Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard joined forces with former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to urge global action on climate change, saying politics must be put aside.
The unlikely pair met in Perth on Thursday and jointly penned an opinion piece that ran in News Limited newspapers.
“We know climate change is having harmful effects on our environment and on the economy. And we know the time for action to address these challenges is now,” they said.
Australia is a key greenhouse gas emitter with a heavy reliance on coal mining and exports and most of its electricity comes from coal-fired power stations.
But last November it pledged to sign up for a second round of the Kyoto Protocol environmental protection treaty to reduce emissions, while one of Gillard’s key policies since taking office has been the introduction of a carbon pollution tax.
Hollywood star Schwarzenegger signed a historic bill in 2006 as governor that made California the first US state to impose limits on global warming gases.
“California and Australia have a lot in common — climate change threatens our fragile environments and intensifies bushfires, droughts and floods, which put our important agricultural industries at risk,” they wrote in the opinion piece.
“Because of these similar challenges, even though we are leaders from different sides of the political spectrum, we strongly agree on two fundamental ideas — that taking action on climate change can no longer be delayed and that such actions can succeed beyond partisan politics.”
They added that to drive the economic change necessary to lower emissions to less damaging levels “we need everyone to recognise that pollution has a cost”.
“This means we need to put a meaningful, global price on carbon pollution now.
“What the Industrial Revolution and the Information Technology Revolution have shown is that the people in regions which lead these transformations prosper the most and the soonest.
“It is the same with the Clean Energy Revolution.”