Schwarzenegger, Blair to terminate global warming?

California's "Governator" and the British prime minister team on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, accusing Washington of lacking leadership on the environment, committed his state on Monday to work with Britain to reduce greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined Schwarzenegger and leading businessmen to announce the agreement under which Britain and California will collaborate on research into clean-energy technologies, and California will study the British experience of greenhouse gas emissions trading.

Tony Blair Blair and Schwarzenegger

Most scientists link greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, to global warming that could lead to heat waves, stronger storms and flooding from rising sea levels.

Schwarzenegger has pursued a strong environmental agenda, putting him at odds with fellow Republican President George W. Bush, who withdrew the United States from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming in 2001, saying its caps on greenhouse gases would cost jobs.

"We see that there is not great leadership from the federal government when it comes to protecting the environment, so this is why we as a state move forward with it, because we want to show leadership," Schwarzenegger told a joint news conference with Blair held on the dockside at Long Beach, Calif.

Blair said the agreement with California "will allow us to explore how both of us...can combine together in research, in technology, but also in trying to evolve market mechanisms that allow us to reduce carbon dioxide emissions."

Blair said it would be exciting if there could be a tie-up between California and the European Union's emissions-trading system, though he said work in Europe was at an early stage.

Emissions-trading plans such as the European Union's work by placing mandatory limits on the production of greenhouse gases. Bush, however, has called for voluntary measures to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.

A spokesman for the British Consulate-General in Los Angeles said Blair and Schwarzenegger were not sidestepping Bush on global warming.

Monday's talks are an extension of discussions about reducing greenhouse gases between Bush and Blair at the recent Group of Eight, or G8, meeting, said a spokeswoman for James Connaughton, Bush's top environment adviser.

Blair has made tackling global warming a priority. His credibility suffered a blow in March, when Britain said it would miss its own target to slash carbon dioxide emissions, though that target was much more ambitious than its commitment under Kyoto.

Schwarzenegger has endorsed measures to reduce industrial emissions of greenhouse gases but has stopped short of calling for a hard cap on them.

Business leaders such as BP Chief Executive John Browne, DuPont CEO Charles Holliday and Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson took part in a discussion with Blair and Schwarzenegger.

They were among a dozen business executives who signed up to a corporate climate alliance that will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by industry.

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