Speaking at the Climate Summit for Mayors in Copenhagen on Tuesday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called on the United Nations to convene a climate summit for cities, states, provinces and regions. Ever the pitchman, Gov. Schwarzenegger suggested the sub-national climate summit be held in his great state of California, but said he'd be happy to host it anywhere else the UN wants to hold it.
But Schwarzenegger wasn't just lobbying for another high-profile conference to be held in his state. He was making the larger point that cities, counties, states and provinces have, in many cases, already taken a leadership role in experimenting with pilot programs and policy innovations that curb greenhouse gas emissions and spur the development of clean alternatives to dirty energy and transportation infrastructure. In many respects, cities, states, and other sub-national units have the advantage of governing a smaller populace and geographic area than their sovereign superiors. The problems are smaller and so are the solutions
No, cities and provinces will not be signing treaties or setting binding emission limits, but they don't need to. They want to be associated with things like good jobs, clean air, smart grids and efficient mass transit. Sustainability is fast becoming a matter of local and regional pride. And if your city or state government doesn't want to provide the necessary incentives for an EV-charging network, for example, there are plenty of others who will, gladly.
Word cloud generated at Wordle