More than 4,000 people gathered last week in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit. Convened by California’s Governor Jerry Brown and UN Special Envoy for climate action Michael Bloomberg, the Summit mobilized local, state, and business leaders to reaffirm their commitment to fight climate change.
“Today, we announce that this ‘bottom up’ movement will put us within striking distance of the US commitment to the Paris Agreement, even with zero support from our federal government,” said Bloomberg.
Joining with Brown and Bloomberg to honor the terms of the Paris Agreement are four hundred U.S. cities and seventeen state governments. Together, they represent the world’s third largest economy.
Summing up the Summit
These comments from the World Wildlife Foundation indicate Summit successes as reported in EcoWatch.
“The momentum toward bold action at the next round of UN climate talks accelerated this week. Scores of businesses and local governments stepped up to address the climate challenge. Now, national governments can arrive in Poland with the wind at their backs, giving them the courage to commit to even greater emissions reductions that move us closer to a 1.5-degree future.” —Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF and Summit Advisory Committee member
WWF-US’s Senior Vice President of Climate Change and Energy, said:
“This is the week local action delivered for global impact. It’s clear that local governments and private sector leaders are now driving the climate transition at a level that can keep US targets within reach. The actions of US business, mayors and governors are demonstrating to the rest of the world that despite Washington’s rhetoric, Americans still stand behind the promise of the Paris Agreement.”
Good News on Climate Action
During the Global Climate Action Summit, over 500 announcements from sub-national leaders captured the sense of momentum toward action. This resulted in billions of dollars in new commitments to fight climate change.
Exceeding Climate Change Goals
Twenty-seven of the world’s major cities with a combined population of 54 million people have already reached their goal of peak carbon emissions. This includes cities from Barcelona to New York, Paris to Sydney and London to Los Angeles
Over the last five years, these cities have demonstrated that even with increasing populations carbon emissions can decrease. They lowered their CO2 emissions on an average of 2% per year. (photo – Oaks Hotel)
Divesting from Fossil Fuels
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he remains committed to divesting $4 billion of the city’s pension fund away from fossil fuels. He will redirect these investments into climate change solutions.
“We’re taking a stand for generations to come with our goal to double our pension investments in job-creating climate solutions. I know that other cities will look to our example, and I implore them to join us.” –Bill de Blasio
Pacific Coast Renewable Energy Economy
California, Oregon, Washington, and the Canadian province of British Columbia, which includes cities from Los Angeles to Vancouver, jointly represent the world’s 5th largest economy.
This Pacific Coast Collaborative renewed their commitment towards a renewable energy economy. This will include reducing carbon emissions, developing sustainable regional transportation systems and reducing food waste 50% by 2030.
“We are building a thriving, innovative economy that combats climate change and embraces a zero-emission future. Our efforts aren’t just building a clean energy economy, they’re also creating great places to live. Our communities are growing healthier and more prosperous, and attractive to new businesses and workers,” said Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State.
Blue Ocean At the Summit
As Hurricane Florence was coming ashore in the Carolinas and Typhoon Mangkhut was approaching the Philippines, David Helvarg reports that these events gave a real sense of urgency to the Summit. David is an ocean activist, author, founder of the Blue Frontier Campaign and past Blue Ocean Summit Alumni, so we were eager to get his take on last week’s summit.
For Helvarg the summit did not disappoint, there were over 500 commitments by industry to “speed up the transition to carbon neutrality and to remediate the growing impacts of climate change.” One of the more impressive commitments came from “400 investors managing a total of $32 trillion (with a ‘t’) in assets that promised to ‘accelerate’ financial flows into climate action.”
David stressed that the trends are unmistakable. This was affirmed by John Kerry who said “last year, $300 billion was invested in alternative energy, surpassing fossil fuel for the first time.” Read David’s entire article in the Progressive.
The Sustainability Revolution
Ocean Country author, correspondent and Blue Ocean Alumni Liz Cunningham is also back from the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. She shared these thoughts with us.
“The summit made great strides forward in strengthening the global climate action coalition, producing tangible shifts in all sectors—energy, agriculture, conservation, manufacturing, social justice and social innovation. It fueled momentum for the even greater change that we will need. It was an invitation for all us to step up our own contributions to making that change…
It’s not unreasonable to think climate change is an insurmountable problem, but there are two things we need to remind ourselves of to carve a concrete path forward. We have an expanding global coalition that has set targets and is making steady headway towards them, despite fierce political opposition. And yes, the change required of us is on the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution. But the Sustainability Revolution is occurring with the speed of the digital revolution. We have the tools to make this shift. As more and more people, businesses, community groups, and governments get on board, the possibility of success grows…
“There’s no guarantee we will meet this challenge, but we have a fighting chance. And that fighting, resourceful spirit was evident everywhere at the summit.” Thanks Liz for your inspiring words.
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Launching its “Own Damn Satellite’
California Governor Jerry Brown, in reaction to cutbacks at the Federal level, repeated a pledge made two years ago, saying:
“With science still under attack and the climate threat growing, we’re launching our own damn satellite….It’s time to take this momentum back home…climate change waits for nobody. Let’s get to work.”
In his closing remarks at the Global Climate Action Summit, Brown announced a joint partnership with Planet, a satellite imagery company to create a satellite that will track pollution and destructive emissions with “pinpoint’ accuracy.
Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund added: “These satellite technologies…will make invisible pollution visible and generate the transparent, actionable data we need to protect our health, our environment and our economies.”
The EDF has launched its own satellite and will collaborate with California to form a Climate Data Partnership to ensure that collected data is widely accessible.
By Blue Ocean Network
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