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UC Davis Joins Governors in Climate Action Alliance
- By Dian Schaffhauser
University of California, Davis has lent its support to a new public-private climate-action alliance being promoted by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The initiative, named the R20, Regions of Climate Action, is intended to jumpstart climate change work, which has stalled at the national and international levels, by engaging participants at the "sub-national" level, such as states or regions. The goal of R20 is to develop and implement low-carbon and climate resilient projects while building the green economy. UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi was the only academic signatory among the coalition of supporters.
The R20 has been incorporated as a non-profit organization in Geneva, under Swiss law. The formal launch took place during a governors' climate summit at UC Davis. The two-day conference attracted 1,500 people from 80 states, provinces, and countries for discussions of global action on the environment and the economy. UC Davis was a co-sponsor of the event.
"This is an historic and exciting opportunity for UC Davis to be party to such a forward-looking and far-reaching global initiative," Katehi said. "In so many areas of energy, the environment and sustainability, our students and faculty are on the cutting edge of moving advances from the laboratory to the marketplace, making ours a safer, healthier world for all."
Schwarzenegger said he's hoping that the actions taken by the alliance will force national and international governments to act as well. "We can't afford to wait for national and international movement. Action is needed now, and action is what we're taking with R20," the governor said. "The role of sub-national governments is more important than ever, and California has shown that state and regional governments can institute policies that will grow the green economy, create jobs and clean our environment."
During its first year, the R20 will push for partnerships among public and private organizations, share best practices, do what it can to accelerate the development of green innovations, and begin implementing clean energy demonstration projects. Within five years, the R20 aims to have at least 20 sub-national governments enact comprehensive low-carbon policies.
"As we have done individually by paving the way to climate conscious national policies, we will endeavor to demonstrate to the international community that charting a new low carbon route to development is possible," said a concept paper for the R20.
The idea for the R20 alliance was first proposed by Schwarzenegger in Copenhagen in December 2009 during a United Nations climate change conference. The signatories include representatives from state and provincial governments, government agencies, and conservation organizations.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.