equipment for zero emission vehicle manufacturers from sales tax. This exemption is administered through the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority.
•California Solar Initiative: In August 2006, the Governor signed his Million Solar Roofs Plan into law. Now known as the California Solar Initiative, it will provide 3,000 megawatts of additional clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gases by three million tons, equivalent to taking one million cars off the road. The $3.3 billion incentive plan for homeowners and building owners who install solar electric systems will lead to one million solar roofs in California by the year 2018.
California’s leadership on energy and the environment has influenced national and international policies. In September, the Obama Administration announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will adopt a vehicle emissions standard modeled after California’s first-in-the-nation standard and the International Code Council announced the state’s newly adopted Green Building Standards Code will serve as a foundation for commercial buildings worldwide. California also participated in the launch of China’s first greenhouse gas emissions registry earlier this year.