Schwarzenegger, UN open Governors' Global Climate Summit 2

30 Sep 2009

States advance efforts to find solutions to global climate challenge, build green economies

In Los Angeles today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and United Nations officials welcomed more than 1,200 attendees from more than 70 states, provinces and countries to the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2. As the largest gathering of regional leaders focused on climate solutions, this summit will help to develop cooperative partnerships and promote collaborative actions needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build green economies and fight global climate change. The efforts made here provide subnational leaders the opportunity to influence the position of their national governments in advance of negotiations for the next global agreement on climate change taking place in Copenhagen this December.

“Experts and leaders from around the world join together this week in an effort to move closer toward a global solution to address climate change,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “When California first adopted its landmark legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions, we immediately reached out to neighboring states and provinces who shared our commitment to fighting global warming and creating new, green economies. This summit builds on those partnerships and together we are calling on our national governments to recognize the innovative solutions we have to offer. This is an incredible opportunity to create the economies of the future and we must seize it.”

“We need to share the climate change expertise from California, Quebec, Brittany and other champion states with regions and provinces in developing countries,” said Olav Kjorven, UN Assistant Secretary-General and director of policy at the United Nations Development Programme. “With the knowledge of green planning, investment and implementation, they can effectively address the interlinked climate change and poverty crisis. If they can set their economies on low carbon development paths, they will cut emissions, access renewable energy and adapt agriculture to new rainfall patterns while alleviating poverty. To succeed in the global fight against climate change and poverty, regions and integrated climate planning need to have an important role in the Copenhagen climate deal.”

"Across the world, people, communities, regional authorities, governments and companies are coming together, in the final few weeks before Copenhagen, to make the case and to voice their request for a new and transformative United Nations climate change agreement. Today’s gathering in California, led by Governor Schwarzenegger is part of that global ground swell that perceives the threats from climate change, but also the inordinate opportunities if the world acts now and in concert to transit to a low carbon, green economy," said Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN Environment Programme Executive Director

After last year’s successful Governors’ Global Climate Summit, the United Nations asked California to host another summit focused on the great work of cities, states and regions, which already are ahead of federal governments in developing solutions to the climate challenge. As the eighth largest economy in the world, California has intense economic and environmental interest in the progress and design of any international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. governors who are co-hosting and attending the summit are Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Governor David Paterson of New York, Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington, and Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin.

The summit emphasizes the critical role subnational governments play in growing their economies while also reducing pollution. Participants will engage in 21 different panels featuring discussions on energy efficiency, low carbon fuels, green buildings, clean technology, job creation, water management, deforestation, sustainable development, training opportunities and adaptation strategies as we look toward influencing the international debate on climate change in Copenhagen.

Experts estimate that 50 to 80 percent of actions needed to reach the UN climate goals will be implemented at the state and local levels. This summit focuses on the important work being done by progressive leaders across the globe to combat global warming. As a result of last year’s summit an action plan was adopted by states representing more than half of the world's forests, a first-ever voluntary carbon registry was launched in China with the support of its national government and language recognizing the important role of states was submitted into the official Copenhagen negotiating text and now appears in more than 100 places.

To highlight the economic success of California’s environmental leadership, the summit will also feature a two-day Green Solutions Showcase where more than 50 clean-tech companies will be presenting and displaying innovative green technologies including electric cars, solar-powered flashlights and non-toxic cleaning products.

The following organizations have partnered with the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2 to make this collaborative opportunity possible: ACTI; Aga Khan Development Network; Allianz of America Corporation; BMW; California Ski Industry Association; Carbonflow; Chevron Corporation; Cisco; Conoco Phillips; Conservation Fund; Disney Corporation; EcoSecurities; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; First Solar; Grupo Orsa; Horn Family Foundation; HP; Kroger/Ralphs; Metropolitan Water District; NextEra Energy Resources; Pacific Capital Group; Pegasus Capital Advisors, L.P.; Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Schueco International KG; Sempra; Shell; Silver Spring Networks; Sony; Starbucks; Terrapass; Toyota; Union Bank; University of Phoenix; Virgin America; Waste Management and Westfield.

To ensure that the summit leaves no carbon footprint, the Climate Action Reserve has identified multiple greenhouse gas reduction projects to offset emissions as a result of summit participant attendance. These projects are based on three protocols adopted by the Climate Action Reserve Board, two of which have been adopted by the California Air Resources Board.

Contact Information

Stanislav Saling, UNDP, stanislav.saling@undp.org or +1 917 346 1955

Live and on-demand webcasts of the summit events can be found at http://climatesummit.greenstreetscene.com. Several million people from around the world have been invited to watch the Governors’ Global climate Summit 2 live.  Webcast speakers include Harrison Ford, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Olav Kjorven of UNDP.

For more information, go to www.governorsglobalclimatesummit.org.