California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to visit Yale next month to deliver an address on climate change, University officials confirmed this week.
Schwarzenegger will speak at a conference of state governors to be held on that topic at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies on April 17 and 18. The event will not be publicly announced until at least next week, but officials disclosed some details about the conference in response to an inquiry by the News this week.
The meeting will come exactly one century after President Theodore Roosevelt beckoned the nation’s governors to the White House for a summit that effectively launched the conservation movement.
“In our case, 100 years later, we are convening the governors of the United States to discuss what we consider the most challenging issue of our time, which is climate change,” said Melissa Goodall, the associate director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, which is organizing the event.
All 50 state governors — as well as their counterparts in the U.S. territories and Canada — have been invited to the conference, although administrators expect only a fraction of them to attend. State environmental-protection commissioners from around the country and at least two former administrators of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, among them former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, are also expected to make the journey to New Haven.
R.K. Pachauri, a one-time FES visiting professor who received the Nobel Peace Prize last year on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which he serves as chairman, is also slated to attend.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican, made headlines in 2006 when he signed into law the first enforceable, statewide cap on greenhouse-gas emissions.
The program is among the cornerstones of his tenure as governor, and it also addresses an issue that has been a priority for University President Richard Levin in recent years. In a speech at the University of Copenhagen in January, Levin called on the world’s economic powers to take up efforts to replicate California’s scheme — lest the fight against climate change be all for naught, he said.
“The magnitude of the problem highlights one important fact: The solution must be global … [or] we cannot succeed in stabilizing global temperatures,” Levin said in his address. “Any one holdout pursuing a business-as-usual strategy will make the cost of adequate global reduction prohibitive.”
Yale, meanwhile, is making its own effort to fend off global warming; the University is already several years ahead of schedule in its initiative to realize, by 2020, a 10-percent cut in its greenhouse-gas emissions from 1990 levels.