By Greg Harman
Okay, so Bush won't work with the world. I think we get that. But what's up with Perry not working with neighbors in Coahuila or Arizona, for crying out loud? Why is our state the lone borderlands holdout to a pact dedicated to solving trans-boundary environmental problems?
Flashback! (Yes, still getting caught up on last week's email.) Arnold, the Governator, trumpets something called the Western Climate Initiative at last week's Border Governor's Conference held in Hollywood. Happy I wasn't called on to speak, cause I've never heard of the thing.
Turns out WCI, boasting among its ranks California, Arizona, and New Mexico (uh, the rest of El Norte's border) â?? and "non-actor" observers Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, & Tamaulipas.
I have a brooding sense of Perry's rationale for keeping a distance. Mess with our right to greenhouse gas emissions and the real Governator may start flashing that double-handed long sword, be-yatch.
As host of the Border Governors Conference, Schwarzenegger used his keynote speech to expound on the theme of this year's conference, Building Green Economies.
To help fight global warming, he pointed out, the Mexican border states have joined the Western Climate Initiative. They hold status as observers and so are not bound by the goal set by the WCI in August 2007 for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its 11 member states in the west and in Canadian provinces that now extend as far east as Quebec.
In Hollywood today, Mexico's top environmental official Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, who heads the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources, proposed the creation of state climate change plans to deal with the environmental impacts of global warming in a coordinated way.
He said the environmental agreement that Mexico signed recently with the state of California could be applied all along the border strip.
Still, despite the Texas-shaped hole in WCI, a broad declaration capped the meeting, promising action on a field of challenging issues, including the environment.
Here's the statement on energy:
Identify and promote a United States-Mexico border region program for renewable energy by exchanging information on policies and financial incentives:
* Work with federal bi-national organizations, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, the North American Development Bank and international organizations to facilitate project development.
* Identify financial opportunities for at least one renewable energy project before the end of 2009.
Develop a best practices program for energy savings and efficiency in the United States- Mexico border region communities:
* Work with Environment Worktable to identify those industrial commercial sectors in the border region that would benefit from the introduction of energy saving technologies and practices.
* Identify financing from state, federal, bi-national and international sources to support this effort.
Exchange information on energy infrastructure:
* Annually update information on energy infrastructure (e.g. power plants, transmission lines, gas pipelines) as part of the Border Governors Conference.
* Identify cooperative activities between energy authorities from Mexico and the United States.