Governor Brown at World Economic Forum Summit: “Climate Change Does Not Recognize Sovereignty”

Photo: World Economic Forum/Ben Hider.

NEW YORK September 26, 2018 – A stone’s throw from the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, where President Donald Trump continued his push for further American isolation, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called for greater global collaboration on climate change in remarks at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit, and during meetings with top climate officials from the United Nations and France.

“Climate change does not recognize sovereignty, it occurs globally,” said Governor Brown. “It’s time for all hands on deck. The world has to collaborate.”

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The Sustainable Development Impact Summit, hosted by the World Economic Forum, convened heads of state and hundreds of top business, government, civil society and academic leaders from more than 70 countries to shape an agenda for climate action and serve as a platform to harness cutting-edge scientific, technological and digital innovations.

Prior to his remarks at the Summit today, the Governor met with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and France’s Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition François de Rugy.

Governor Brown helped kick off Climate Week NYC yesterday – alongside UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa and heads of state including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Peru President Martín Vizcarra and Republic of Haiti President Jovenel Moïse – calling for accelerated climate action at all levels and sectors of society in remarks at the opening ceremony.

Climate Week NYC, hosted by The Climate Group, builds on the wave of new climate action – including hundreds of new commitments – from grassroots activists, mayors, governors, heads of industry and nonprofits and other climate leaders from around the world at the Global Climate Action Summit.

Ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, 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. The Governor 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.

Governor Brown served as co-chair of the Global Climate Action Summit, during which he announced that the state is teaming up with Planet Labs to develop a satellite that will track climate change-causing pollutants with unprecedented precision and enable more targeted mitigation measures worldwide. Governor Brown also signed a raft of measures to promote zero-emission vehicles and reduce carbon emissions; released a new report quantifying non-federal climate action in the U.S.; joined fellow U.S. Climate Alliance governors to announce a range of new commitments; met with Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, Mexico’s Deputy Minister for International Affairs Enrique Lendo Fuentes and others to advance a framework for ambitious climate action across North America; and participated in a ministerial dialogue with heads of state and international climate leaders, including European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete. Governor Brown and Commissioner Cañete also reiterated their commitment to greater alignment of California and EU carbon markets.

In addition, Governor Brown signed an agreement to enhance climate and clean energy cooperation with China, met with the Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province and joined leaders, including former Vice President Al Gore and China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Minister Xie Zhenhua, for a U.S.-China subnational climate dialogue. The Governor held discussions with Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force members and indigenous community leaders; joined a signing ceremony for 16 new Under2 Coalition members; participated in an event to support the Talanoa Dialogue; and 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.

California’s Leadership on Climate Change

California continues to lead the world in adopting innovative policies to fight climate change. 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 wildfire, 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, including the Under2 Coalition, an international pact of 222 total jurisdictions on 6 continents committed to limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. Coalition members collectively represent 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. Governor Brown also partnered with Michael Bloomberg to launch America’s Pledge, an initiative to quantify non-federal action in the U.S. to drive down emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and helped form the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance – which now includes 17 U.S. states 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.

California and 17 other states collectively representing more than 40 percent of the U.S. car market sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year 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.