I was tempted to call this post, At Least Two Republicans On The Planet Get Climate Change, based on the Green initiatives of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders in support of the United Nations Climate Change Conference currently underway in Copenhagen.
It’s rare that you hear Republicans in the Beltway utter words of support for the worldwide effort to mitigate climate change, but there are many living here in California that not only understand the reality of what is happening to our planet, but also see the wisdom in addressing this critical issue from both a humanitarian and economic standpoint. The point is, we can improve the health of the planet, reduce our dependence on oil imports, and create jobs doing it!
An Update From California’s Climate Team
During an early morning session hosted by San Diego law firm Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves, Savitch attendees were provided with updates via satellite from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s climate team attending the conference in Copenhagen. They were excited to be there and knew they were attending an historic event.
- From Copenhagen – Carl Nettleton, OpenOceans Global
- From San Diego – John Lormon, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves, Savitch LLP
Schwarzenegger’s Climate Team:
- Linda Adams, Secretary for Environmental Protection
- Mike Chrisman, Secretary for Natural Resources
- A.G. Kawamura, Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture
- Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board
Key topics under discussion where:
- How to reduce the volume of, and mitigate the effects of, green house gasses
- The challenge of ensuring economic equity between rich and poor nations
- How to verify compliance in order to support the Cap & Trade market
- The challenges of adaptation as weather patterns change and sea levels rise
- Determining who will pay for all of the expenses incurred to solve the problem
One factor mentioned by a number of team members was the significant involvement of subnational government organizations. Rather than policy influence coming only from national governments, this was the first time the UN recognized representatives from a variety of cities, states, provinces and regions. One cannot underestimate this shift, as programs executed locally have the greatest impact.
A second issue discussed at the conference was deforestation, as 20-25% of all greenhouse gases are linked to this destructive practice. With the main problem areas located in generally poor sections of Africa, South America and Asia, the challenge is how to significantly reduce the amount of land lost each year while ensuring the survival of the inhabitants.
Sitting in the audience with a varied cross section of San Diego’s entrepreneurial community, it was encouraging to know that our state government was working hard to mitigate the effects and causes of climate change, and do so in a manner that enhanced the state’s economy. On the other hand, it’s sad to see politicians in our nation’s capital spreading the lie that living on a healthy planet will result in a loss of jobs – nothing could be further from the truth.
The second part of this series will talk about clean business approaches in San Diego!