California plans to host a meeting of several countries in November to discuss ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office has invited China, India, European countries, Australia, Canada and Mexico to a meeting ahead of international climate talks the following month in Poland. Details still are being worked out.
There's a theory in political science that uses a boomerang metaphor to describe what Schwarzenegger is doing. The boomerang effect goes something like this: A group within a country (e.g. a political organization, a political party, a business, a particular social movement, interest group, or in this case, a U.S. state) will reach out to an outside government to put political pressure back on the country in which it resides. In this case, California is reaching out to foreign countries to on capping greenhouse gases because the U.S. federal government refuses to do so.
Schwarzenegger aims to reach out to certain Chinese states, for example, on emissions limits because the federal government there has abdicated any regulatory responsibility - as they have here.
"We know that Washington is asleep at the wheel. We cannot look for leadership there," Schwarzenegger said at an event marking two years since California's passed its own legislation to cap emissions and set up a market for carbon credits. "We are not waiting for the federal government."
On Thursday, 10 Northeastern states kicked off the first U.S. cap-and-trade market under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The unexpectedly strong demand at North America's first-ever carbon auction may not have been easy for the California governor to swallow. Schwarzenegger hoped more would join the separate Western Climate Initiative (WCI), but worried about a patchwork of rules and wanted to see a global market develop.