POZNAN, Poland, December 8, 2008 (ENS) - Green rules and regulations will help both the climate and the economy, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today told UN delegates gathered in Poland at The Climate Group's second annual States and Regions Climate Leaders Summit.
"States and provinces have long been at the forefront of developing green technologies and protecting our economy so that they are setting great examples for our federal counterparts," the California governor said via video message.
His audience was international environment ministers and regional government leaders from around the world, who are in Poznan for the annual United Nations climate conference. They are negotiating a successor agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
Chaired by Premier Mike Rann of South Australia, the Climate Group Summit is intended for sub-national government leaders who have taken action on climate change as well as a select group of finance and low carbon technology industry leaders.
Governor Schwarzenegger said the financial troubles affecting global, national, and state economies are no excuse to stall on taking steps to combat climate change.
"Of course, there are some people who say that we can't afford the fight against global warming while our economies are down, but the exact opposite is true," he said. "The green rules and regulations that will help save our planet will also revive our economies."
Governor Schwarzenegger said he plans to travel to next year's UN climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark to support President-elect Barack Obama's recent pledge that under his administration the U.S. government will match efforts of states and other nations leading the fight against climate change.
The state of California is the world's fifth largest economy and the world's 12th biggest emitter of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, said, "More of the world's states and regions must become laboratories for low carbon development. The window of opportunity for our world leaders to break the deadlock around a new global climate deal is closing. Tomorrow's global economy cannot afford any crisis of climate leadership today."
The Climate Group is an independent not-for-profit organization founded in 2004, working internationally with government and business leaders to accelerate a low carbon economy.
California is this week finalizing work on implementing its Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which is aimed at cutting state emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
The new law is estimated to generate US$4 billion in income; increase Gross Regional Product by US$60 billion; and create 103,000 new jobs over the same period.
The governor today said dozens of businesses have voiced "enthusiastic support" for California's proposed green laws, saying, "Study after study has shown that our approach will save consumers money, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and create billions in new payroll."
Discussions at the Climate Group Summit aim to foster strategic partnerships in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, low carbon technology deployment, fiscal policy and land-use initiatives in the forests, water, and agriculture sectors.
The Climate Group Summit will conclude with a statement highlighting the work of sub-national governments and low carbon technology leaders which will be delivered to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change as a model of cooperation for international negotiations.
Watch Governor Schwarzenegger's address to The Climate Group's State and Regional Climate Summit here.
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