Secretary-General's press encounter with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
San Jose, California, 27 July 2007SG: Thank you very much, Governor Schwarzenegger, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press.
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to meet the Governor and tour this very impressive company. We had a very great tour of this company this morning with the Governor. I was very much impressed by what the Echelon Corporation has been contributing by developing the most modern technologies that can help emerging economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming.
The United Nations has a long history of engagement on climate change – from brokering the climate treaty in Rio in 1992 to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. And I am sure you are all familiar with the work of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's most far-reaching and comprehensive study on climate change and its effects. The science is now clear. The earth's warming is beyond debate. We are its principle cause.
We also know in broad strokes what to do. The time for action is now. Time is of the essence. Our weapons range from new carbon-capture technologies to better land-use laws. Energy conservation is part of the solution; so are renewable fuels and private market incentives. The UN's environment and development programmes play a lead role in crafting strategies for achieving these aims. What's missing is political will and political leadership. In that regard, I have deep appreciation and respect for Governor Schwarzenegger.
That is why I am in California. Governor Schwarzenegger has demonstrated what a difference leadership can make. Thanks to his commitment and leadership, California has embarked upon an ambitious programme to limit greenhouse gases – and to preserve and advance the state's remarkable quality of life. As the Governor just said, cutting 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is a very bold and courageous initiative. And now, other American cities and states are following suit. The world is taking notice. Governor, we thank you for your vision and your courage.
My job is to help. At the UN, I will encourage world leaders to embrace a similarly bold vision – one that can be applied beyond this Golden State to the entire world. A critical starting point will be our coming high-level meeting in New York – on 24 September – where a large gathering of Heads of State will take up the climate issue – in person, forthrightly and with vigour. We have a short window of opportunity – the next 10 years – to chart a course that will prevent dangerous, potentially catastrophic changes in the Earth's climate. We know the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action. We must move forward with urgency.
The visionary leaders who gathered in San Francisco 62 years ago hoped to create a world institution that could deal with world-sized problems. The central purpose of my tenure as Secretary-General is to realize that dream more fully. Working together, with partners like California and Governor Schwarzenegger, we can. And let's do it.
Q: [Inaudible question on Taiwan, province of China]
SG: With the understanding of the Governor and the Chairman, I will briefly mention that membership into the UN ultimately needs to be decided by the Member States of the United Nations. Membership is given to a sovereign country. The position of the United Nations is that the People's Republic of China is representing the whole of China as the sole and legitimate representative Government of China. The decision until now about the wish of the people in Taiwan to join the United Nations has been decided on that basis. The resolution that you just mentioned is clearly mentioning that the Government of China is the sole and legitimate Government and the position of the United Nations is that Taiwan is part of China.
Q: [Inaudible question on involving Governor Schwarzenegger in global efforts to combat climate change]
SG: That's a very good question which I was going to tell you. In fact I have to discuss this with Governor Schwarzenegger. I'd like to invite you, if you agree, to the high-level United Nations dialogue on September 24th to share your experience and your vision with other leaders of the world. It will be very useful for other world leaders to hear from your vision and your experience. As I said, the initiatives by individual states and at the local government level or individual government initiatives – they are all welcome.
This initiative should work as a mutually reinforcing one through the United Nations negotiating forum. Therefore I would like to formally invite you to participate in the September 24th High-Level Meeting.
Q: Governor, are you going to accept the invitation?
Governor: Yes, of course.