December 08, 2015 - 11:35 AM
PARIS - Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger urged sub-national governments such as cities and provinces on Tuesday to march forward 'like a Terminator' on environmental issues.
Three premiers — Ontario's Kathleen Wynne, Quebec's Philippe Couillard and Manitoba's Greg Selinger — were in the audience as the actor spoke at the international conference on climate change in Paris.
"If you happen to be a pessimist and you don't expect any agreement here, no Kyoto 2 or anything else, then of course sub-national governments — the cities, states and provinces — are the best insurance policy because local policies can control 70 per cent of (greenhouse gas) emissions," he said.
"We have the power to create a sustainable and healthy energy future."
The environmental activist said it is crucial for ordinary people to get involved at the grassroots level in the fight against climate change.
"It is our time, ladies and gentlemen, it is our moment to pick up the torch of a clean energy future in the cities and the states and in the provinces and march forward relentlessly like a Terminator," he said.
Schwarzenegger cited World Health Organization statistics that estimate the number of premature deaths from air pollution at seven million every year.
"This is not the movie world, which is the other world I come from," he said. "Here, we don't have special effects or visual effects. We don't have scriptwriters who write a better ending. This is the real world."
The former bodybuilder was California governor between 2003 and 2011 and in 2006 signed a bill creating a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
He also founded a non-profit environmental body in 2010 that is a coalition of sub-national governments, private companies, international organizations and NGOs.
California's cap-and-trade system is to be linked with those of Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba under the Western Climate Initiative.
Quebec already has an active cap-and-trade market with the state, while Ontario is still working out details as it plans to introduce its system in 2017.
Selinger announced last week when he unveiled Manitoba's climate change plan that it would join Ontario and Quebec by introducing a cap-and-trade program for 20 large emitters.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015