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Forget Bangkok, I’m going to California!

10/07/09

Jay Wellik–Dallas, TX, USA

While most attention is currently focused on Bangkok—the preceding summit to Copenhagen—other summits of world and provincial leaders have also been taking place.  For instance, the Governor’s Global Climate Summit hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger in California just ended last Friday (Oct 2).  It was attended by a slurry of U.S. governors, Obama staff (including top EPA officials), UN leaders, and world leaders.  Some of the faces were familiar from the UN’s Sep. 22nd Climate Change Summit while others would be a little less expected:  journalists such as Tom Friedman traveled across the nation to attend, and even Jane Goodall was there!  Apparently she hoped to teach completely different animals—the rich and poor nations—how to communicate intelligently.

All joking aside, a total of 50 global leaders signed a declaration encouraging greater cooperation between nations and the role of subnational governments.  This was not a meeting to write binding targets or revise text to the Kyoto Protocol, but it seemed to be taken seriously by the developing nations.  The summit’s conclusion was a big enough story to be a front page highlight on AllAfrica.com’s sustainability page (and, notably, there were no stories related to Bangkok).  The subnational cooperative measures in California also came at time when Yvo de Boer expressed disappointment over international negotiations.

The point is, we don’t have to rely on international treaties for cross-border cooperation (although it really would solidify the movement).  Subnational governments—such as those represented in California, NGOs, and even private enterprises can contribute.  Ultimately, more small scale support can also tip the scales and lead to widespread success at the international level.

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