When the parents aren’t taking action, sometimes the kids need to step in and solve the problem in whatever ways they can piece together.
I’m at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit in Davis this week, where representatives from more than 80 regional and local governments have come together for two days to try to figure out ways to reduce emissions and put the brakes on climate change. The idea is that since last year’s UN climate summit in Copenhagen failed to produce a binding international agreement, and the US Congress can’t get it together to agree on any sort of energy and/or climate bill, cities and states and provinces can’t stand by and do nothing while the international community haggles and CO2 levels continue to creep higher.
The whole thing kind of reminds me of The Goonies. You know, the movie from the 1980s? Remember in Goonies, when a whole neighborhood was going to be demolished because the residents couldn’t afford to save their homes? The parents didn’t know what to do and they just gave up, resigned to their fates. But then all the neighborhood kids, realizing that their parents weren’t going to protect them after all, got together in a rag-tag bunch and saved the day, and the neighborhood. Granted they saved their homes by finding a pirate ship filled with gold and jewels, but you get the idea.
That’s kind of what’s happening here at the Governor’s Global Climate Summit. The parents (i.e. national governments) aren’t acting, so the kids (i.e. “subnational” governments) are getting together to fight climate change where they can. It might not be the most streamlined way to address the problem, but according to host governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, there’s really no choice.
“We are doing our work,” he said, in his opening remarks Monday. “The green revolution is moving full speed ahead with or without an international agreement.”
This Schwarzenegger’s third and last GGCS. It’s unclear how effective the first two were, and how effective this one will be. At the least, they have raised the profile of climate efforts taking place at the subnational level, and they do provide an opportunity for regional leaders from around the world to share ideas and strategies. Specific accomplishments are listed on the summit website. Tuesday afternoon, Schwarzenegger is expected to announce the launch of “R20,” or “Regions of Climate Action,” an idea he first floated at UN climate talks in Copenhagen last year. It’s a group of more than 60 (so far) regional governments, organizations, and institutions, with the goal of working together to “expand the global green economy, create new green jobs and build commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a FAQ sheet from the Governor’s press office. R20 is incorporated as a non-profit organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Also expected tomorrow is an announcement detailing a new partnership between California and provinces in Brazil and Mexico, focused on reforestation. Eventually, forestry projects in these regions may provide international offset opportunities for California corporations under the state’s cap and trade program, a Cal-EPA spokesperson said. News of this announcement was actually leaked by actor Harrison Ford, who spoke to the attendees as a board member for Conservation International.
Maybe what the “Terminator” needs to get this Goonies remake in the can is an assist from “Indiana Jones.”