The Governator created the R20 in 2011 having seen during his tenure as Governor of California the power of regional Governments to effect action on climate change ‘from the bottom up’, irrespective of the pace of action ‘top down’ from national Governments and internationally. In 2006 Schwarzenegger signed into law California’s ground-breaking ‘Assembly Bill 32’ which mandated a raft of state-wide programmes to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions. Schwarzenegger reminded us that today California, the world’s 8th largest economy, achieves every unit of GDP using 40% less energy than the rest of the United States. He also commented that State Governors, the mayors of major cities, council or borough chiefs and other regional authorities across the World have the ability to effect significant change on their patch. Working together the effectiveness of that ‘grassroots’ activity can be magnified.
So the R20 seeks to bring together such regional and local leaders from across the world for the purpose of actively collaborating where collaboration makes sense. Schwarzenegger told the conference that the collective purchasing power of the R20 can deliver massive economies of scale, and hence significant cost reductions, on everything from efficient LED streetlights to electric vehicle charging infrastructure. I was interested therefore to see the likes of Phillips, Siemens, ABB, Honeywell and Veolia represented at the conference. It is early days for the R20, but if Schwarzenegger really throws his weight behind this initiative the effects – and the opportunities for green industrial companies across sectors – could be immense.
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