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Schwarzenegger at the UN

by DAN BACHER

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s address to the United Nations today about global climate change is one of the most blatant examples of hypocrisy that I’ve ever witnessed. Schwarzenegger challenged the leaders of the world’s nations to “solve global warming” as he continues to push the Legislature to accept a $9 billion water bond package that would build an environmentally devastating Delta canal and more dams.

Schwarzenegger addressed delegates and invited guests for the United Nations conference ­ “The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change” at the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, NY. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited the Governor to speak at today’s special session in July, when they toured a San Jose business that is developing the technology for countries to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

“What we’re doing is changing the dynamic, preparing the way and encouraging the future,” Schwarzengger told the U.N. “The aerospace industry built the modern economy of Southern California. The computer industry and the Internet built the economy of Silicon Valley. And now green, clean technology – along with biotech – will take California to the next level.”

While promoting “green, clean” technology, the Governor also included the pandora’s box of biotechnology as a solution to the energy problems of California and the world ­ without discussing what potential threat biotechnology, particularly transgenic plants, fish and animals, present to the environment.

“Right now, in California, the brightest scientists from around the world and the smartest venture capitalists are racing to find new energy technologies, and the solutions to global warming. It’s a race fueled by billions of dollars,” continued Schwarzenegger.

While the Governor is planning the destruction of the California Delta, the West Coast’s most significant estuary, by campaigning for the building of a canal and more dams, he is touting his “green” credentials by calling for a “new race fueled by billions of dollars” to find new energy technologies.

While Schwarzenegger has pressured the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board to keep allowing the discharge of toxic waste water from agribusiness into Central Valley streams and the Delta, he is urging the world’s nations to “renew the climate of this planet.” This is greenwashing at its absolute worst!

Rather than preaching about “climate change” in a carefully choreographed photo opportunity before the United Nations, the Governor should have the courage to impose water pollution standards on corporate agribusiness and to reduce water exports from the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta by mandating increased water conservation and taking drainage impaired land in the San Joaquin Valley out of agricultural production. However, he refuses to do this because the people that are destroying the Bay-Delta Estuary and polluting Central Valley rivers are the same folks that fund the campaigns of Schwarzenegger and other corrupt politicians.

I hope that the people of California soon wake up to the environmental nightmare that Schwarzenegger intends to inflict upon us by building the peripheral canal and more dams to export more water from the Delta. The Governor’s water bond boondoggle would fund two new reservoirs – Temperance Flat in the San Joaquin Valley and Sites in the Sacramento Valley, as well as expanding storage in Los Vaqueros Reservoir.

Four species of pelagic (open water) fish – Delta smelt, longfin smelt, juvenile striped bass and threadfin shad – have declined to record low population levels under the Governor’s “green” leadership. Winter-run chinook salmon, spring-run chinooks, fall-run chinooks, Central Valley steelhead, white sturgeon, green sturgeon and other species are also threatened by Schwarzenegger’s water bond boondoggle.

The voters in 1982 overwhelmingly defeated the “peripheral canal” that would divert water around the Delta to the state and federal export pumps in the South Delta. The Governor’s latest canal proposal is the “armored” or “fortress” Delta proposal, also called “through-Delta conveyance.”

This new version of the old canal would “divert a portion of Sacramento River flows into a series of armored levees that wind through the Delta,” according to today’s article by Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee. “Most proposals would turn the south fork of the Mokelumne River and Middle River into this proposed canal.”

The new concept also includes gates across some side channels to keep out salt water during high tides. “Bolstered levees would be built to withstand earthquakes, floods and a predicted sea-level rise caused by global warming,” Weiser wrote.

A broad coalition of recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Delta farmers, Indian Tribes and conservation groups is adamantly against the canal’s latest incarnation. “Our organization is completely opposed to the new Delta pipe proposal just as it was the old one,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, coordinator of Restore the Delta. “It will be very destructive to Delta water quality and quantity and would do great harm to prime farm land. The main difference between the old and new canal proposals is that the new canal would pass through fish habitat and farmland further west in the Delta than the previous one would have.”

Under the Schwarzenegger administration, state and federal water exports have jumped to record levels, causing an aquatic food chain collapse, while he expounds his thoughts on global climate change. There is no doubt that Schwarzenegger is the worst Governor in California history – and we’ve had some really bad ones – for fish, water and the environment, in spite of his shallow rhetoric proclaiming his “leadership” in “the fight against climate change on a world stage.”

“Do not believe that doom and gloom and disaster are the only outcomes,” Schwarzenegger said today. However, if Schwarzenegger is able to ram through his proposal for a canal and more dams, “doom and gloom and disaster” are exactly what Delta residents and farmers, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and the Winnemem Wintu and other California Indian Tribes can look forward to.

DAN BACHER can be reached at: danielbacher@fishsniffer.com

 

Here’s today’s press release and the transcript of his speech from the Governor’s Office:

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

For Immediate Release: Monday, September 24, 2007

Contact: Aaron McLear, Bill Maile 916-445-4571

Gov. Schwarzenegger Gives Address at United Nations on Climate Change

Putting California’s leadership in the fight against climate change on a world stage, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today gave a speech (see text below) to official delegates and invited guests of the United Nations.

In July, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited the Governor to speak at today’s special session when they toured a San Jose business that is developing the technology for countries to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The Secretary-General has stated that he looks forward to seeing firsthand how California is leading the world on the important issue of climate change. Demand for clean tech products in the state is expected to reach more than $200 billion by 2020 and California has already received more than $1.1 billion in clean tech investment, which is expected to grow 20 to 30 percent a year for the next decade.

