Arnold: What if Copenhagen is not enough?

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Copenhagen today. Photo: Jeff McMahon

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Copenhagen today.

COPENHAGEN–California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger caused a stir as the first celebrity to arrive at the UN Climate Change Conference here, and then by suggesting the efforts of local and regional governments, like the state he represents and the city we find ourselves in, will ultimately be more important.

“This city distinguishes itself by being so clean you can swim in its harbor, though I would not recommend it right now because it’s so cold,” he said. “As everyone knows in the harbor there is a little mermaid.”

From the mermaid Gov. Schwarzenegger transitioned to fairy tales, including his favorite, the Ugly Duckling, and then to the notion of world governments reducing their carbon emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy:

“The question is, is this also a fairy tale? Is it a dream? Is it a false hope? And if it is, how can we make it real?” he asked. “But why do we put so many hopes and eggs in the big international agreements basket? What if I said, the national agreements will never be enough? What if we take that as a given?”

Then Schwarzenegger touted the green accomplishments of California, which he also described as the world’s seventh-largest economy:

“The world’s governments alone cannot make the progress that is needed on global climate change,” he said. “They need the cities, the states, the provinces, the regions. They need the corporations, the activists, the scientists, the universities.”

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