Green Canary Sustainability Consulting CEO Kevin Tuerff reports from the Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara.
(SANTA BARBARA, CA March 16, 2008) So I’m wandering through the lobby of a Santa Barbara, CA resort Friday and who walks in front of me, none other than St. Elmo’s Fire/West Wing/Brothers & Sisters actor Rob Lowe. Rob joined us at at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference to listen to his buddy, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, speak about global warming. Other speakers talking to the audience of 300 corporate executives included CEOs of General Electric, Dow Chemical and Wal-Mart.
All of them were calling on Washington to step up and lead related to setting the ground rules for business related to climate change versus the current state-by-state approach now underway. “The federal government is asleep at the wheel and they don’t get it,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger. “Those that don’t believe in the (global warming) threat, they still think the earth is flat.”
California and several other states will soon file a lawsuit against the U.S. EPA for failing to act on the Supreme Court decision requiring them to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
California supports a “cap and trade” approach to regulating carbon. “Unless you put a serious cap on emissions, we’ll never get there. It signals we’re serious about it. That’s when companies go and make changes.”
Schwarzenegger added, “California’s environmental policies are driving a whole new industrial revolution in our state that is opening up huge opportunities for California companies to grow and strengthening our economy at a time when it could use the help.”
According to the Governor’s office, California has launched the world’s most aggressive energy efficiency program in the world. Over a three-year period, this program will eliminate the need to build three power plants, saving consumers $2 billion.
I was truly impressed. As for Texas, I agree with State Rep. Warren Chisum that addressing climate change will be the most important issue for the next legislative session, but that’s a long way off, and it’s hard to see Texas copying California.