Hey Washington! Governors and Other Leaders Pledge Climate Action
It was the largest group of regional leaders ever to gather to talk climate change: more than 1,200 attendees from more than 70 states, provinces and countries came to Los Angeles last week for the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2 to develop partnerships to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, jump start green energy development around the globe and send a strong message to world leaders who will gather in Copenhagen in December.
In attendance were 14 U.S. governors, seven Canadian premiers, governors from Brazil, France, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Korea, Senegal, and Ukraine and the mayors of London and Toronto – all eager to demonstrate the role they can play in protecting the global climate.
Forests were one hot topic of discussion, as officials and environmental groups debated whether wealthy nations should compensate poorer, heavily forested countries for saving their trees by implementing rules, similar to those recently adopted in California, to measure the carbon in their forests and provide credits to companies willing to pay for offsetting emissions, according to the Monterey Herald. One possibility considered was that countries or provinces might participate in California's planned cap-and-trade program or a proposed system involving six other Western states and four Canadian provinces, which could bring millions of dollars to places like Brazil and Indonesia.
When the summit was over, 30 officials signed a declaration committing them to work together to pursue clean transportation and support national climate change legislation. The declaration also recognized the important role of sub-national governments in the discussions to come in Copenhagen.
The statement reads, in part: "Our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change can strengthen global, national and sub-national economies. These efforts enhance energy security, increase energy efficiency and create new industries and good jobs that stimulate diverse, decentralized and sustainable economic activity."
This was the second time Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger convened the meeting, which was was co-sponsored by the United Nations. Schwarzenegger vowed to send UN negotiators the results of the summit and to represent the leaders in Copenhagen.
- Suzanne Bopp