Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued the following statement as the Paris Climate Agreement comes into force today, less than a year after the global pact was reached at the United Nations' 2015 Climate Conference (COP21):
“Today on climate, the world moves from commitment to action. Now it’s up to cities, states and provinces to drastically cut toxic carbon pollution and get us to our goal. The clock is ticking.”
Last year, Governor Brown attended COP21 at the invitation of UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and France's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius. Over the course of the conference, the Governor met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, China's Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua, France's Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and former Vice President Al Gore, and participated in a number of events with world leaders.
California's Leadership on Climate Change
California is playing a world-leading role in setting aggressive climate goals, broadening collaboration among subnational leaders and taking action to reduce climate pollutants.
In September, Governor Brown signed legislation that establishes 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.
Last year, California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany formed the Under 2 Coalition – an international pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the level of potentially catastrophic consequences. Today, a total of 136 jurisdictions representing 32 countries and six continents have joined the coalition, representing more than 832 million people and $22 trillion in GDP, which is nearly a third of the global economy.
Over the past year and a half, in addition to participating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, the Governor traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, 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 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.