SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today welcomed Portugal to the Under2 Coalition – the global pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.
“Portuguese people have long called California home and today that bond grows stronger with Portugal joining the Under2 Coalition to confront the existential threat of climate change,” said Governor Brown.
Governor Brown and Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa in the Governor’s Office in Sacramento
Governor Brown met with Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa today at the State Capitol. They were joined by Portugal’s Minister of Economy Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Ambassador of Portugal to the United States Domingos Fezas Vital and Consul General of Portugal in San Francisco Maria João Lopes Cardoso.
“Portugal is in the frontline against global warming. We are committed to fulfilling the goals of the Paris Agreement, and believe that the action needed to address climate change represents an opportunity to develop and transform our economies and to create jobs, goods and services through new market opportunities linked to low carbon technologies. Portugal is adopting decarbonisation policies in transports and assuming an ambitious agenda related to renewable energies,” said Prime Minister Costa. “Global challenges require joint efforts. Portugal is pleased to join other partners in endorsing the Under2 Coalition.”
With the addition of Portugal, the Under2 Coalition now includes 206 jurisdictions on 6 continents that collectively represent 1.3 billion people and $30 trillion in GDP – equivalent to 17 percent of the global population and 40 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. The Portuguese autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira became signatories to the Under2 Coalition in 2015.
The consequences of climate change are already being felt in California, Portugal and around the world. A growing body of evidence suggests that climate change raises the likelihood of warm and dry conditions, which are associated with the increased severity and length of fire seasons. Last year, wildfires in California and Portugal were among the most destructive on record for both jurisdictions.
California’s Leadership on Climate Change
In addition to growing the global Under2 Coalition, Governor Brown has helped establish and expand coalitions of partners in the United States committed to curbing carbon pollution. Last year, California joined Washington and New York to form the U.S. Climate Alliance, which now includes 17 U.S. states – led by both Democrats and Republicans representing 40 percent of the U.S. population – committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan. Governor Brown also partnered with Michael Bloomberg to launch America’s Pledge on climate change, an initiative to compile and quantify the actions of U.S. states, cities and businesses to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Last month, California and 17 other states collectively representing more than 40 percent of the U.S. car market sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to preserve the nation’s single vehicle emission standard that saves drivers money at the pump, cuts oil consumption, reduces air pollution and curbs greenhouse gases. And Governor Brown has also joined with the governors of Oregon and Washington to oppose the federal expansion of offshore drilling in Pacific waters.
California continues to push world-leading policies to combat climate change as well. Earlier this year, Governor Brown issued an executive order to get 5 million zero-emission vehicles on California’s roads by 2030 and significantly expand vehicle charging infrastructure. And last year, Governor Brown 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. In recent years, Governor Brown also signed bills to establish the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America; set the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants; 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.
In September, California will convene the world’s climate leaders in San Francisco 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. This summit builds on the Governor’s work last year to spur further global climate action – and reaffirm America’s commitment – at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23), Vatican, European Union and in China, Russia, Canada, Germany, Norway and France.
More information about the Under2 Coalition can be found at www.under2coalition.org.
Photo credit: Joe McHugh, California Highway Patrol. For a high-resolution copy of this photo, contact Rishi Khalsa at Rishi.Khalsa@gov.ca.gov.