Saturday, June 23, 2007
ABQ's Chavez Receives Award at U.S. Conference of Mayors
Schwarzenegger says cities will lead climate change battle
LOS ANGELES, Calif._ Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told U.S. mayors Saturday they must take the lead in battling global warming and creating an economy based on "clean'' technology.
Schwarzenegger said California and other states are "not waiting for Washington'' before promoting legislation to protect the environment by reducing greenhouse emissions blamed for climate change.
"Washington is just a little dot on the map. You are making up America. So we don't have to wait for Washington to get aboard,'' Schwarzenegger told the 75th annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which made the environment one of its top agenda items.
The governor cited his state's own environmental initiatives and praised efforts such as a proposal by New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make all taxis in his city fuel-efficient hybrids by 2012.
The Bush Administration has opposed placing specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. But Schwarzenegger has signed a law requiring that California reduce emissions by an estimated 25 percent by 2020.
"I don't think we can waste anymore time. I think that global warming is real. It is a huge, huge problem,'' Schwarzenegger said.
Global warming has caused "longer droughts, more intense hurricanes and deadlier wildfires,'' he said.
Schwarzenegger urged cities to push polluting industries to change their practices in order to compete globally.
California, with its stringent auto emission standards, "may be doing more to save U.S. automakers than anybody else because we are pushing them to change,'' he said.
"We are growing a whole new economy based on innovation and clean technology that will spark billions and billions of dollars of new investments and create tens of thousands of new jobs,'' Schwarzenegger said.
"That is the future that I want to embrace,'' he said.
The governor said companies already are moving in that direction, and clean technology will become more affordable as it becomes more widespread.
He cited the example of the cellular telephone. Schwarzenegger said he bought an early cell phone 20 years ago for $1,600. Recently he bought his daughter a new phone "with all the gadgets on it'' for $90.
About 200 mayors from around the country attended the meeting, which runs through Tuesday.
On Saturday, the conference announced that the mayors of Albuquerque, N.M., and Fayetteville, Ark., had won first place honors in this year's Mayors' Climate Protection Awards Program.
The awards honor mayors for measures to curb global warming and increase energy efficiency.
Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez was recognized for shepherding a city program that promotes "green-tech'' companies, use of bicycles and purchase of cleaner city vehicles. The program has caused an overall reduction of city greenhouse gas emissions by 67 percent since 2000.
Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody was selected for a city alternative transportation program that created 129 miles of multi-use trails and 163 miles of on-street linkages to the city.
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