Toronto, Canada - With the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris quickly approaching, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called on states and provinces to join California in the fight against climate change in keynote remarks at the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto.
“The real source of climate action has to come from states and provinces,” said Governor Brown, “This is a call to arms. We’re going to build up such a drumbeat that our national counterparts – they’re going to listen.”
Under 2 MOU
Earlier in the day, Governor Brown joined founding signatories Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Washington Governor Jay Inslee to witness Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard sign the “Under 2 MOU,” a first-of-its-kind agreement amongst states and provinces around the world 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.
“Quebec and California have been leaders in the development of the carbon market and Ontario is also putting a limit on the main sources of greenhouse gas pollution through a cap-and-trade system,” said Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. “Quebec is also proud to have signed the Under 2 MOU today. With the concerted efforts of all federated states we will achieve concrete results in the fight against climate change.”
The agreement, under which signatories commit to either reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or achieve a per capita annual emission target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050, was first signed by Governor Brown and other global leaders in May. Additional states and provinces signed onto the agreement in June and July and with the addition of Quebec – Canada's largest and second most populous province – 18 states and provinces in nine countries and four continents have signed the agreement, collectively representing more than $5.3 trillion in GDP and 130 million people.
The agreement provides a template for the world's nations to follow as work continues toward an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
“Throughout the Americas, states and provinces are taking the lead in the fight against climate change and creating new opportunities for trade, investment and growth,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. “The Climate Summit of the Americas is an important step on this journey, particularly as we look for meaningful national targets to be set at the UN Climate Conference in Paris this December. I want to thank Governor Brown for spearheading the Under 2 MOU initiative, for his participation in the Summit and for his continued leadership in the fight against climate change. His voice has been pivotal in urging other subnational and national governments to take action. Together, we are building a more prosperous low-carbon economy and demonstrating that good climate policy is good economic policy.”
Today’s announcement also builds on the ongoing partnership between California, Quebec and Ontario to form a joint cap-and-trade market to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
California Leading on Climate Change:
Earlier this year, Governor Brown issued an executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most ambitious target in North America – and is consistent with California's existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. The Under 2 MOU builds on other international climate change pacts with leaders from Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel and Peru. 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.
In his inaugural address earlier this year, Governor Brown announced that within the next 15 years, California will increase from one-third to 50 percent the electricity derived from renewable sources; reduce today's petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent; double the efficiency savings from existing buildings and 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.