SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today welcomed Norway to the Under2 Coalition – the global 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.
“In the face of irreversible climate change, the world’s cities, states and countries must decarbonize and get on a sustainable path,” said Governor Brown. “California is proud to partner with Norway in this fight.”
The agreement was signed during a meeting between Governor Brown and Minister Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and the Environment. A number of representatives from California and Norway joined the meeting, including Ambassador of Norway to the United States Kåre R. Aas, Consul General Hilde Janne Skorpen and California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Matt Rodriquez.
“I am very grateful for Governor Brown’s leadership on climate change over the last decades. Norway and California are both dedicated to the low-emission future we need. The Governor’s decision to host a major climate summit in September 2018 will show the world that the U.S. is making progress regardless of federal policies. Norway is very pleased to join the coalition of forward leaning states and countries in the Under2 Coalition, and is prepared to contribute financially and otherwise to the implementation of this important initiative,” said Minister Helgesen.
With the addition of Norway’s endorsement, the Under2 Coalition now includes 177 jurisdictions on six continents that collectively represent more than 1.2 billion people and $28.8 trillion GDP – equivalent to over 16 percent of the global population and 39 percent of the global economy. Norway is the 16th country to endorse the Under2 Coalition.
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 like-minded city, state and regional governments around the globe. Coalition members pledge to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 2 tons per capita or 80-95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
California’s Climate Leadership
In addition to the Under2 Coalition, Governor Brown is leading a number of initiatives to strengthen the collaboration between governments, businesses and other partners committed to curbing carbon pollution.
Last month, on the eve of the G20 Summit, Governor Brown announced that California will convene the world’s climate leaders in San Francisco in September 2018 for the Global Climate Action Summit, where representatives from subnational governments, businesses, investors and civil society will gather with the direct goal of supporting the Paris Agreement. In June, Governor Brown joined the Governors of Washington and New York to form the U.S. Climate Alliance, which now includes 14 U.S. states – led by both Democrats and Republicans – committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan. Governor Brown also launched America’s Pledge on climate change with Michael Bloomberg, a new initiative to compile and quantify the actions of states, cities and businesses in the United States to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
In June, Governor Brown was named Special Advisor for States and Regions ahead of this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23) by the Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama – incoming president of COP 23. This followed meetings with Germany’s top environmental official, Minister Barbara Hendricks, in San Francisco, and with China’s President Xi Jinping during the Governor’s week-long trip to China.
Last week, Governor Brown signed landmark legislation that extends and improves the state’s world-leading cap-and-trade program and establishes a groundbreaking program to measure and combat air pollution at the neighborhood level. In recent years, Governor Brown has signed landmark climate legislation to establish the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America; set the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants; direct cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems; and require the state to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in buildings.
The Governor has also traveled to the United Nations’ 2015 Climate Conference (COP 21) in Paris, the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Vatican and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. These efforts 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, Chile, Australia, Scotland, Sweden, Germany and Fiji as well as Governor Brown’s efforts to gather hundreds of 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.
California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, continues to advance its nation-leading climate goals while also growing its economy faster than the rest of the United States. In the past seven years, California has created more than 2.5 million new jobs, cut its unemployment rate in half, eliminated a $27 billion budget deficit and boosted its credit rating to the highest level in more than a decade.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.
More information about the Under2 Coalition can be found at www.under2MOU.org.
Photo credit: Joe McHugh, California Highway Patrol. For a high-resolution copy of this photo, contact Danella Debel at Danella.Debel@gov.ca.gov.