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Schwarzenegger moves toward market-based reduction of greenhouse emissions

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, North Light Court, City Hall
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

April 12, 2006

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday called for required carbon emission reports by large companies.

Report data would chart targets to reduce greenhouse gases, the Republican governor said in San Francisco at a City Hall forum on global warming.

"We know we cannot reach targets to reduce greenhouse gases unless we measure our progress," Schwarzenegger maintained.

"So let's work together to create a mandatory reporting system for our carbon emissions.

"We know we cannot reduce emissions unless we have market-based solutions, like trading mechanisms, in addition to our regulatory solutions.

"So let's work together to create the world's best market-based system to limit and slash emissions."

His comments came on release of the State Climate Action Report.

Full text of Schwarzenegger remarks follow:

"Thank you very much. Thank you Bill for the wonderful introduction, it's very nice of you, thank you. I appreciate it very much.

"I want to say it's great to be back in San Francisco, as always I enjoy it, and it's great to be back again in the same city, and also the same hall, and talking about the same subject as I did just last June where I declared that the debate is over, and the science is in, and it's now time for action

"I believe in those words even more so today than ever before, and I am very excited about the discussions that we will have on this issue in just a few minutes and for weeks and months to come.

"I am proud to say that our recent Climate Action Team Report is a ground-breaking blueprint that enables California to make real progress in one of the most pressing issues.

"It allows us to take tomorrow, to take care of tomorrow and make it better for our children and for all of our citizens.

"And how we proceed with this will have positive implications for the environment everywhere, because everywhere is following California.

"Recently, for instance, I was told that a Chinese engineer said that if California hadn't pioneered the use of unleaded gasoline or the catalytic converter, China would not be using them today.

"Think about that. So what we do in this and so many other issues can extend far beyond the California border.

"This report, which I have commissioned, proposes a series of very important steps to protect our environment and to clean our air by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"This report has many great ideas in it, and we should and will discuss all of them.

"California has always been a leader, whether it's high tech, aerospace, energy efficiency or exporting entertainment around the world.

"And now with this report and with actions our administration has already taken, California is a world leader in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Some have said that we cannot curb greenhouse gas emissions, that it will cost too much money, or that it will disrupt our economy, will be terrible for our economy.

"But with all due respect, these are the same arguments people have made in the 1970's when we got serious about cleaning our air and our water.

"I will never forget that in 1968 when I arrived here in California, my eyes were always burning and sometimes I had tears running down my cheeks. And I knew it was not because I missed Austria that much, that I was already in the greatest country in the world.

But my eyes were hurting because all of the smog and air pollution in Los Angeles.

"But, we have made great progress since then. The air has gotten much cleaner because we passed tough laws, we made sacrifices and took big leaps in technology and in science.

"We are faced with the same challenges here today on global warming, and many of us are reminded that no progress can be made without us all working together.

"So I look forward to working with all of you and the Legislature to make sure that we reach the emissions targets that I set out a year ago when I signed my executive order.

"And we will do this in a sensible and deliberate way. We won't rush into anything and cause any disruptions.

"But make no mistake about it, we must take strong action and we will take strong action.

"Everyone must do his or her part to pitch in and to make sacrifices, to give our environment the type of strong and committed protection that all Californians demand.

"Now in the past, we have been told by politicians, and by people in the business community, and also by environmentalists, that we have to choose between the environment and the economy.

"I reject this choice because it is a false choice.

"Many politicians see the environment as a chance to make lofty statements and play politics.

"I see the environment as a chance to make a difference and to build partnerships so that we can protect our state, protect our country and protect the world.

"I'm not concerned with speeches and slogans. I'm more concerned about answers and solutions.

"And that's why we're all here today.

"The best way to find solutions to protect our environment is for government to work hand-in-hand with the businesses and with citizens like all of you.

"We have accomplished a great deal these in past two-and-a-half years because we all worked together.

"And in working together we have accomplished a lot and we have a record that we can really be proud of.

"To protect our environment, we cracked down on gross-polluting cars and we preserved 25 million acres of land by creating the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.

"To protect our environment, to help make America more energy independent, we launched the Hydrogen Highway, a network of hydrogen fueling stations up and down our state.

"To protect our environment, we partnered with the state Public Utilities Commission to enact my Million Solar Initiative so new homes are powered by the sun's energy, not by polluting oil and gas.

"To protect our environment, I signed an executive order known as the Green Building Initiative, which calls for the public buildings to be 20 percent more energy efficient by the year 2015.

"And to protect our environment, we established a council to restore our coastal resources and we gave them the tools to do it.

"And, of course, we did all this while we were adding 575,000 new jobs since November 2003.

"California is proving every day that we can lead the world in both the environment and job creation.

"A state reveals its true character by the values it upholds and by the policies it pursues.
"By convening this summit today, and by taking those actions we are showing everyone that we believe nothing is more important than protecting our environment.

"But let's not forget that the last two and a half years that we have worked together is just a start, not a finish. We have much, much more work to do.

"When I created the Climate Action Team, calling on the best and the brightest minds, both inside and outside of our administration, I asked for scientific and common-sense recommendations.

"And this climate action report, based on six months of hearings and testimony from more than 100 experts, has not let us down.

"This is where all of you now come in. I want to hear your views. I want to hear your ideas. I want to hear about your experiences. So let's listen to common sense and find common ground.

"We know that we can't reach targets to reduce greenhouse gases unless we measure our progress.

"So let's work together to create a mandatory reporting system for our carbon emissions.

"We know that we can't reduce emissions unless we have market-based solutions, like trading mechanisms, in addition to our regulatory solutions.

"So let's work together to create the world's best market-based system to limit and to slash emissions.

"We know that we can't make a real impact on emissions if only some of our industries are participating.

"So let us work together to create solutions where all utilities and where all industries are part of the solution.

"And we know that we can't really heal our ecosystems and reduce global warming without the public as our partners.

"So let's work together to create a world-class public education program to bring the power of our people to this task.

"You know, when I think about this issue, I'm reminded of a middle aged man or woman that is doing really well, highly successful, but seriously overweight.

"He has maybe high cholesterol. Maybe he even has a heart problem.

"So his doctor gives him a choice. If you keep eating like this, not exercising and keep that lifestyle, you're gonna get sick and you're gonna die early.

"But, if you develop the will power, and if you want make some sacrifices and you want listen to the experts, and change your eating habit and exercise every day, then you can have a long and healthy life.

"Well, we have the same choice to make with climate change.

"We cannot look at ourselves and see only to the near horizon. We have to consider the long term. We have to ask, what kind of California do we want to leave for our children?

"We have to ask how healthy do we want our state to be in 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 50 years from now or even 100 years from now?

"Californians have never shrunk from any great challenges just simply because they're great or because it takes sacrifices.

"No, we rise to the occasion and provide an example to the rest of the world

"That is exactly what we are going to do with our environmental policies and with this Climate Action Plan.

"I look forward to working with all of you and I will follow through with this historic document.

"So thank you very much for listening. Thank you."




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