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Arnold Schwarzenegger focuses on environment

As California's governor, it may have been Arnold Schwarzenegger's last appearance on a world stage.His third and final Governor's Global Climate Summit concluded Tuesday at UC Davis with the forming of coalitions, signings of memorandums of understanding and other calls to action.

There's R20 - Regions of Climate Action, a "subnational public-private alliance that will work toward climate change solutions and building the global green economy." A Pacific Coast Collaborative Leaders Forum- consisting of Schwarzenegger, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell- pledged "actions to protect the Pacific Coast environment and economy." And Schwarzenegger signed an agreement with state governors from Brazil and Mexico "to combat climate change and protect tropical forests."


"Action is needed now. We can't afford to wait for national and international movement," said Schwarzenegger.

Hot air or no, he's got the last part right, although it remains to be seen whether "subnational" governments can do any better.

Than, say, the United States, where energy legislation seems dead for the foreseeable future. Or Cancun, Mexico, where 194 countries gather next month to see if they can improve on last year's miserable failure in Copenhagen to reach a carbon-reduction deal. The best hope for that was expressed by British Prime Minister David Cameron (a guest via satellite at Schwarzenegger's summit), who spoke of making Cancun "a staging post towards that deal."

-- He'll be back? "He'll definitely stay engaged in a number of issues, particularly energy and the environment," said press secretary Aaron McClear. "He could very well be doing more of these kind of events."

Real steps: Five Bay Area companies were among the 13 in California to receive the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards at the summit, for "extraordinary contributions to California's environment and economy."

-- Alameda Municipal Power, for the utility's methane gas-to-renewable energy program at city landfills.

-- High Mountain Fuels, whose bio-liquefied natural gas, processed from waste at the Altamont Landfill, powers 485 garbage trucks throughout California.

-- California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, whose "Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Workbook" is used by vintners and growers statewide.

-- First Community Housing Casa Feliz Studios, for its LEED Gold 60-unit SRO complex in San Jose.

-- Apple, for eliminating major amounts of polyvinyl chloride, mercury, lead and arsenic from waste streams through its production process.

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