SOLAR TODAY Blog


>>Schwarzenegger: Kicking oil will take years of commitment
July 1, 2008, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today addressed the Climate Summit organized by Florida’s Gov. Charlie Crist. Here’s what he said:

Well, thank you very much for the wonderful reception and thank you very much, Charlie, for the great introduction. I have to say that anytime that Governor Crist calls me to come here to a conference like this, I’m there, because I think he’s doing such an extraordinary job and so I’m thrilled to join all of you for another Florida summit on Global Climate Change. And, of course, California and Florida have so much in common, let’s be honest. We have in common so many things on the environment and when you think about the beautiful beaches that we share, the great weather that we share and we have millions of residents who want to preserve our natural splendor and resources. And, of course, each of the states have a governor that is nice and tanned. (Applause)

And each state has a governor that, at any given time, can go to the beach and rip off our clothes and be seen in bathing suits. (Laughter) And each state has a governor that can run for vice-president. (Applause) I know, you’re right. He’s the only one that can do that, you’re absolutely right. I stand corrected. But we still have something in common; he can run and I can vote for him. So here is again the teamwork. (Applause)

Anyway, Governor Crist, I think, has shown terrific leadership on climate change, there are no two ways about that. And he made both news and history in last year’s summit by issuing a call to action for Florida. He signed an executive order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy. He has created a partnership with other states and with other nations. And just this week, he announced Florida’s deal to buy out U.S. Sugar, which will restore wetlands and protect the Everglades. So let’s give him a big hand for that also. (Applause)

And perhaps most importantly he brought our nation’s fourth biggest state into the fight against global warming and he did that with full force. Now, his timing couldn’t have been better, because our states, nation and the world are facing unprecedented challenges from global warming to high energy prices and the threat of our energy security.

To overcome these challenges and to end the addiction to oil, we need a consistent, long-term energy policy that gives consumers more choices. And we have to stick with it, not just a few years until something better comes along and then drop it. No, we have to stick with it. Politicians have been throwing around all kinds of ideas in response to the skyrocketing energy crisis and energy prices, from rethinking nuclear power to pushing biofuels and more renewables and ending the ban on offshore drilling and it goes on and on, the list. But anyone who tells you that this will bring down our gas prices immediately or anytime soon, is blowing smoke. (Applause)

America is so addicted to oil that it will take years to wean ourselves from it and to look for new ways to feed our addiction is not the answer. The addiction our nation needs to go in and the direction that our nation and our states need to go in is where California and Florida is going and heading. It is towards greater innovation and new technologies and new fuel choices for our consumers. This is the only way that we will ultimately reduce fuel costs and protect our environment. In other words, America did not get into this mess overnight and we are not going to get out of this mess overnight.

We need to change our energy policies and our thinking and stay with it. It is shameful that we get less than two percent of our energy in this country from renewable sources. In California, for instance, we have 12 percent right now and by the year 2020 we will have 33 percent of renewables. In Denmark they already get 20 percent of their power from wind, because they stayed with it for more than 20 years, even when it wasn’t popular or appealing and even when the oil prices went down in price. The same thing is true with Germany, with solar. They’re doing an extraordinary job over there. And Brazil with ethanol. In both cases, they stayed for 30 years and stayed consistently on the program. They got there by making a commitment to clean energy and not by wavering. And now one in three wind turbines worldwide is from Denmark. Germany leads the world in solar power, which should be America. America should be leading the world in solar power. (Applause)

In the United States our domestic energy policy is all over the place. We had a big solar energy push under President Carter in the late ’70s, but then we abandoned it again and we didn’t stay with it because the oil prices came down. Or, for instance, Congress passed tax credits for solar, wind and geothermal energy in the ’90s and now it’s expiring by the end of this year and we have no idea if they ever will renew it, which ought to be renewed for another decade. (Applause)

We talk about fuel efficiency, but our average passenger vehicles get less than 25 miles per gallon, because politicians have not been willing to hold automakers feet and oil companies’ feet to the fire. That’s less than the Model T got in the 1920s. The Model T in the 1920s got more than 25 miles per gallon. I mean, that is extraordinary. Now, since the Model T has disappeared, America summoned the political will to put a man on the moon and to end legal discrimination and to bring down the Berlin Wall and the list goes on and on and on. None of that, of course, was easy. It requires tremendous sacrifice that was always painful and too often tragic. But each cause was guided by an unyielding and optimistic vision for the future. Today we have also visions, but visions of Congress patting itself on the back by mandating that cars ought to go from 25 miles to 35 miles a gallon, but this is by the year 2020. And they think that this is a great accomplishment and they have done the job, when in fact in Italy right now they already have those policies in place and cars have to go 35 miles a gallon.

