New York - As momentum builds around the world ahead of this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today welcomed 14 new signatories, including New York City and Italy – one of three founding endorsing nations – to the Under 2 MOU climate agreement at a ceremony in New York.
With the addition of the 14 new signatories, a total of 38 jurisdictions representing 17 countries and five continents have signed or endorsed the Under 2 MOU, collectively representing more than $8.7 trillion in GDP and more than 313 million people. If the Under 2 MOU signatories represented a single country, it would be the third largest economy in the world behind only China and the United States.
“California is not standing alone in the battle against climate change, but is joining with dozens of other states, cities – and even nations – to cut dangerous carbon emissions,” said Governor Brown.
The Under 2 MOU is an agreement amongst cities, states – and now countries – 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.
At the ceremony, leaders representing seven jurisdictions signed on to the agreement, including: Italy; New York City, USA; the Azores, Portugal; Madeira, Portugal; Guédiawaye-Dakar, Senegal; the City of Nampula, Mozambique; and Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.
Seven others signed the agreement remotely, including: Gifu Prefecture, Japan; Mexico City, Mexico; Northwest Territories, Canada; the City of San Francisco, USA; Ucayali, Peru; the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and Greater Manchester, UK.
“Italy within the European Union has been working hard to reduce its carbon footprint in the past decades and is proud to be one of the three national governments to endorse the Under 2 MOU,” said Consul General of Italy in San Francisco Mauro Battocchi. “As compared to 1990, CO2 emissions have already been reduced by 20 percent. Renewable energy sources now cover 43 percent of power production and 37 percent of the overall energy consumption. By mobilizing sub-national entities against climate change, the State of California is showing leadership on a global scale.”
Italy is among the first of three nations to endorse the Under 2 MOU, with the Netherlands and Luxembourg also joining as founding endorsing nations in the days ahead.
“Business as usual simply won’t do when our very survival is at stake, and as local leaders, we must use all tools at hand to address climate change head on,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “That’s exactly what New York City is doing with our ambitious and necessary OneNYC, a comprehensive blueprint for a strong, sustainable, resilient, and equitable city – including our sweeping plan to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050. We’re incredibly proud to stand with our fellow cities, states, and countries in signing the Under 2 MOU, and look forward to seeing many others join us.”
New York City joins a growing list of cities that have signed on to the Under 2 MOU, including Los Angeles and Zhenjiang, China, which became the first cities to sign last week at the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit.
Under the agreement, 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. These targets allow each individual government to tailor emission reduction plans to fit regional needs.
The pact seeks to enhance cooperation to achieve these goals through a range of activities, including:
Developing mid-term targets needed to support long-term reduction goals;
Sharing technology, scientific research and best practices to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy;
Collaborating to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles;
Taking steps to ensure consistent monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions;
Improving air quality by reducing short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane; and
Assessing the projected impacts of climate change on communities.
The signing ceremony follows keynote remarks from Governor Brown at an event hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition on short-lived climate pollutants earlier today. Short-lived climate pollutants include methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – compounds that have a more potent heat-trapping effect but remain in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than carbon dioxide. Reducing these pollutants can have a more immediate beneficial impact on climate change.
In his remarks, Governor Brown outlined goals for cutting methane and HFC emissions in California by 40 percent below current levels by 2030 and black carbon by 50 percent below current levels by 2030.
“This is not some airy rhetorical,” said Governor Brown. “This is the path forward and come hell or high water, California is going to get there.”
These goals align with scientific assessments of what is needed globally to limit warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The California Air Resources Board will release a draft strategy next week and host a workshop in October to gather public input. A final proposed strategy will be presented to the board later this year.
Later this evening, Governor Brown will speak at the “Cities Driving Sustainable Development: Endorsing the Sustainable Development Goals and Committing to Their Implementation” event, where mayors from around the world will endorse the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals the day before heads of state and government convene at the United Nations to formally adopt the goals.
For more information on the Under 2 MOU climate agreement, please visit www.under2mou.org.
Statements From Signatories
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera:
“The fight against climate change will happen in cities. Mexico City joins the efforts of Mayors and local governments around the world with concrete actions that contribute to the significant reduction of pollutants in urban centers.”
