Gov. Schwarzenegger Welcomed as Special Guest by French President Macron at Global Climate Summit
Speaking at the Global Pact For The Environment summit organized by President Laurent Fabius at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once again reminded European leaders that a majority of Americans remain committed to the Paris Agreement and that cities and states across America will continue to invest in renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Quoting President Macron, Governor Schwarzenegger said "let's make our planet great again" and explained how challenges to environmental progress is nothing new. Schwarzenegger joked that in Hollywood it would be easy to end pollution and stop climate change but explained things are more complicated in the real world. "It was never easy. For years, we've been struggling and fighting and pushing but today, it feels like we're almost there. And that all the hard work paid off. I can feel the energy and that momentum building. We are so close."
Following Schwarzenegger, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon provided his observations on President Trump's decision to pull America out of the Paris Accord, a decision that he described as "misguided, ill-informed and made on false assumptions." Ban said that he did not think Trump would succeed and that his decision has actually galvanized support for the Agreement. The former Secretary General continued by thanking Schwarzenegger for his leadership and described him as "not just a Governor but a citizen of the world."
Laurent Fabius, the French President of the Constitutional Council and President of the COP 21, spoke next. He began his remarks by thanking Ban Ki Moon, former Irish President Mary Robinson, and Governor Schwarzenegger, three people who helped him forge the Paris Agreement 18 months ago. When mentioning Schwarzenegger, Fabius said, "he introduces himself with humor, as a terminator but he is really a visionator."
Fabius went on to explain that COP21 was a remarkable success but when you look at the data it is clear that too many people are still dying from the impacts of climate change and that we need to speed up our response to the issue. Fabius also talked about the national security implications of environmental degradation. "Too many people opposed to climate action pretend that they have an ideal of peace and security. Nothing will cause more wars than climate change. We need act at the local level, the national level and the international level."
President Macron closed the program by reaffirming his country's commitment to the Paris Agreement and the global fight against climate change. He said that human kinds survival is at the heart of this challenge and explained how millions of people have already died from pollution and global warming and how action is needed to prevent millions more from suffering the same fate.
President Macron made it clear that he believed President Trump's decision was shortsighted and represented a historical regression. He acknowledged that there is still much work to be done but said we have moved past the days when policy makers had to choose between the environment and the economy. He explained that France was unleashing green investment and creating new jobs and industries. Despite his disappointment with Trump's decision, Macron made it clear that he believes the Paris Accord will succeed. He explained that ratifications of the Agreement have increased in the week's following Trump's announcement and said that "one man will not be able to stop this Agreement, especially when you have people like Governor Schwarzenegger, hundreds of sub-national leaders from every region in the globe, thousands of NGO's, academic, research institutions, and many other nonstate players are ready to act."
Macron closed his speech by reminding his audience that the world is ready for action but that it must stay vigilant and fight climate change hand in hand together.
The global climate summit took place at the Sorbonne in Paris on June 24, 2018. The conference was originally organized to launch a campaign for a global pact to protect the human right to a clean, healthy environment but following President Trump's decision to pull America out of the Paris Agreement the summit also became a rallying point for international support for the Accord. Over 500 political, legal and environmental leaders attended the summit and a first draft of the pact was released at the event. The USC Schwarzenegger Institute was pleased to attend President Fabius' summit and will contribute comments on future drafts of the pact and advocate for its ratification when complete. This follows the Austrian World Summit in Vienna where Schwarzenegger joined Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern for the first global energy summit hosted by the R20 in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.