UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
On Monday in Paris at the COP21 climate summit progress continues on plans to reduce emissions and create a renewable energy future. Today the UN General Assembly opened their session with an optimistic speech by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the level of commitments being made by over 190 participating nations. WATCH THE SNAPCHAT VIDEO HERE!
Environmental and Foreign Ministers representing each nation spoke during their scheduled time to highlight their commitments, many committing to reach between 30-100% renewable energy within the next 20 years.
Austrian Environmental and Energy Minister Rupprechter pledged that Austria’s electricity production would be 100% renewable by 2030, and then introduced, Austria's favorite son, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was given the opportunity to represent sub-nationals at the summit.
Schwarzenegger urged national leaders to ignore the naysayers but to keep focused on their positive vision for the future, powered by renewable energy. He used California as an example of what is possible when sub-national governments act. Schwarzenegger commended the UN for recognizing the important role they play and for including cities, states and regions in negotiations for the first time. WATCH THE SPEECH HERE
Schwarzenegger made this point by highlighting that 70% of GHG reductions are occurring at the state and local level. He also stressed the importance of communicating about climate change in a way that people can relate to in their daily lives. He stressed that if people understood that pollution is killing 7 million people a year – 19,000 people each day – it would have far greater impact than talking about the temperature rising 4 degrees in 30 years.
Schwarzenegger illustrated his method of communication in a poignant post on his Facebook page where he directly addressed those who do not believe in climate change. SEE HIS POST HERE
SCIENCES PO UNIVERSITY
Monday evening Frederic Mion, President of Sciences Po University, hosted the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and Governor Schwarzenegger. Sciences Po is one of the premiere universities of political and international studies in Europe. Schwarzenegger expressed enthusiasm for his Institute's collaboration with Sciences Po, and expressed the important role universities and research play in addressing climate change.
Schwarzenegger spoke to students in a packed lecture hall. Schwarzenegger pumped up the students and told them how important they are in the crusade to address climate change, one of the most significant issue facing their generation. The event was live webcast, and promoted by the USC Environmental Student Assembly.
SCHWARZENEGGER AND BROWN JOIN FORCES
On Sunday evening the Institute co-hosted a reception with the Climate Action Reserve for the California delegation of leaders attending COP 21. Joining Governors Brown and Schwarzenegger were Tom Steyer, Senator Fran Pavley, Senate Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon, Speaker Toni Atkins and leaders from the R20, business, NGO's and academia.
It was clear that leaders from around the world were most interested in learning from California how the state's cap and trade system is working (China is looking at California as a model), and how smart market-based policies are making California a world leader in reducing emissions, innovation and technology, and green job growth.
Earlier on Sunday, Governor Schwarzenegger and Brown teamed up to speak to the international press about California's successful environmental policies. Both governors stressed that California is proof that states and nations can act to protect the environment and the health of its citizens while reducing GHG emissions and growing their economy and creating jobs. Citing economic numbers they showed that the GDP of the United States grew by 2.8% last year, while California’s GDP grew by 3.5% even with the strictest rules on emissions and highest percentage of renewable energy in the U.S.
It’s time to let the science and facts shape future policy decisions.
SEE CNBC ARTICLE: "Arnie on climate change: Hasta la vista baby?"
SEE GUARDIAN ARTICLE: "Arnold Schwarzenegger says climate campaigns need to focus on 'right now' not 2050"