Governors' climate summit calls for green economy

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The third Governors' Global Climate Summit (GGCS) opened at the University of California (UC), Davis in Southern California on Monday, calling for greater efforts to develop a green economy.

More than 1,500 representatives from more than 80 states, provinces and countries attended the summit with the theme of "Building the Green Economy."

As one of the largest gatherings of regional leaders from around the world with a focus on climate solutions, the summit would continue to expand the network of subnational collaboration to share policies and strategies on how to grow a green economy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, create green jobs, promote clean energy solutions and curb greenhouse gas pollution, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

"I am honored to welcome so many leaders, experts and attendees from all over the world to our third annual Governors' Global Climate Summit at one of California's world-renowned universities -- UC Davis," Schwarzenegger said.

"With or without international agreements, the green revolution is moving full-speed ahead in states, regions and provinces. I have seen the power these regional governments carry in influencing and creating the new ideas that spur clean innovation, reduce emissions and create jobs, and this summit is an incredible opportunity to build on our subnational successes," he added.

"Together, we are ushering in a cleaner, brighter and more prosperous future that we can be proud to pass on to the next generation."

Building on the accomplishments of the first two GGCS in 2008 and 2009, this year's summit is bringing together leaders from around the world to collaborate on environmental protection. The summit aims to promote the global fight against climate change through collaborative actions to help reduce emissions and build a green economy.

The summit will host climate conversations from top leaders of local, regional, national and international entities, as well as those from academia, business and non-profits.

It will also serve as a forum for different regions throughout the world to learn the best practices, share ideas and work to deepen and broaden cooperative efforts through an increased understanding of each other's unique environmental and economic challenges.

The summit also provides an opportunity for states and provinces to partner with and influence the positions of their national governments leading up to the UN conference in Cancun, Mexico, later this year.

In partnership with the UN Development Program and the UN Environment Program and co-sponsored by UC Davis, the summit is co-hosted by Schwarzenegger, Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.

"The clean energy path leads to millions of jobs, less reliance on fossil fuels and reduced greenhouse gases," Michigan Governor Granholm said. "This summit is an opportunity to share with the world how we're building a clean energy economy in Michigan as well as to learn from the experience of others."

"In Wisconsin, we have no natural gas, no coal, and no oil," Wisconsin Governor Doyle said. "Capturing even a fraction of the 16 billion U.S. dollars, our state spending on energy would mean billions of dollars in economic growth and job creation."

"We've been really focused on building on our strengths in innovation and business to create real jobs in the clean energy economy, and as a result of our policies and investments, Wisconsin has seen a rapid expansion in renewable energy production and real growth in clean energy jobs," Doyle said.

"Addressing climate change is critical to our global economic and environmental future," Oregon Governor Kulongoski said. "One state, one nation cannot work in isolation. We must make regional, national and international commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to clean sources of fuel, and investing in the research and technology to move toward an energy independent universe."

The summit is taking place at UC Davis so as to take advantage of the university's long history of world-class research and development in environmental sustainability and green jobs.

UC Davis' academic research, expertise and collaborative approach have been providing solutions to government, industry and advocates for decades on issues ranging from energy efficiency and biofuels to sustainable agriculture and health solutions for rural and developing communities.

"The politics of climate change have challenged science, so it is critical that universities like UC Davis -- with 21st-century research and development units -- uncover and deliver the facts so that the world's opinions can flow from there," UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said.

"We are showing the way in research, innovation, stewardship and sustainability because we believe in those principles," she said.

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