No one can bring attention to the issue of climate change quite like former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Now of course I hope there’s an international agreement, I hope there’s a Kyoto 2 because as you know I like sequels,” says Schwarzenegger.
He touted AB 32, California’s landmark law to reduce greenhouse gases. And he praised voters for defeating Proposition 23, the effort to undue that law.
“The people of California have terminated, proposition 23, and we said ‘hasta la vista baby’ to those oil and coal companies and send them back with their fossil fuels where they belong,” he says.
The symposium was organized by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, the California Air Resources Board and the climate change nonprofit “R 20”. And it comes just weeks before the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.
Dan Kammen, lead author of the Nobel-prize winning group of IPCC scientists, stressed the very real consequences of climate change on the world’s poor.
“The people living most on the margins are most left out of this equation," says Kammen. "So if you don’t adopt a clean energy strategy for your home, city, country, region, you are a committing a clear piece of environmental injustice.”
Peter Gleick with the Pacific Institute says $100 billion in economic value in buildings and property alone in California is at risk because of sea level rise.
“We’re not talking about slow incremental sea level rise, that’s going to be damaging enough," says Glieck. "But one of the things we learned from Sandy was that it’s the extreme events that cost us. What are the cost of repeated extreme events with an incrementally slowly rising sea overtime?”
Gleick says 480,000 people are living in areas along the California coast that could be affected by sea level rise.
California also has a lot at stake from sea level rise, with 480,000 people living in areas at risk along the coast. Governor Jerry Brown also spoke at the symposium, criticizing the media for its lack of climate change coverage.
“It’s not going to lead the six o’clock news, but it is really profound in its importance, and how we respond will be a measure of democratic governance,” says Brown.
Brown called climate change a dark shadow of our dependence on fossil fuels and what he called a ‘carbon economy’.