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California governor chastises Pacific climate efforts
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Sept 13, 2011

California's Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday accused Pacific Rim nations of failing on climate change and warned that the problem would only grow more serious with inaction.

Speaking to transportation and energy ministers from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum gathered in San Francisco, Brown said that eco-friendly investments would create much-needed jobs.

"Leaders and officials from Washington all the way throughout the Pacific Rim seem to have forgotten about global warming, but global warming hasn't forgotten about us," Brown said.

"The crisis continues to mount, our relentless addiction to fossil fuels intensifies and there is no turning aside -- we have to confront it," said Brown, a veteran politician from President Barack Obama's Democratic Party.

"If we don't make choices, down the road in a few years, a few decades, our problems will be all that more difficult," he said.

California, the most populous US state, will next year begin a "cap-and-trade" system that requires industry to cut carbon emissions blamed for climate change. The state has set a goal of relying on renewable sources for one-third of its energy by 2020.

The ambitious efforts contrast sharply with the mood in the US Congress, where a proposal to restrict carbon emissions nationwide died last year. Many lawmakers of the Republican Party say that climate efforts will hurt the economy and dispute that human activity is causing the global warming.

"Many of them don't believe in major parts of science. There is convenient skepticism about climate change," Brown said.

The top UN scientific panel has concluded that human activity accounts for most of the increase in global temperatures and warned of growing droughts, floods and other severe weather if left unchecked.

APEC accounts for more than half of the global economy and includes top carbon emitters China and the United States. The officials will meet through Friday as they set priorities for the forum's November summit in Hawaii.

The Obama administration has voiced hope that APEC will take action to facilitate the trade of green technology throughout the region.

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