Kathmandu Valley Development Authority Commissioner Yogeshwar K. Parajuli:
“As the Development Commissioner of Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA), I strongly believe that the ‘Under 2 MOU’ is in alignment with the development objectives of KVDA and its 20-Year Strategic Development Master Plan for Kathmandu Valley. KVDA takes this commitment very seriously.”
Gifu Prefecture Governor Hajime Furuta:
“Gifu Prefecture is rich in pristine water and widely spread forests, so we call here ‘The Land of Clear Waters.’ We are currently making great efforts to preserve our rich environment including countermeasures to global warming. We, Gifu Prefecture, are aware of the importance of the role of local governments for climate actions, therefore, we agree the initiative by Under2 signatories and we decided to participate in the MOU. We hope to contribute world climate actions with our partners.”
Ucayali Governor Manuel Gambini Rupay:
“Climate change is the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced, and its impacts can be devastating to the planet, therefore, we welcome the opportunity to sign the Under2MOU to join forces with other subnational government to address this monumental challenge.”
Guédiawaye-Dakar Mayor Aliou Sall:
“The U2MOU is more than a goal or a challenge. It is for us, Mayors and other local elected Executives all over the world, with the engagement of our populations, since now, a real construction site, on which we are working daily. We'll make it, successfully.”
Madeira Regional Government President Miguel Filipe Machado de Albuquerque:
“It is essential that the Autonomous Region of Madeira assume as an imperative to continue reducing its environmental footprint. Only through the preservation of the regional natural identity, especially susceptible to climate change, can its environmental differentiation in the world be maintained and the local economic and social sustainability potentiated. As so, by signing the Under 2 MoU, Madeira binds its intention to ensure all efforts to reduce its carbon emissions, in line with the ambitious and necessary objectives defined in the global context, and in anticipation to an universal climate commitment expected from COP21 (2015 Paris Climate Conference).”
Government of the Azores Autonomous Region President Vasco Alves Cordeiro:
“By subscribing the Under 2 MOU, the Azores signals and assumes a strong commitment towards international cooperation in the implementation and enforcement of measures that contribute to the preservation of our planet. At this important moment, and from the center of the Atlantic, the Azores position themselves, together with other subnational governments, at the forefront of this struggle, knowing that we can contribute to the sustainability of a environmentally better world, in which reduction of greenhouse gases assumes a fundamental challenge.”
Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources Minister J. Michael Miltenberger:
“The Government of the Northwest Territories is pleased to be a signatory to the Under 2 MOU as part of its commitment to work with other subnational governments to address global climate change. Many of the early impacts of climate change are already being experienced in the Northwest Territories (NWT), making this an especially important issue to all NWT residents. By agreeing to undertake the reductions outlined in the Under 2 MOU, the Government of the Northwest Territories is demonstrating its commitment to take action in our jurisdiction to contribute to global efforts in the fight against climate change. We look forward to working with other governments at COP21 in Paris as we move towards a binding international agreement to limit global warming impacts below 2°C.”
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson:
“Leading cities in Canada and around the world are taking action on climate change – and showing that we can reduce our climate pollution while growing our economies. Vancouver is committed to becoming the greenest city in the world, and we are proud to stand with other sub-national governments who are dedicated to addressing climate change.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee:
“San Francisco is proud to join cities and states from around the world that are taking decisive action to fight climate change. We already face unprecedented wildfires, droughts, rising sea levels, storms and flooding caused by climate change, which will only worsen unless the world acts now. San Francisco and others are leading the way by setting aggressive targets and implementing innovative solutions. We are showing that it is possible to reduce emissions while growing our economy, creating good paying jobs and improving the lives of our residents. As world leaders work to reach a meaningful global climate agreement in Paris, I hope they look to the successes of our cities and states for inspiration and resolve. The world cannot wait; we must take action collectively on climate change today.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Tony Lloyd:
“Every individual holds the answer to challenge climate change, but where cities hold the key is in structuring that. This MOU is answering a call across our globe for our cities and regions to step up and play their part.”
California's Response To Climate Change
As the clock ticks for national governments to reach a deal to reduce harmful emissions ahead of the conference in Paris, Governor Brown continues to focus on building and broadening collaboration amongst cities, states and provinces at the subnational level. In addition to action on the Under 2 MOU, the Governor traveled to the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada in July to call on the world's cities, states and provinces to join California in the fight. These efforts build 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.
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 consistent with California's existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050.
In his inaugural address 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.