California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he'd be back to co-host the second Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles, this past week he addressed the group again saying this reprise will be better than most movie sequels ("except for mine," added the Governator). US governors gathered with international governors from Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, and The Philippines, from Tuesday September 29-October 3. Also present were Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the EPA, Energy Department representatives, a delegation from the UN, and a host of others trying to gather steam leading up to COP15. One of the themes: don't leave out forest. The other theme: listen up. Though these type of events are often about speeches reiterating the alarming problems and bragging about commitments to change, Schwarzenegger plans to attend COP15 to speak on behalf of the "subnationals" with findings from this summit, praising the grassroots efforts of regional governments creating a green revolution. Ticking off the list of actions taken since last year, he included India's installation of billion solar lights to replace kerosene lamps in rural communities.
The confab opened with Harrison Ford addressing the crowd, showing Conservation International's Teamwork video, asking for all to "Get off our butts and get in the game" to save the forests, which doesn't require a huge R&D; investment, like hybrid vehicles. In the webcast opening ceremony the UN's Olav Kjørven, Assistant Secretary-General said they were meeting to "Ramp it up" for COP15, so lots of dazzling facts, figures and announcements ensued during the opening ceremonies.
More than 200 speakers addressed the conference, ranging from former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, primatologist Jane Goodall, and Hot, Flat and Crowded author Thomas Friedman, along with diplomats, executives, NGOs, and academics to cover an agenda ranging from water and oceans to forests and green jobs. Titles of panel sessions included "Moving Goods with Less Carbon" and "Breaking the Deadlock." With all the networking that happens at conferences, partnerships will create connections to achieve the officially stated goal: to expand and strengthen "cooperative efforts...in support of, the next global agreement on climate change."
Brazil's sizable delegation coughed up the dirt on the efforts to save the rainforest at a panel to discuss Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), a controversial UN program that provides a financial incentive for people to preserve their forests. Osvaldo Stella, Climate Change Coordinator for the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, described a project involving 350 small producer families protecting 31,000 hectares. While other initiatives said they experienced frustration with the Brazilian government.
Maybe Brazil's been too busy clinching the Olympics 2016. When the celebrating ends, what will they do about the Amazon's "Lungs of the Planet"?
More on deforestation:
Amazon Deforestation Drops 46% In One Year
Brazil Announces Plan to Slow Amazon Deforestation by 70%
World's Largest Meat Exporter Says No More Amazon Deforestation
10 Countries With the Highest Deforestation Rates in the World