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World Leaders Urged to Embrace Subnational Leadership in Fighting Climate Change

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World Leaders should embrace subnational leadership as an effective approach in fighting climate change, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Tuesday.

"Climate change is a global problem that demands global solutions, but while national governments have been fighting over emission targets, subnational governments like California have been adopting their own targets, laws and policies," Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued by his office.

"And the truth is, the world's national governments cannot make the progress that is needed on global climate change alone, they need the help of cities, states, provinces and regions in enacting real climate solutions."

California has shown that a subnational government can lead the way to national change and all of the world leaders should liberate the power beneath the national level to help create an environment we can proudly pass down to our children, grandchildren and beyond, Schwarzenegger noted.

He encouraged commitment and action at regional, national and international levels modeled after California's subnational approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, advance clean energy and fuels and create green jobs.

On Monday Schwarzenegger and subnational leaders from Canada, Nigeria, France and Algeria announced an agreement to advance the concept of a new regional coalition to fast track the results of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and push their respective national governments into more rapid actions and stronger commitments to fight climate change.

These founding members will develop the coalition's principles, formulate a shared vision of global security and prosperity and recruit other subnational members for an official launch of the Club of 20 Regions (R20) next September.

For years, Schwarzenegger has worked to bring world leaders together at all government levels to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create a healthier environment and build green economies.

In California, the governor has held two Governors' Global Climate Summits to bring together US and international leaders to work together in the fight against climate change.

The governor's summits have helped provide a platform for states and provinces to partner to reduce emissions, to grow their green economies and to influence their national governments towards the same goal.

Under Schwarzenegger's leadership, California has consistently led the nation and the world in enacting some of the most ambitious policies to protect the environment and fight climate change.

California's leadership on energy and the environment has influenced national and international policies. In September, the Obama administration announced the US Environmental Protection Agency will adopt a vehicle emissions standard modeled after California's first-in-the-nation standard.

The International Code Council also announced that California's newly adopted Green Building Standards Code will serve as a foundation for commercial buildings worldwide.

California also participated in the launch of China's first greenhouse gas emissions registry earlier this year.

(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2009)

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