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Schwarzenegger: GOP can lead on climate

By Brendan Farrington (Associated Press) - July 16, 2007

Charges that protecting the environment hurts the economy are “bogus,” and climate change shouldn’t be a political issue, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday.

Speaking at a summit organized by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Schwarzenegger said that environmental issues are a cause Republicans can embrace.

“There is no Democratic planet Earth. There is no Republican planet Earth. There’s just a planet Earth and we all have a responsibility to take care of it,” Schwarzenegger told the crowd of 600.

“This is all bogus, because we won’t have an economy if we destroy our environment,” Schwarzenegger said. “We can grow the economy and still simultaneously protect the environment. It’s not a choice, it’s not either or; the two go hand in hand.”

Crist called the two-day summit to look at the effects of climate change and what can be done to reduce greenhouse gases. He ended the summit by signing orders that will require state agencies to conserve energy and power companies to use more renewable energy.

California has led efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which are blamed for causing the earth’s temperature to rise. The state has been battling the federal Environmental Protection Agency for two years to get permission to implement a state law that would require automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide.

Crist said he is willing to join California if it sues the EPA. Crist ordered the state to adopt California’s auto emissions standards as soon as the EPA grants California permission to impose them.

Meanwhile in Washington, Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida and Barbara Boxer of California said they would sponsor legislation to try to force federal environmental officials to rule on California’s new stricter auto emissions standards. Florida and 11 other states are waiting on the EPA to approve the California rules, Nelson said.