The Politicians

Around the world, politicians are struggling to decide how to address global warming. Despite facing budgetary challenges, resistance from industry, and a public concerned with countless other pressing issues, some leaders have managed to keep the climate crisis atop their agendas and are making positive changes. At the top of the heap are Angela Merkel and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Angela Merkel

The first female Chancellor (or Chancelloress, as the German federal government officially notes) of Germany and the leader of the world's third-largest economy, Merkel played a key role in putting climate change at the top of the agenda at the 2007 G8 meetings, where she acted as president. She also held the position of president of the European Union in 2007 and used that position to push for the adoption of the European Union target of a 20-percent increase in energy efficiency by 2020. Merkel served as Germany's minister of the environment in the 1990s, during which time she played a key role in convincing developed countries to join the Berlin Mandate of 1995, which led to the creation of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Kyoto may not have happened without her work.

Speaking on climate change to the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, Merkel said, "It's not only the dry facts and numbers that call us to negotiate, but also the question of in what future we want to live. For me, this is not only an economic imperative, but also a moral one."

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Known worldwide as an action hero in such movies as The Terminator, Commando, and Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger took on a new role in 2003: governor of California. He has since been at the forefront of sweeping political change, making the state of California a leader on climate change. He introduced green, climate-friendly innovations such as the Hydrogen Highway (putting the infrastructure in place to allow people to use hydrogen fuel-cell cars across the state) and the Million Solar Roofs Plan (a statewide solar rebate program helping to make possible 1 million solar roof installations). You can see his dedication to dealing with climate change in legislation that ensures cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions by using principles of business and economic policy. (Check out Chapter 10 to read about some of California's success stories.)

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