Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement after numerous states took legal action to block the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which sets nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants:
“While the world’s scientists warn of the existential threat we face, these misguided political representatives seek to take America into a dark age of climate denial,” said Governor Brown. “I will do everything in my power to fight this pernicious lawsuit.”
Power plants are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases among stationary sources in the United States, making up roughly one-third of all emissions. The Clean Power Plan sets greenhouse gas emissions guidelines for each state based on current levels of pollution. On average, this plan will help cut pollution from existing power plants nationwide approximately 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
California is already on track to meet and exceed these new, national reduction targets, having committed to cutting emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 under an executive order Governor Brown issued earlier this year – the most ambitious target in North America and consistent with California's existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050.
California's Leadership on Climate Change
As the clock ticks for national governments to reach a deal to reduce harmful emissions ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Governor Brown continues to focus on building and broadening collaboration amongst cities, states and provinces, at the "subnational level."
To that end, earlier this week, Governor Brown 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. The "Carbon Pricing Panel" includes: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, French President François Hollande, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes.
The Governor has also spearheaded a global pact amongst cities, states and countries, called the Under 2 MOU, to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius - the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions. To date, a total of 46 jurisdictions representing 19 countries and five continents have signed or endorsed the Under 2 MOU, collectively representing more than $14.6 trillion in GDP and 497 million people. If the signatories represented a single country, it would be the second largest economy in the world behind only the United States.
In addition to action on the Under 2 MOU, in recent months the Governor has traveled to the United Nations in New York, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on others 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 Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru and Chile. Governor Brown also helped convene hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists to issue a groundbreaking call to action - called the consensus statement - which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.
Earlier this month, Governor Brown signed landmark legislation - SB 350 - that codified the goals he laid out in his January 2015 inaugural address to double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings and generate half of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In the same remarks, Governor Brown also committed to reduce today's petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; reduce the release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state's most vulnerable populations.