November 4, 2007

Schwarzenegger's Green is Golden

VANCOUVER - California's determination to slash greenhouse gas emissions is touching off a "new gold rush" worth tens of billions of dollars for companies taking a stake in the booming green energy sector, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday at an economic summit in Vancouver.

Schwarzenegger said his state, which has a larger economy than all but six of the world's national governments, is eager to strike relationships with businesses that can help California meet tough new emission standards adopted last year.

The former action movie superstar and body builder was joined on stage by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell.

The duo capped their appearance by signing a memorandum of understanding committing the state and the province to work together to cap greenhouse gas emissions, collaborate on development and implementation of green technologies and join other U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions in building a hydrogen highway between B.C. and California.

Campbell lauded Schwarzenegger's leadership on issues such as improved emission standards for automobiles. Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger cited a Vancouver manufacturer of low-emission truck engines as an example of the market opportunities and business relationships opening up in California for companies based in B.C.

"The ports of Los Angeles for instance and Long Beach are buying right now trucks with natural gas engines that are made by a British Columbia company," said Schwarzenegger.

"These engines are helping us meet our emission standards, and a California company has seized this opportunity to build stations to fuel those trucks. That's how we are working together."

Schwarzenegger noted that 150 years ago, the territories of what are now California and British Columbia were the site of gold rushes that "shaped our history and led to unprecedented growth."

"Ladies and gentlemen we have the opportunity once again. The Wall Street Journal has just said that our new fuel standard has companies eager to supply low carbon products to California's $50-billion annual transportation fuel market. They call it California's new gold rush.

"With your willingness to be innovative in clean technology, you are poised to start British Columbia's new gold rush."

As an indication of the size and scope of the opportunities, Schwarzenegger noted a decision by General Electric to concentrate its research and development investments in products that help lower emissions.

"GE sales of green clean technology products is $12 billion annually," Schwarzenegger said. "They are now just investing in green clean technology because that's where the profits and the growth is. Their goal is by 2010 to sell $20 billion worth of goods and they are already backlogged by $50 billion. So that is the kind of growth you see in that area."

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