United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday, and the two called for stepped-up global action on climate change. Mike O'Sullivan reports from San Francisco, the U.N. official praised the West Coast governor for his state's aggressive role in tackling the issue.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made climate change a priority at the United Nations. He had flattering words for Governor Schwarzenegger, who has set ambitious goals to reduce his state's greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming. The pair toured a company called Echelon Corporation in the high-tech region of Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco. The company produces energy-saving technology that is being used in countries from Austria to China.
California's far-reaching environmental targets, which Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law last year, are spurring new technology at companies like this one. The state has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, and reduce them by 80 percent by mid-century. The governor acknowledges the goal is ambitious.
"Why we're comfortable that we're going to reach this goal is because of technology, and innovators like Echelon will help us actually achieve those goals. And we are building tremendous momentum right now. States like New Jersey, Hawaii, Utah and Florida are all joining us, having recently taken action similar to California, which means reducing greenhouse gas emissions," he said.
The U.N. Secretary-General says the science is clear, and global warming is a fact beyond debate. "We also know in broad strikes what to do. The time for action is now. Time is of (the) essence," he said.
Mr. Ban says the weapons to fight climate change include carbon-capture technologies and better land-use laws. "Energy conservation is part of the solution. So are renewable fuels and private market incentives," he said.
He says the world also needs political will and leadership, the kind of leadership he says Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown.
The Uinted Nations leader invited the governor to share his ideas at a U.N. meeting on global warming September 24 in New York.