Schwarzenegger Addresses UN about Climate Change as He Plans the California Delta’s Destruction

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s address to the United Nations yesterday about global climate change is one of the most blatant examples of hypocrisy that I’ve ever witnessed. Schwarzenegger challenged the leaders of the world’s nations to “solve global warming” as he continues to push the California Legislature to accept a $9 billion water bond package that would build an environmentally devastating Delta canal and more dams.

Schwarzenegger addressed delegates and invited guests for the United Nations conference — “The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change” at the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, NY. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited the Governor to speak at today’s special session in July, when they toured a San Jose business that is developing the technology for countries to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

“What we’re doing is changing the dynamic, preparing the way and encouraging the future,” Schwarzengger told the U.N. “The aerospace industry built the modern economy of Southern California. The computer industry and the Internet built the economy of Silicon Valley. And now green, clean technology — along with biotech — will take California to the next level.”

While promoting “green, clean” technology, the Governor also included the pandora’s box of biotechnology as a solution to the energy problems of California and the world — without discussing what potential threat biotechnology, particularly transgenic plants, fish and animals, present to the environment.

“Right now, in California, the brightest scientists from around the world and the smartest venture capitalists are racing to find new energy technologies, and the solutions to global warming. It’s a race fueled by billions of dollars,” continued Schwarzenegger.

While the Governor is planning the destruction of the California Delta, the West Coast’s most significant estuary, by campaigning for the building of a canal and more dams, he is touting his “green” credentials by calling for a “new race fueled by billions of dollars” to find new energy technologies.

While Schwarzenegger has pressured the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board to keep allowing the discharge of toxic waste water from agribusiness into Central Valley streams and the Delta, he is urging the world’s nations to “renew the climate of this planet.” This is greenwashing at its absolute worst!

Rather than preaching about “climate change” in a carefully choreographed photo opportunity before the United Nations, the Governor should have the courage to impose water pollution standards on corporate agribusiness and to reduce water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by mandating increased water conservation and taking drainage impaired land in the San Joaquin Valley out of agricultural production. However, he refuses to do this because the people that are destroying the Bay-Delta Estuary and polluting Central Valley rivers are the same folks that fund the campaigns of Schwarzenegger and other corrupt politicians.

I hope that the people of California soon wake up to the environmental nightmare that Schwarzenegger intends to inflict upon us by building the peripheral canal and more dams to export more water from the Delta. The Governor’s water bond boondoggle would fund two new reservoirs — Temperance Flat in the San Joaquin Valley and Sites in the Sacramento Valley, as well as expanding storage in Los Vaqueros Reservoir.

Four species of pelagic (open water) fish – Delta smelt, longfin smelt, juvenile striped bass and threadfin shad — have declined to record low population levels under the Governor’s “green” leadership. Winter-run chinook salmon, spring-run chinooks, fall-run chinooks, Central Valley steelhead, white sturgeon, green sturgeon and other species are also threatened by Schwarzenegger’s water bond boondoggle.

The voters in 1982 overwhelmingly defeated the “peripheral canal” that would divert water around the Delta to the state and federal export pumps in the South Delta. The Governor’s latest canal proposal is the “armored” or “fortress” Delta proposal, also called “through-Delta conveyance.”

This new version of the old canal would “divert a portion of Sacramento River flows into a series of armored levees that wind through the Delta,” according to today’s article by Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee. “Most proposals would turn the south fork of the Mokelumne River and Middle River into this proposed canal.”

The new concept also includes gates across some side channels to keep out salt water during high tides. “Bolstered levees would be built to withstand earthquakes, floods and a predicted sea-level rise caused by global warming,” Weiser wrote.

A broad coalition of recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Delta farmers, Indian Tribes and conservation groups is adamantly against the canal’s latest incarnation. “Our organization is completely opposed to the new Delta pipe proposal just as it was the old one,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, coordinator of Restore the Delta. “It will be very destructive to Delta water quality and quantity and would do great harm to prime farm land. The main difference between the old and new canal proposals is that the new canal would pass through fish habitat and farmland further west in the Delta than the previous one would have.”

Under the Schwarzenegger administration, state and federal water exports have jumped to record levels, causing an aquatic food chain collapse, while he expounds his thoughts on global climate change. There is no doubt that Schwarzenegger is the worst Governor in California history — and we’ve had some really bad ones — for fish, water and the environment, in spite of his shallow rhetoric proclaiming his “leadership” in “the fight against climate change on a world stage.”

“Do not believe that doom and gloom and disaster are the only outcomes,” Schwarzenegger said today. However, if Schwarzenegger is able to ram through his proposal for a canal and more dams, “doom and gloom and disaster” are exactly what Delta residents and farmers, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and the Winnemem Wintu and other California Indian Tribes can look forward to.

Dan Bacher is an outdoor writer, alternative journalist and satirical songwriter from Sacramento, California. He is editor of the Central America Connection and contributes to numerous publications and websites, including Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Because People Matter and the Sacramento News & Review. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Dan, or visit Dan's website.

3 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Marla said on January 6th, 2009 at 10:16pm #

    One day, the truth about Schwarzenegger’s so-called “water shortage” will be exposed.
    Clearly, he and Alan Autry were hired to charm the public as they misguided the focus. The water infrastructure upgrade wraps up 50+/- yrs of secretly altering the valley’s water system for upcoming water diversion beyond Friant/Madera. Likely behind plans for the new dams as well.
    Development. Greed. Annihilation of innocent people to pull this off.
    Talk of citywide poisoning – fluoride, beyond water.
    See my page

  2. Marla said on January 6th, 2009 at 10:18pm #

    By the way, the father of a local FBI agent told me that plans for a major disaster are underway. That would be the only way to cover up the evidence of what has taken place. Hence, the atrocities taking place ahead of time – no consequences.

  3. Grace said on January 6th, 2009 at 11:02pm #

    The Delta should be a State Nature Reserve. It is absolutely beautiful and teeming with life and peace you can only find in wilderness. Schwartzenegger never belonged in California politics. I live in Sacramento and will protest this!! He has done to California what The Bushes have done to all of America.