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California and the UK Sign Climate Change Pact

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and British Prime Minister Tony Blair signed an agreement today to become partners and to act “aggressively” to address climate change and promote energy diversity.

The agreement, which bypasses the US Federal Government, also calls for working directly with “China, India and other rapidly growing economies” to develop and deploy clean energy technologies in those countries that will reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming. Today, we are taking an unprecedented step by signing an agreement between California and the United Kingdom. International partnerships are needed in the fight against global warming and California has a responsibility and a profound role to play to protect not only our environment, but to be a world leader on this issue as well.

—Governor Schwarzenegger

Specifically, the agreement commits both California and the United Kingdom to:

  • Evaluate and implement market-based mechanisms that spur innovation. The United Kingdom will share best practices on emissions trading and lessons learned in Europe. California and the United Kingdom will also explore the potential for linkages between our market-based mechanisms that will better enable the carbon market(s) to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

  • Deepen the mutual understanding of the economics of climate change. Both California and the United Kingdom have efforts underway to quantify the economic impacts of climate change, mitigation efforts and adaptation strategies. The two will share results from these on-going and emerging studies. In particular, they will focus on understanding how best to model the impact of climate change emissions reduction policies and adaptation measures on regional and national economies.

  • Collaborate on technology research. The two will coordinate energy sector efforts to switch to clean energy technologies, promote green buildings and increase the use of efficiency and renewable energy technologies. They will share information regarding efforts to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, including California’s emission standards and hydrogen highway and the United Kingdom’s experience with a renewable fuels standard and clean coal technologies.

  • Enhance linkages between our scientific communities. Enhanced coordination will help advance the understanding of the impacts of climate change at a regional level, potential mitigation strategies and adaptation measures, as well as acceptable levels at which to stabilize emissions. There are a number of efforts to build on, most notably at the United Kingdom’s Hadley Centre and the Virtual Climate Center in California.

California is the 12th largest emitter of carbon in the world despite leading the US in energy efficiency standards and lead role in protecting its environment.



allen Z

"California is the 12th largest emitter of carbon in the world despite leading the US in energy efficiency standards and lead role in protecting its environment."
Part of it is the Car Culture in California. It may be a good agreement if they can coordinate advanced R&D, world testing, and rollout.


When there is such ineptitude and negligence in the administration, someone has got to take the initiative.

John Ard

How does this work under our Federal Constitution? Isn't the authority to form treaties and other international agreements given to the national government?


Wasn't the thinking to shut down the Federal Government by cutting off taxes? They have abdicated respsibility for the general welfare of our citizens, to focus solely on making war and spending money. Someone has to step up and consider the greater good.

fyi CO2

Circumvention is the strategery - Washington DC has lost their head in the sand & oil

John Ard

What I'm wondering is whether this is a legal thing fo California to do. It would be pitiful to see whatever benefits this could have lost because of the Supreme Court stepping in. But since when has the Court ever done the right legal thng? It seems to fancy itself a governing body. But that's neither here nor there..

Robert Schwartz

It's unconstitutional.

Constituiton of the United States
Article I

Section. 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; ...

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, ... enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, ...

allen Z

John Ard,
As long it does not jeopardize national security, they ill leave it alone. At most, they will likely nationalise the treaty/agreement. That way, it will be between the 50 states of US and the UK. Looking at it, if this should happen, is not a bad thing if it means more people, perspectives, and resources are put into solving the issues.

allen Z

...they will leave it...



I would also think they would leave it alone. To challenge it in court would seem a little embarrassing -- "We oppose this because we don't believe in global warming or energy policy." On the other hand, this administration has done some pretty stupid things to satisfy its anti-science base.


Legal or not, I think it's great that California is taking a stand - particularly as Arnie is a republican - against our backward federal government. If this causes a big stink in congress, it may bring more attention (is it possible?) to the ineptitude of the current administration and that can only be a good thing - 2 years to go!!

John Ard

Ineptitude of the current administration? This wouldn't be a "I'm George Bush and I'm evil" thing (which I don't agree with, but that's beside the point), this is a question of whether or not California has overstepped it's authority. I imagine that there is a loophole they are crawling through, seeing as an earlier post told of a similar agreement with Sweden.


This won't be a true "treaty", just an agreement whereby UK is expected to adopt CARB standards. Encouraging developing countries isn't a treaty.

The administration won't say much because they want the governator re-elected.

Robert Schwartz

It's still unconstitutional. "This won't be a true "treaty", just an agreement" Go back and read Art I, Sec 10 quoted above.


The UK is a "developing country"? I guess we all have room to grow, but the UK is not what's usually being referred to by that term....

Oh, and this is totally unconstitutional, as has been pointed out. Just because something may be done in the right spirit doesn't make it legal. And this is not. If it's as meaningless as most of these sorts of publicity stunts are, it may never be challenged, but if it is ever challenged, it will be overturned instantly, as it should be. It's hard to imagine any more blatantly unconstitutional act than this.


The state of California is taking an active step (one of many) toward improving the real problem here, global warming. If the global climate continues to increase, as top scientists around the world predict, the question of this act's legality will be the least of our concerns. Just because something is illegal does not necessarily mean it is wrong.

Remember, the Federal government has had several chances to sign the Kyoto Protocol but is one of two nations yet to agree (Austrailia being the other). As we wait for the current administration to realize the outcomes of this decision, our global environment is collapsing. Bravo to California for being intelligent enough to take action before its too late.

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