I want America to be number one, that is the bottom line. America can and must do better for both our long-term economic security and our national security. Look, for instance, what our state and what Florida is doing. Our state — and I think that Governor Crist has just mentioned some of those things — we have made real commitments. In AB 32, to pass the laws to cut our greenhouse gas emissions back to the 1990 level by the year 2020 and then an additional 80 percent by the year 2050. As a matter of fact, today we are releasing the first draft of our scoping plan to implement our landmark AB 32 global warming Bill and this is going to be something that the world will be watching very closely. We believe in action.

We also passed the world’s first Low Carbon Fuel Standard that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gases, but put also 7 million electric cars and hybrid vehicles on the road by the year 2020 and reward innovation. We mandated clean alternative fuels without picking winners and without the kinds of subsidies that often create more problems than they actually solve. And we are aggressively pushing renewable energy, because we in California are big believers in renewable energy and, like I said, we will have 20 percent by the year 2010 and 33 percent by the year 2020. We also passed the Green Building Initiative, to make our government buildings more energy efficient by the year 2015 and the Million Solar Roof program and we are building a Hydrogen Highway that will go all the way from California up to Alaska. (Applause)

Now, this has been a boon for our economy. The Wall Street Journal was correct in saying that our policies are creating California’s New Gold Rush, because billions of dollars in clean technology investment are flowing into our state. And I know that you heard last night from Ray Anderson, who is one of my heroes, whose carpet company doubled its profit in the last 10 years at the same time its greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 60 percent, because he was committed to do it. And this is a billion dollar a year carpet manufacturer, but as Ray Anderson said last night, if he could do it, anyone can do it.

And he’s absolutely correct, because we all do have the power. Let’s not always wait for government. We have the power. The same is when it comes to cutting down on your fuel costs. Politicians, like I said, promise you that, that they will have a way and policies and laws that will cut down the fuel costs right now. It is wrong, it is bogus.

Who can cut it down is you, you, you and you. You can cut it down. Take your car, for instance. Go and get the perfect tire pressure. Tune up your engine. Drive slower. And if you want to be more aggressive, you can go out and when buy a car buy a hybrid car that gets 50 miles to the gallon. You immediately drop your fuel costs by 50 percent. And, if you get a little bit more aggressive, you can get a plug-in hybrid that gets 100 to 120 miles to a gallon and that means that you’re cutting your fuel costs now by 80 percent. So that’s the kind of power that each and every one of us has.

Now, let me just tell you, the most important thing is to know that also California is way ahead in that, because we have Tesla Motors, that is now being produced in California, which is a 100 percent electric car that goes from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds, it looks like a turbo Porsche. I test drove it. I tell you, it is a fantastic car and it looks sexy. (Laughter) It looks great, this car and you can drive 200 miles to 250 miles without charging it up. And then charging it up only takes three hours.

So those are the kind of thing that are available for people now and I think that people should really be in charge of their own destiny and how much they want to pay for their fuel, not wait for the politicians.

Now, before I close, I have a mission for all of you and that is as you research, create and support and invest in renewable energy technologies, think about the payoff. Not just for next year but also the next decade. Your idea might not look reasonable and affordable right now, but energy prices are not going to go back to the good old days, that I can guarantee you. So look at the long-term profitability, the long-term return, the long-term benefits. I know that if we all work together we can create a comprehensive, innovative energy policy that helps consumers, that protects our planet and that builds a stronger and more secure America. And this is what I like about this conference here. I think this is important, that we all get together and talk and bring everyone together, bring other states together. Or, like Charlie Crist did, bring out the nations together here.

So I want to congratulate him and I want to congratulate all of you, to continue that dialogue and to really make America the number one in fighting global warming with a comprehensive energy policy.

Thank you very much and I’ll be back. Thank you. (Applause)

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