Schwarzenegger: California will lead US climate action

California can lead the way for US climate action according to the state’s former Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

With national action stymied by opposition among fellow Republican’s in Washington, Schwarzenegger says successful regional level policies can create the necessary momentum for wider action.

“We’ve always tried to show leadership on the sub-national level,” said Schwarzenegger at a reception to promote his R20 Regions of Climate Action programme.

“Since the United States was not coming to agreement on anything, we didn’t want to wait. So we moved,” he told Politico.

The legislation that founded the Californian cap and trade system, AB-32 was passed by Schwarzenegger, and opened for trading on January 1, 2013.

It was the brainchild of his energy advisor Terry Tamminen, who also advised President Obama’s 2008 election campaign issues on energy with policies largely modelled on AB-32.

“When we passed AB-32, eight states copied us. When we passed our [renewable-electricity standard], 33 states followed. When I advised Obama during his first campaign, we thought, why not make these standards national?” Tamminen told the National Journal.

Senator John Kerry, the nominee for next Secretary of State, tried but failed to introduce a national cap and trade system in 2010 after failing to win sufficient backing from Republicans.

Federal level support for renewable energy has just been renewed in the compromise fiscal cliff deal.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) was due to expire at the end of 2012 but has been extended for a further 12 months.

Despite this, there is little sign of progress in the country’s other climate change policies.

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