SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — To highlight Californiaâ€™s leadership in combating climate change and encourage action at all levels of government, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will travel to Copenhagen next week to participate in the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference. At the conference, the Governor will meet with officials, leaders and delegates to discuss how California has successfully led the nation and the world in enacting policies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, advance clean energy and fuels and create green jobs.
â€œIn California, weâ€™ve shown that it is not only possible to fight climate change at the subnational level, weâ€™ve proven that a subnational government has the power to drive change across the nation and the world,â€ said Governor Schwarzenegger. â€œAs our state has become a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting clean energy and creating green jobs, I have seen the power firsthand that cities, states and other regional governments carry in influencing and creating the new ideas that spur clean innovation. And, we are seeing our nation, other parts of the world and the private-sector respond to this power. We are beginning one of historyâ€™s great transitions â€“ the transition to a new green economic foundation for the 21st century and beyond â€“ and I hope all of the leaders and delegates at Copenhagen will join us in this brighter, more sustainable future.â€
On Tuesday, December 15, a day focused on subnational government action at the conference, the Governor will address delegates from over 190 countries to highlight leading actions taken by California to fight climate change. Using California as an example of a subnational government that has successfully taken action, the Governor will urge the international community, especially regional and local leaders from around the world, to commit to fighting climate change. The Governor is scheduled to participate in the conference from Monday, December 14 to Wednesday, December 16.
Building upon Californiaâ€™s worldwide leadership on climate change, members of the Governorâ€™s Administration will also participate in the Climate Change Conference to discuss the stateâ€™s subnational actions to end our dependence on oil, grow green jobs in California, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment. California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Linda Adams, California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Mike Chrisman and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura will all participate in climate discussions and promote California-made technology solutions in the second week of the Copenhagen conference. Among other activities to discuss and further Californiaâ€™s leadership, these state officials will: speak and moderate panel discussions related to California policies and programs; meet with governors and ministers from Africa, China, Brazil, Canada and Mexico; meet with Obama Administration officials to discuss climate solutions and other California-specific issues; meet with key members of Congress to urge adoption of federal climate legislation based upon Californiaâ€™s model; meet with Oxfam to discuss climate change adaptation efforts globally, in addition to financing mitigation efforts for developing countries; meet with the UN Foundation to talk about agricultural and climate change issues; meet with the Red Cross to discuss the global food supply; participate in meetings with national and subnational leaders regarding new regional cooperative partnerships; meet with leaders from Indonesia to talk about future collaboration on forestry and ocean adaptation strategies; meet with the Danish Minister of the Environment to discuss green chemistry; meet with members of the Western Climate Initiative to discuss ongoing progress in developing a regional cap-and-trade program and complementary measures; and, meet with members of the International Carbon Action Partnership to discuss ongoing progress in developing shared technical standards for reporting emissions.
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. Earlier this year, the Governor and UN officials welcomed more than 70 states, provinces and countries to the Governorsâ€™ Global Climate Summit 2 in Los Angeles. The summit was the largest gathering of regional leaders focused on climate solutions and participants worked to develop cooperative partnerships and promote collaborative actions needed to build green economies and fight global climate change. At the conclusion of the summit, Governor Schwarzenegger joined 30 global leaders in signing a declaration committing 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.
Under Governor Schwarzeneggerâ€™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. Some of the Governorâ€™s biggest achievements to help create a cleaner environment for future generations through reducing carbon emissions include:
â€¢Enacting the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), to establish 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 Californiaâ€™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.
â€¢Signing an executive order in 2007 to create the worldâ€™s first Low Carbon Fuel Standard (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.
â€¢Establishing Californiaâ€™s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by executive order to provide clear and permanent direction for the creation, delivery and servicing of Californiaâ€™s renewable energy projects, which will help avoid another energy crisis while increasing the stateâ€™s renewable energy use. The California Air Resources Board will adopt regulations to increase the stateâ€™s RPS to 33 percent by 2020.
Californiaâ€™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 Californiaâ€™s first-in-the-nation standard and the International Code Council announced the stateâ€™s newly adopted Green Building Standards Code will serve as a foundation for commercial buildings worldwide. California also participated in the launch of Chinaâ€™s first greenhouse gas emissions registry earlier this year.
In addition, California is a founding partner of the Western Climate Initiative, one of the most comprehensive and aggressive regional initiatives in North America. The initiative was launched in February 2007 by the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington to develop regional strategies to address climate change. Since then, it has expanded to include the states of Montana and Utah, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. The partners set a regional goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. To reach that goal, the partners are working to build compatible systems to ensure that programs can be linked for maximum environmental benefits at the lowest cost.
California has shown that leading in policy and enacting clean energy standards translates into clean energy investment and green jobs. According to an economic study by the University of California, Berkeley and Next 10, Californiaâ€™s policies will create as many as 403,000 jobs in the next 12 years and household incomes will increase by $48 billion. In the last three years alone, more than $6 billion in venture capital has been pumped into Californiaâ€™s economy, making the Golden State the national leader in the number of clean businesses. Green jobs have also skyrocketed, growing 10 times faster in California than in other areas. Another recently released Next 10 report shows that green jobs and businesses are growing faster in California than any other state in the nation.
The Schwarzenegger Administration has led the nation in fighting global climate change, expanding renewable energy and low-carbon fuel production. And with the state leading the nation and the world in developing the most vibrant clean technology industry sector, the Governor recently directed his Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) Secretary Victoria Bradshaw to oversee the stateâ€™s increased efforts in supporting Californiaâ€™s growing green economy and spurring green jobs. Secretary Bradshaw and LWDA are working to ensure that a trained workforce is ready to support new green industries from research and development to market.
To help support Californiaâ€™s growing green economy, the Governor launched two green job training programs this year:
â€¢Clean Energy Workforce Training Program: In August, Governor Schwarzenegger launched a $75 million investment establishing the nationâ€™s largest state-sponsored green jobs training program. The program leverages federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, public-private partnerships and state and local funding to train more than 20,000 new or re-skilled clean energy workers, building a workforce capable of performing the jobs necessary to meet the state’s goals of renewable energy development, climate change reduction, clean transportation and green building construction for a new green economy.
â€¢California Green Corps: In March, the Governor launched a program building up communities and the state’s green workforce, the California Green Corps will place at-risk young adults aged 16-24 into jobs in California’s emerging green economy.
Governor Schwarzenegger and his Administration recently released Californiaâ€™s Climate Adaptation Strategy final report, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive, multi-sector analysis that will enhance the stateâ€™s management of climate impacts from sea level rise, increased temperatures, shifting precipitation and extreme natural events, as ordered last year by Executive Order S-13-08. The Governor also took action on two of the recommendations in the report by announcing the creation of the Climate Adaptation Advisory Panel and announcing a new Google Earth-based application, Cal-Adapt, that will allow Californians to see the risks of climate change impacts in their communities. Showing that doing nothing would only prove to be more expensive, another Next 10 study estimates that over $2.5 trillion dollars of California assets such as highways and buildings are at risk from the effects of climate change.
Since taking office, the Governor has taken action on many other policies that promote alternative fuel, clean energy and green jobs, including:
â€¢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.
â€¢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 Governorâ€™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.
â€¢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.
â€¢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.
â€¢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.