With the end of his term approaching and the three-year anniversary of the signing of the California Global Warming Solutions Act less than a week away, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke about the role of green technology in California's economy Thursday in San Francisco.
The California Commonwealth Club hosted the event, which was held at the Fairmont Hotel, and Schwarzenegger mostly focused on how fighting climate change benefits the California economy.
He also defended the Global Warming Solutions Act, which was signed Sept. 27, 2006, to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The law recently came under attack from 2010 gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who said in a Sept. 16 editorial that she would put an executive order moratorium on the law's regulations if elected.
The law requires a 25-percent cut in carbon emissions by 2020, and although Schwarzenegger did not discuss the state's progress toward meeting the requirements, he praised California for being a leader in conservation instead of waiting for other state and federal governments - including the United States - to take action first.
"California is just a little place on the map, but our influence stretches across the globe," he said. "One hundred fifty years ago, it was the industrial revolution that changed the world and ushered in a new era of prosperity. Now, Thursday, the green revolution will do exactly the same."
Schwarzenegger said the renewable energy industry has been called the new California gold rush, and that the state has been infused with $6 billion in venture capitalist money for green technology.
Green jobs are growing at a rate 10 times faster than other jobs, he said, and 40 percent of the nation's new solar and wind patents are granted to Californians.
Other speakers emphasized this message, including Global Warming Solutions Act co-author State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, who encouraged audience members to "think not of ecosystems, but tourism," which would suffer if global warming is left unchecked.