Green Laws Can Help Save Economy, Planet Says Schwarzenegger

Dec. 8, 2008
Governor sees risk in status quo and presses for investment in renewable energy

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told UN delegates locked in climate talks on Dec. 8 that the world economic crisis should not slow down the fight against global warming. "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 told some 10,000 delegates in Poznan, Poland in a video message.

"The green rules and regulations that will help save our planet will also revive our economies," he said.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is charged with hammering out for a new global climate pact by the end of next year.

"There is far more economic risk in the status quo -- wasting energy, burning fossil fuels and destroying forests -- than there is in fighting climate change by developing clean, renewable energy and saving forests," the governor said.

Schwarzenegger announced he would attend the UN climate summit in Copenhagen next December, the deadline set for reaching a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, whose provisions expire in 2012.

"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," he said.

Thirty-two other U.S. states had already forged their own plans to reduce the greenhouse gases that drive global warming.

If it were a country California would be the world's fifth largest economy and 12th biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.

This week, California is finalizing work on climate legislation aimed at cutting state emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 -- the same goal targeted by the European Union.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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