Solar power initiatives part of the solution to greenhouse gas emissions
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
I am proud to say that our recent Climate Action Team Report is a ground-breaking blueprint that enables California to make real progress on one of the most pressing issues. The Climate Action Team Report, which I commissioned, proposes a series of very important steps to protect our environment and to clean our air by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This report has many great ideas in it, and we should--and will--discuss all of them. And how we proceed with this will have positive implications for the environment everywhere, because everywhere is following California. Recently, for instance, I was told that a Chinese engineer said that if California hadn't pioneered the use of unleaded gasoline or the catalytic converter, China would not be using them today.
California has always been a leader, whether it's high tech, aerospace, energy efficiency or exporting entertainment around the world. And now with this report and with actions our administration has already taken, California is a world leader in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Some have said that we cannot curb greenhouse gas emissions, that it will cost too much money, or that it will disrupt our economy. But with all due respect, these are the same arguments people made in the 1970's when we got serious about cleaning our air and our water. I will never forget that in 1968 when I arrived here in California, my eyes were always burning and sometimes I had tears running down my cheeks. And I knew it was not because I missed Austria that much--my eyes were hurting because of all of the smog and air pollution in Los Angeles.
But, we have made great progress since then. The air has gotten much cleaner because we passed tough laws, we made sacrifices and took big leaps in technology and in science. We are faced with the same challenges today on global warming, and many of us are reminded that no progress can be made without us all working together. And we will do this in a sensible and deliberate way. We won't rush into anything and cause any disruptions. But make no mistake about it, we must take strong action and we will take strong action. In the past, we have been told by politicians and by people in the business community, and also by environmentalists, that we have to choose between the environment and the economy. I reject this choice because it is a false choice.
Many politicians see the environment as a chance to make lofty statements and play politics. I see the environment as a chance to make a difference and to build partnerships so that we can protect our state, protect our country and protect the world. I'm not concerned with speeches and slogans. I'm more concerned about answers and solutions. The best way to find solutions to protect our environment is for government to work hand-in-hand with businesses and with citizens. We have accomplished a great deal these past two-and-a-half years because we all worked together--we have a record that we can really be proud of.
To protect our environment, to help make America more energy independent, we launched the Hydrogen Highway, a network of hydrogen fueling stations up and down our state. To protect our environment, I signed an executive order known as the Green Building Initiative, which calls for the public buildings to be 20 percent more energy efficient by the year 2015. But let's not forget that the last two and a half years that we have worked together is just a start, not a finish. We have much, much more work to do. When I created the Climate Action Team, calling on the best and the brightest minds, both inside and outside of our administration, I asked for scientific and common-sense recommendations. And this climate action report, based on six months of hearings and testimony from more than 100 experts, has not let us down.
You know, when I think about this issue, I'm reminded of a middle aged man or woman who is doing really well, highly successful, but seriously overweight. He has maybe high cholesterol. Maybe he even has a heart problem. So his doctor gives him a choice. If you keep eating like this, not exercising and keep that lifestyle, you're going to get sick and you're going to die early. But, if you develop the will power, and if you want make some sacrifices and you want listen to the experts, and change your eating habits and exercise every day, then you can have a long and healthy life.
Well, we have the same choice to make with climate change.
For the Record is an edited excerpt of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's address to the Climate Action Summit earlier this year.