Earlier this year, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a Memorandum of Understanding with four other states to partner in the fight against climate change, which created the Western Climate Initiative. The original states included Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington; Utah and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia have also since joined. California has also formed partnerships with Great Britain and the Australian State of Victoria.

In October of 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger and New York Gov. George E. Pataki agreed to explore ways to link California’s future greenhouse gas emission credit market and the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) upcoming market. RGGI (pronounced ReGGIe) is a cooperative effort by Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to discuss the design of a regional cap-and-trade program initially covering carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the region. In the future, RGGI may be extended to include other sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and greenhouse gases other than CO2. Currently, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Vermont are participating in the RGGI effort.

In January of 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger announced the world’s first Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) for transportation fuels that requires fuel providers to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in California. This first-of-its kind standard establishes lasting demand for lower-carbon fuels but without favoring one fuel over another. By 2020 the standard is expected to boost demand for low carbon fuels to over $10 billion per year and for advanced technology vehicles that run on those fuels by 35 times.

Last year, the Governor signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, California’s landmark bill that established a first-in-the-world comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases. The law will reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The Governor’s goals also include a reduction of 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

The Governor also signed legislation last year to complete his Million Solar Roofs Plan to provide 3,000 megawatts of additional clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gases by 3 million tons, equivalent to taking one million cars off the road. The $2.9 billion incentive plan for homeowners and building owners who install solar electric systems will lead to one million solar roofs in California by the year 2018.

In addition, the Governor is leading the fight to obtain a waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allowing the implementation of California’s stringent tailpipe emissions standards signed into law in 2002. Those standards require a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from the tailpipes of cars and light trucks by 2016, starting with the 2009 model year. 11 other states have approved those standards. Automakers have sought to nullify them, but in April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and more recently, a federal judge in Vermont has decided in favor of that state’s emissions standards, which are modeled on California’s.

 

Below is the prepared text of the Governor’s speech at the United Nations:

Mr. Secretary, Mr. President distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I have come to feel great affection for the peoples of the world because they have always been so welcoming to me-whether as a bodybuilder, a movie star or a private citizen.

And you, their delegates, have also made me feel very welcome this morning.

So thank you for this honor.

I have been asked to talk to you today about what is happening in California.

Ladies and gentlemen, something remarkable is beginning to stir-something revolutionary, something historic and transformative.

Let me give you some background. California already leads the nation in information technology.

We lead the nation in nanotechnology, in medical technology, in biotechnology.

We generate one of every four U.S. patents.

We attract almost half of all U.S. venture capital.

According to The Economist magazine, California is also home to three of the top six universities in the world.

In addition to all of this, California is the seventh largest economy in the world.

I do not mention these things simply to boast.

I mention them because when California does something, it has consequences.

And here is what we are doing.

California is mobilizing-technologically, financially and politically-to fight global climate change.

Now, we are not alone.

While California is leading in the U.S., we are building on the work of the European countries who have led the way up to now.

England has already met its Kyoto goals. Germany has pioneered solar. The EU has led with its trading system.

But California, because of its unique position, is on the cutting edge of what is to come.

And what is coming will benefit the countries and peoples represented in this chamber.

Last year in California, we enacted groundbreaking greenhouse gas emission standards.

We enacted the world’s first low carbon fuel standard.

Do I believe California’s standards will solve global warming? No.

What we’re doing is changing the dynamic, preparing the way and encouraging the future.

The aerospace industry built the modern economy of Southern California.

The computer industry and the Internet built the economy of Silicon Valley.

And now green, clean technology-along with biotech-will take California to the next level.

Right now, in California, the brightest scientists from around the world and the smartest venture capitalists are racing to find new energy technologies, and the solutions to global warming.

It’s a race fueled by billions of dollars.

Last year alone, California received more than $1.1 billion in clean tech investment.

This amount is expected to grow 20-30% a year for a decade.

More venture capital is being invested in clean tech than in telecommunications.

I have been in the labs and research parks.

I have talked to the scientists and venture capitalists.

I have seen their ambition. And I would not bet against it.

So, what does all this mean for the nations in this chamber?

The cell phone, which started as a tool for the rich, is now widespread in the developing world.

The price has dropped dramatically.

The same thing will happen with environmental technologies.

And it is in the developed world’s best interests to help the poor nations finance these advancements.

When it comes to the environment, the technologies are changing; the economics are changing; the urgency is changing.

My question today is this: are the nations of the world ready to change?

I believe California will do great things, amazing things. But we need the world to do great things, too.

The time has come to stop looking back at the Kyoto protocol.

It is time to stop looking back in blame or suspicion.

The consequences of global climate change are so pressing, it doesn’t matter who was responsible for the past.

What matters is who is answerable for the future. And that means all of us.

The rich nations and the poor nations have different responsibilities, but one responsibility we all have is action.

The current stalemate between the developed and the developing worlds must be broken.

It is time we came together in a new international agreement that can be embraced by rich and poor nations alike.

California is moving the United States beyond debate and doubt to action.

I urge this body to push its members to action also.

Ladies and gentlemen, in closing, do not lose hope.

Do not believe that doom and gloom and disaster are the only outcomes.

Humanity is smart, and nature is amazingly regenerative.

I believe we can renew the climate of this planet.

And I pledge to you, the members of the United Nations, that we in California will work with all our heart to this end for which we all long.

Thank you very much.

The Governor today (9/24) spoke to the United Nations in New York City to challenge world leaders to “solve global warming.” Meanwhile, the Governor is campaigning to destroy the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the most significant estuary on the West Coast, by building an environmentally destructive canal and more dams.

 

 

Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher danielbacher@fishsniffer.com.

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