As global warming becomes an increasingly talked about issue among elected officials, one ASUCD senator had the opportunity to listen to top world leaders discuss their ideas for combating global climate change.
ASUCD Senator Ramneek Saini attended Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first Global Climate Summit, a two-day event held last week in Los Angeles, which hosted various U.S. governors and officials from around the world. The summit was an attempt to bring key world leaders together to discuss new ideas for fighting global climate change and was held as a preliminary meeting to U.N. negotiations, which will take place in Poland next month.
Attendance at the event was exclusive, but Saini said she was able to obtain an invitation through her involvement in CALPIRG.
“I am an active student of CALPIRG, which has played a huge role alongside Environment California to pass [environmental legislation],” Saini said. “Governor Schwarzenegger understands the work of our organization and therefore, extended the invitation to us.“
CALPIRG organizing director Danny Katz, who nominated Saini to attend the summit, said her extensive work on environmental issues, including coordinating a campaign through CALPIRG to bring high speed rail to California, made her a prime candidate to represent the organization.
“When I was notified that the governor was looking for students to come to his summit to represent the work youth are doing to stop global warming, Ramneek was one of the first people who came to mind,” Katz said. “Her experience makes me think that she is one of the most active and effective global warming warriors in the state.“
Saini said one of the best parts of attending the event was getting to meet with a diverse array of world leaders and hear their ideas firsthand.
“I got to speak with five U.S. governors and political leaders from China, India, Brazil, British Columbia, Republic of Indonesia and Canada,” Saini said. “I also I spoke in detail with Governor Schwarzenegger about reducing carbon emissions up to 33 percent by 2020.“
Saini said she was also very interested to hear the different ideas of the many U.S. governors who spoke at the event.
“It was great to learn about what our political leaders are doing about combating global warming in the United States,” she said. “All the U.S. governors focused on generating renewable energy from wind and solar power. They also discussed their plans for their home state and what can be done nationwide.“
Katz said attending the summit was an important step in CALPIRG’s work to fight global warming.
“At the summit, not only did we meet Governor Schwarzenegger and were able to lobby him but also other state governors from [Wisconsin], [Kansas], [Illinois] and [Florida], as well as other important statewide leaders who we also invited to come to campus to educate students about their work,“ he said.
In addition to presentations from the many global officials, the summit also featured a webcast from President-elect Barack Obama, who thanked the attendees and emphasized the importance of the summit.
“Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change,” Obama said in his address to the audience. “The truth is, the United States can’t meet this challenge alone. Solving this problem will require all of us working together.“
Saini said she hopes to use some of the information she gained at the summit in her work as senator here at UC Davis.
“My main focus as an ASUCD senator was not on green issues but I have been working with CALPIRG to insure that [ASUCD] passes policies that will reverse global warming,” she said. “Attending this summit definitely gave me multiple ideas on how to improve our environmental footprint here at UC Davis.“
ERICA LEE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.