The Schwarzenegger-Garcetti Climate Change Road Show

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Yesterday may have been the initial stop of a Schwarzenegger-Garcetti road show promoting support by subnational governments for the Paris Climate Change Accord. At least, that idea of taking the presentation national was suggested after the former California governor and current Los Angeles mayor sat for a discussion on how to confront the climate change issue since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris accord.

A major approach to communicate the need of dealing with greenhouse gases and climate change is to emphasize job creation with the new energy technologies, both men agreed.

Talking about polar bears jumping from melting ice floes doesn’t connect with many people, Schwarzenegger said. People need to put food on the table. One thing that advocates of climate change must emphasize is jobs. California has the strictest environmental laws, he said, but also has the number one economic growth record in the United States.

Garcetti also emphasized job growth as part of the narrative on climate change. He said green jobs are good for the economy citing the recent analysis that there are ten times the number of jobs in the green economy compared to coal-related jobs. The mayor said the approach on reducing greenhouse gases should emphasize middle class jobs that will be part of building a renewable energy network. If the economic advantages are placed in human terms, people will own the change, he said.

Garcetti didn’t regret Trump’s decision to drop out of the Paris accord for practical reasons. Calling the decision an “honest moment” the mayor argued if Trump kept the United States in the accord, the president likely would have not followed protocols and worked to undermine the accord.

Schwarzenegger, returning from foreign travels, said he emphasized to world leaders that one man (Trump) dropped out of the agreement, but that America did not drop out. He said business leaders, academics and many elected officials were all in.

Both men emphasized the power of regional governments to move on climate change. Garcetti heads the Climate Mayors group, which he co-founded with the mayors of Houston and Philadelphia before Trump’s decision. Now 338 city mayors are members of the organization.

The local government approach can lead by example without the need for federal support, Garcetti said. The president can’t tell the city of Los Angeles how many electric cars to buy, or how to adjust building codes that are environmentally friendly.

A Schwarzenegger-Garcetti road show could extend the pitch nationally to all regions of the country and involve state and local governments in the renewable energy crusade. How it would play in a less pro-environment setting would be interesting to see.

There would also be a political angle to such an effort. The presentation was hyped as a Republican and Democrat supporting climate change reform. A road show would enhance a national image for Garcetti, something that Schwarzenegger already enjoys. However, one of them is constitutionally prohibited to run for president.

The program was hosted by the Creative Artists Agency, a talent and sports agency headquartered in Century City.

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Hours after the presentation, environmentalists cheered the decision of the California Supreme Court not to take up an appeal by the California Chamber of Commerce over the cap-and-trade funding program. The Chamber contended that the cap-and-trade bill signed by Governor Schwarzenegger was a tax and required a two-thirds vote in the legislature, which it did not receive. Two lower courts decided that businesses voluntarily chose to participate in the cap-and-trade program—they had an alternative to cut greenhouse gases below the required standard and avoid buying credits on the cap-and-trade market. By not taking up the appeal, the lower court ruling stands.

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