A day after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration and state lawmakers stirred the global warming pot, the governor on Tuesday called for a “Climate Action Summit” next week in San Francisco and directed the state Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to hold a series of six public discussion sessions in the major regions of the state to consider the implications of the 1,300-page climate report released Monday.
Noting that he wants to eventually sign multiple bills from the state legislature addressing the greenhouse gas (GHG) issue, Schwarzenegger accused the Bush administration of “falling short in its efforts on environmental issues,” and told news reporters in Sacramento he “doesn’t want to wait for the feds or any other state” to take action on global climate change. In fact, he intends to take the issue to the Western Governors’ Association to spur more action in individual states around the West.
“The debate is over; the science is in,” the governor said in a prepared statement. “The time to act is now. Global warming is a serious issue facing the world, and California has taken an historic step with the release of this report [from the governor’s appointed Climate Action Team].”
Schwarzenegger said he will participate in the summit next Tuesday in San Francisco. His administration plans to gather “leading environmental experts and key stakeholders from California and around the world.” They will be expected to share strategies and provide expertise on the state report’s various recommendations, which include mandatory limits on emissions from power plants, refineries, factories and other large industrial uses, along with a potential surcharge on fuel supplies to fund efforts to get the state’s GHG emissions reversed back to 1990 levels by the year 2020.
To meet his targets, Schwarzenegger Tuesday also directed the CalEPA secretary to head the statewide action team, which includes representatives from other state agencies, such as the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission.
“[The governor] directed them to implement global warming emission reduction programs and report on the progress made toward meeting the statewide greenhouse gas targets that were established in [an] executive order [last June],” a spokesperson for the governor said.
In a press conference in the state capital, Schwarzenegger called the climate report “very important” and a “historic step” by the nation’s most populous state. The governor reiterated that he is calling for “common sense and scientific analysis” on the best way to reach his aggressive goals for GHG reductions.
Schwarzenegger did not directly mention proposed state legislation (Assembly Bill 32) to establish a mandatory limit on GHG emissions, although at one point he acknowledged that there are “other proposals out there that have been put forward.” He said they have similar goals and he “welcomes those proposals. It is important that we all work for a common goal — to protect our environment and leave California as a better place for our children,” he said.
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