On the first full day of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco Thursday, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and fellow Summit co-chair and America’s Pledge co-founder Michael Bloomberg released a new report quantifying the actions by U.S. cities, states and businesses to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions.
Brown also joined fellow U.S. Climate Alliance governors to announce new commitments by the coalition.
“States, cities, businesses, universities and non-profits are showing the way with real commitment and real action on climate,” Brown said at the launch of the America’s Pledge Phase II Report. “We’re getting it done, but there’s still a mountain to climb.”
The report – “Fulfilling America’s Pledge: How States, Cities, and Businesses Are Leading the United States to a Low-Carbon Future” – illustrates that non-federal climate action will cut economy-wide emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 – roughly two-thirds of the way to the U.S. target under the Paris Agreement. In the absence of federal leadership, the report’s findings provide a roadmap for increased climate ambition from all levels of society.
Governor Brown later joined U.S. Climate Alliance governors Jay Inslee of Washington, David Ige of Hawaii and Dannel Malloy of Connecticut at a news conference to announce a range of new commitments by the bipartisan, 17-state coalition.
The commitmentsa include investing additional resources in driving down transportation emissions; developing strategies to implement super pollutant reduction targets; improving the carbon drawdown capacity of state lands; implementing innovative solar deployment measures to increase access to affordable clean energy; and adopting state-level appliance efficiency standards to save consumers money and reduce emissions.
“This Summit is advancing the cause so that more and more people are aware and resolve to take whatever action they can,” Brown said at the U.S. Climate Alliance press conference. “Yes, we need the federal government, we need the President of the United States, but in the meantime we’re going to build the momentum and take concrete actions, as all these different states have.”
Also Thursday, Brown and European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete reiterated their commitment to greater alignment of California and EU carbon markets and to engage other jurisdictions with emerging programs, building on last year’s meeting between the leaders in Brussels.
On Wednesday, Brown welcomed China’s delegation to the Summit, signing an agreement to enhance climate and clean energy cooperation, meeting with the Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province and joining leaders, including former Vice President Al Gore, for a U.S.-China subnational climate dialogue.
Brown also addressed the Under2 Coalition General Assembly and joined a signing ceremony for 16 new members; participated in an event to support the Talanoa Dialogue, led by the Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama; and met with C40 Steering Committee members at San Francisco City Hall.
On Tuesday, Brown highlighted the importance of California’s landmark cap-and-trade program at an event co-hosted by the by the European Commission, Canada and California, during which he blasted the Trump Administration’s proposal to roll back methane regulation; met with China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Minister Xie to discuss the China delegation’s leading role at the Summit; held discussions with Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force members and indigenous community leaders; and delivered remarks at the National Governors Association’s Water Policy Institute conference.
Earlier this week, Brown signed legislation setting a 100 percent clean electricity goal for the state, and issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality – both by 2045.
Late last week, Governor Brown also signed legislation to block new federal offshore oil drilling along California’s coast and announced the state’s opposition to the federal government’s plan to expand oil drilling on public lands in California.
California’s Leadership on Climate Change
California continues to lead the world in adopting innovative policies to fight climate change. Last week, the Governor issued an executive order to safeguard California’s unique plants, animals and ecosystems that are threatened by climate change.
Last month, the state released its Fourth Climate Change Assessment, which details new research on the impacts of climate change and provides planning tools to support the state’s response.
Earlier this year Brown issued executive orders to improve the health of the state’s forests and help mitigate the threat and impacts of wildfire, and get 5 million zero-emission vehicles onto California’s roads by 2030.
Last year, the Governor signed landmark legislation to extend and strengthen the state’s cap-and-trade program and create a groundbreaking program to measure and combat air pollution at the neighborhood level.
Under Brown, California has established the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America; set the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants; and will reduce fossil fuel consumption up to 50 percent and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in buildings by 2030.
The state has met its 2020 target four years early, reducing emissions 13 percent while growing the economy 26 percent. From 2015 to 2016 alone, emissions reductions were roughly equal to taking 2.4 million cars off the road, saving 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel.
In addition, Brown has helped establish and expand coalitions of partners across the nation and globe committed to curbing carbon pollution, including the Under2 Coalition, which this week grew to include 222 total jurisdictions on 6 continents, representing more than 1.3 billion people and $34 trillion in GDP – equivalent to 17 percent of the global population and 43 percent of the global economy.
Members of the coalition make a number of key commitments, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels or to less than 2 annual metric tons per capita by 2050.
California and 17 other states collectively representing more than 40 percent of the U.S. car market sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year to preserve the nation’s uniform vehicle emission standards that save drivers money at the pump, cut oil consumption, reduce air pollution and curb greenhouse gases.