Schwarzenegger urges U.N. to move on climate change

UNITED NATIONS Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:03pm EDT

1 of 3. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses the United Nations High-level Event on Climate Change at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, September 24, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Chip East

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Rich and poor nations must get over their disagreements about how to fight climate change and forge a new pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Monday.

Speaking at a United Nations conference on global warming, Schwarzenegger urged countries to stop blaming each other for rising temperatures and work together to solve the problem.

"The current stalemate between the developed and the developing worlds must be broken," Schwarzenegger said. "It is time we came together in a new international agreement that can be embraced by rich and poor nations alike."

Schwarzenegger, a former movie star and body builder, has made reducing emissions a key policy goal of his governorship of California, the world's seventh largest economy.

Wearing a green tie, the governor told delegates that rich and poor nations have different responsibilities in fighting climate change, but said it was time to stop the blame game.

"The time has come to stop looking back at the Kyoto Protocol," he said. "The consequences of global climate change are so pressing ... it doesn't matter who was responsible for the past. What matters is who is answerable for the future. And that means all of us."

U.N. climate change negotiations will take place in December in Bali to try to forge a way to cut emissions after Kyoto expires.

Schwarzenegger, who backed a landmark 2006 California law to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, urged leaders to stop talking and start acting.

"California is moving the United States beyond debate and doubt to action," he said. "I urge this body to push its members to action also."

Schwarzenegger has sharply criticized the Bush administration for not doing enough on the issue, while praising European countries for showing leadership and developing an emissions-trading system .

President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of the Kyoto treaty, which requires 36 industrial nations to cut greenhouse emissions by at least 5 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. Bush says Kyoto unfairly burdens rich countries while exempting developing countries like China and India.

Developing nations say rich states built up their economies without emissions restraints and argue that less-developed countries should have the same opportunity to establish their economies now.

But as emissions from developing nations such as China and India grow, environmentalists say action by the developed world alone will not be enough to stop the warming trend.

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