Governors Call for Federal-State Climate Change Partnership

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, April 18, 2008 (ENS) – Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell today led 20 Democrat and Republican governors from across the country in signing the Governors’ Declaration on Climate Change at the 2008 Conference on Climate Change at Yale University.

The Declaration is founded on three principles. First, that a federal-state partnership is critical to success. Second, that state-based climate action plans and programs have paved the way for cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases and they deserve continued support. And third, that rewarding and encouraging meaningful and mandatory federal and state climate action is key to combating global warming.

“For many years, states have been concerned about the serious consequences our planet faces as a result of global warming and climate change,” said Governor Rell. “As individual states, we have aggressively confronted the challenge. It is now time for unified action and today my fellow governors and I memorialized our commitment to stop global warming while calling on our federal partners to join us in establishing a national policy on climate change.”

Joining Governor Rell at Yale University to sign the Declaration on Climate Change were Governors Jon Corzine of New Jersey, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.

At the Yale Climate Change Conference, from left:
Nobel Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor M. Jodi Rell,
and Gus Speth, Dean of the Yale University
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
(Photo courtesy Office of
Governor Schwarzenegger)

In addition, the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and Washington have signed the Declaration.

In addition, Christine Todd Whitman, Quebec Premier Jean Charest, Manitoba Premier Gary Doer and Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, participated in the Yale Climate Change Conference.

“I believe the environmental movement is switching over from being powered by guilt to being powered by something much more positive, much more dynamic and much more capable of bringing about revolutionary change,” California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in his keynote address to the conference.

“California is the eighth largest economy in the world. It’s so big, it’s so powerful, what we do has consequences,” said Schwarzenegger, who signed the Global Warming Solutions Act into law in 2006.

This law sets a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, a level many climate scientists feel is needed to avert the worst effects of global warming.

“When California passed its global warming act, we were alone,” he said. “Now we’ve got partnerships with other states, European nations. Six hundred American cities have signed on to be part of the Kyoto Treaty. America has to lead, and we are doing so even without Washington.”

Today Governor Schwarzenegger also met with Quebec Premier Charest, who announced that Quebec is joining the Western Climate Initiative, which calls for a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2020.

“I trust you heard President Bush’s speech on climate change this week,” the California governor said. “Well, I’m glad he is acknowledging the very serious threat, but now I want to see the sense of real urgency to match that threat. I want to see the federal government approve California’s request for a waiver that will enable 17 states to clean their own air of greenhouse gases.”

The Governors’ Declaration on Climate Change builds on the efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, the founder of the Yale School of Forestry and the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Together, President Roosevelt and Pinchot launched a national movement to conserve the country’s natural resources.

To strengthen this movement, President Roosevelt convened a Conference of Governors at the White House 100 years ago to establish a conservation partnership between the states and the federal government.

Today’s Declaration renews that spirit in an effort to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Governor Rell said, “Thanks to the incredible efforts of President Roosevelt 100 years ago, states today have taken on the leadership role regarding issues impacting our natural resources and overall quality of life. With this Declaration, we are now asking our federal partners to join the states and take serious steps toward addressing a problem that we can no longer choose to ignore as a nation.”

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