Coalition now represents over a billion people and $25.7 trillion in combined GDP
MARRAKECH – Following a signing ceremony at the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22), the Under2 Coalition and California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today welcomed 29 new members to the growing pact of cities, states and countries committed to limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the level of potentially catastrophic consequences.
“This Under2 MOU represents an ever-growing consensus of states and provinces throughout the world determined to do everything possible to combat climate change,” said Governor Brown.
With the addition of 29 new signatories including the Australian Capital Territory in Australia; South Sumatra, East Kalimantan and West Kalimantan in Indonesia; Michoacán and Tabasco in Mexico; Abruzzo in Italy; and the Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities in China which represents 23 cities, including Beijing and existing member Zhenjiang; the Under2 Coalition has now grown to 165 jurisdictions representing more than a billion people and $25.7 trillion in combined GDP – more than one-third of the global economy.
Speaking at a signing ceremony hosted at the China Pavilion in Marrakech, Jiang Zhaoli, Deputy Director General of the Climate Change Department of China’s National Development Reform Commission said: “China’s low carbon city program has expanded to 100 cities and provinces. More than 30 of them have pledged to peak their emissions much earlier than the national target of peaking by 2030.”
The Under2 Coalition, the collective of governments who have signed or endorsed the Under2 MOU, was formed in 2015 by the states of California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany to mobilize – and galvanize – bold climate action from likeminded city, state and regional governments around the globe. Coalition members pledge to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 2 tons per capita or 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050.
“Canberra has some of the most ambitious renewable energy targets in the world and is well on track to reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and being carbon neutral by 2050,” said Shane Rattenbury, Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability for the Australian Capital Territory. “Committing to the Under2 Coalition is a great opportunity for Canberra to take the stage as a world leader on climate change and clean energy and share our strong progress with other cities.”
The climate pact also set a strong example for the world’s nations to follow ahead of the COP21 in Paris and has since been endorsed by a number of national governments committed to long-term deep decarbonization.
The Climate Group, an international nonprofit that works with business, state and regional leaders to promote a prosperous, low-carbon future was announced as secretariat of the Under2 Coalition at last year’s COP in Paris. It is supporting signatories in developing decarbonization pathways to 2050, sharing expertise and policy solutions, and tracking efforts to ensure that governments deliver on their commitments.
“With the Paris Agreement entering into force earlier this month, all levels of government in every part of the world need to come together and push forward solutions to secure a climate safe future. This unique coalition of states, regions, cities and nations is needed now more than ever,” said Damian Ryan, Acting CEO at The Climate Group.
Additionally, California and the World Bank, in partnership with the Under2 Coalition and the alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities, announced an agreement to promote sustainable, low-carbon development strategies delivered through various initiatives, including the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities, with a focus on carbon inventory methodology, decarbonization pathways to 2050, and capacity building for sustainability strategies in Chinese cities.
Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development said: “This is an exciting new platform that will enable us to build from California’s experience in driving down emissions and to extend it to cities in China and beyond. We need partnerships like this if we are going to deliver on the ambitions of Paris.”
California’s Leadership on Climate Change
In September, California took bold action to advance its climate goals, establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America and the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants. The Governor also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.
This action builds on landmark legislation the Governor signed in October 2015 to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings. Governor Brown has also committed to reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.
Over the past year and a half, the Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. Governor Brown also joined an unprecedented alliance of heads of state, city and state leaders – convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund – to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon.
These efforts to broaden collaboration among subnational leaders build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru and Chile and Governor Brown’s efforts to gather hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.