SAN FRANCISCO – Helping kick off the Global Climate Action Summit, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today welcomed China’s 120-plus attendees – the largest country delegation at the event – and delivered remarks at the opening of the China Pavilion. Governor Brown also led the California delegation at today’s Under2 Coalition General Assembly – the largest gathering of its kind – and welcomed new signatories to the California-led coalition, which now represents 17 percent of the global population and 43 percent of the global economy.
“China has taken this global summit very, very seriously and we hope to build on that in the months and years ahead as California, the U.S. and China, and Jiangsu Province in particular, work ever more closely to combat climate change. Let’s leave this Summit more committed than ever to get to – not low-carbon, zero–carbon, and then minus carbon – a prosperous world for all,” said Governor Brown in welcoming China’s top environmental officials and representatives from Chinese provinces, cities, business and civil society at the opening ceremony of the China Pavilion, which showcases China’s progress on its bold climate goals.
Governor Brown gives remarks at China Pavilion opening ceremony.
Governor Brown held a bilateral meeting with Vice Governor Miao Ruilin of Jiangsu Province – California’s sister-state and one of the first provinces in China to join the Under2 Coalition – to discuss their close, ongoing partnership, including agreements signed by the Governor in Nanjing last year and in 2013 to expand cooperation on areas including climate, clean energy and technology.
Governor Brown also renewed climate agreements signed with China in 2013 and 2015 – with then-National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua, currently leading the Chinese delegation at the Global Climate Action Summit as China’s Special Representative for Climate Change. The agreement signed today seeks to enhance cooperation between California and China on programs that mitigate carbon emissions and short-lived climate forcers, implement carbon emissions trading systems, share clean energy technologies, strengthen low-carbon development and other initiatives.
Governor Brown and Minister Xie.
Governor Brown meets with Vice Governor Miao Ruilin.
The China delegation’s leading role at the summit builds on California’s long-standing climate and clean energy ties with China, including the California-China Climate Mission last year, during which Governor Brown met with President Xi Jinping; the leaders of Sichuan and Hebei provinces; China’s Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Commerce; and Minister Xie.
Governor Brown also joined former Vice President Al Gore, Minister Xie, Vice President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Xie Yuan and other leaders participating in a high-level U.S.-China subnational climate dialogue, a platform for U.S. and Chinese subnational stakeholders as well as the private sector to discuss collaboration on climate policy, innovation, investment and finance.
Governor Brown at U.S.-China subnational climate dialogue.
Later in the day, Governor Brown addressed the Under2 Coalition General Assembly, where representatives from more than 70 subnational governments gathered to drive climate action by non-state actors, and joined a signing ceremony for 16 new members of the Under2 Coalition, which now includes 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.
“This gathering of regional leaders and the addition of even more members to the Under2 Coalition shows a vibrant and growing global commitment,” said Governor Brown. “We’re not slowing down.”
Governor Brown addresses Under2 Coalition General Assembly.
Cities, states and countries joining the global pact pledge to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius and 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. Today’s new signatories include: Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea; North Kalimantan, Indonesia; West Bengal, India; Akershus, Norway; Association of Cities of County Rank, Hungary; Madre de Dios, Peru; Nariño, Colombia; Oaxaca, Mexico; Sonora, Mexico; Tucumán, Argentina; Baja California Sur, Mexico; Piura, Peru; Broward County, USA; Papua, Indonesia; Japan; and Hawaii, USA.
“Today’s gathering was a real-life demonstration of the power and commitment of global states and regions acting on climate change. State and regional governments are critical in the implementation of climate action, and with more members and new programs of action, the Under2 Coalition is growing in impact and we’re excited to see this momentum continue to build,” said Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer of The Climate Group, which serves as the secretariat for the Under2 Coalition.
Governor Brown later joined fellow summit co-chairs, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Patricia Espinosa and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, Minister Xie and others at an event to support the Talanoa Dialogue, led by the Prime Minister of Fiji and COP23 President Frank Bainimarama, which is designed to take stock of the collective efforts to reduce carbon pollution in line with the Paris Agreement and support efforts to accelerate those reductions. During the meeting, the diverse group of leaders shared inspirational and thought-provoking stories about the worldwide transition to a net-zero society.
Governor Brown participates in Talanoa Dialogue.
“We are convening a diverse group of leaders from all levels of government, the private sector and civil society — important and influential voices from the Grand Coalition leading the charge against climate change — to seek fresh ideas and fresh inspiration to hasten the transition to a more resilient world with net-zero emissions,” said Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama who last year, as President of COP23, named Governor Brown Special Advisor for States and Regions. “There is no time to waste and certainly no time to backtrack on climate action. We urgently need to set ourselves on a new track, and a much faster track, toward a safer, more secure and more prosperous future.”
In addition, Governor Brown discussed cities around the world that are boldly stepping up climate ambition in a meeting with members of the C40 Steering Committee – which provides strategic direction to the C40 network of global cities committed to urgent action on climate change – at San Francisco City Hall.
Governor Brown visits C40 Steering Committee at San Francisco City Hall.
On the eve of the Summit yesterday, Governor 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 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 on the Task Force’s commitment to work with local communities in addressing climate change and deforestation; and delivered remarks at the National Governors Association’s Water Policy Institute conference.
Earlier this week, Governor 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. The entirety of the state’s coast has been off-limits to new oil and gas leases for more than 30 years, and the state has not issued a lease for offshore oil or gas production since 1968.
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 and 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 Governor Brown issued executive orders to improve the health of the state’s forests and help mitigate the threat and impacts of deadly and destructive wildfires, 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 Governor 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, Governor Brown has helped establish and expand coalitions of partners across the nation and globe 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.
Earlier this year, 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 uniform vehicle emission standards that save drivers money at the pump, cut oil consumption, reduce air pollution and curb greenhouse gases.
Photo Credit: Joe McHugh, California Highway Patrol. For high-resolution copies of these photos, please contact Izzy Gardon, Office of the Governor at firstname.lastname@example.org