From 12-14 September the Global Climate Action summit took place in San Francisco. This was a time for focus and a place for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action on what is the most important challenge our species has ever faced. Hosted by Gov Jerry Brown it has indeed lived up to the vision that initiated it.
The Paris Climate agreement was a vital step, but could only ever be a beginning. That brought us national climate action plans from governments all around the planet. The problem is that it was never enough, and never could be enough, just a first step. The Paris agreement recognised that and so it also came with a commitment by national governments to review their progress and rachet up the ambition every five years. That next step is 2020, but we simply can’t wait until then, hence conferences such as the Global Climate Action summit become an essential step on the road.
Key Highlight-1: HIGH-LEVEL TALANOA ON “A RAPID TRANSITION TO NET-ZERO EMISSIONS SOCIETY”
Side Note: The word Talanoa is a traditional phrase used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good
Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji and COP23 President, and Jerry Brown, Governor of California, hosted a high-level Talanoa Dialogue on 12 September 2018 on the rapid transition to net-zero emission societies.
To reach a net-zero emissions society, we must move beyond a single company, a single sector or city, or a single country. Leaders from across the world must, within their constituencies and jurisdictions, listen to what science is saying, and translate a global vision into local action. They must make bold decisions, provide the necessary resources and motivate and mobilize the people they can influence to follow-through and deliver.
News Cycle Highlight: California to launch its ‘own damn satellite’ to track greenhouse gases
Gov. Jerry Brown announced plans for the satellite on the last day of a climate change summit hosted by San Francisco, in a final rebuke to President Donald Trump’s denial of man-made warming.
“With science still under attack,” Brown said “we’re going to launch our own satellite, our own damn satellite, to figure out where the pollution is.” Brown said the satellite will help pinpoint the source of planet-warming emissions.
California will team up with Planet Labs, a company run by ex-Nasa scientists. The data collected, including on carbon dioxide emissions and methane leaks from oil and gas operations, could be made public as part of a partnership with the advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund. The new project comes as Trump has proposed slashing Nasa climate research mission budgets. It is one of dozens of commitments of mixed significance unveiled by states, cities and businesses at the event.
Rather a lot came out, so much so that what is below simply skims the surface and does not truly encompass it all.
BOTTOM-UP U.S. CLIMATE REPORT “FULFILLING AMERICA’S PLEDGE” ILLUSTRATES PROGRESS TOWARDS PARIS AGREEMENT TARGET
Summit co-chairs Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg unveil a new report demonstrating how cities, states, and businesses can bring the U.S. within striking distance of its 2025 emissions reduction target in the absence of federal leadership.
GOVERNMENTS MUST AIM FOR NET ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS BEFORE 2050, SAY BUSINESS LEADERS
In a position statement, The Corporate Leaders Group called for governments to adopt strategies that:
Are consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and aim for net-zero emissions as early as possible in the second half of this century.
BANKS MOVE TOWARD BETTER QUANTIFICATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE RISK
Thanks to the efforts of a coalition of 16 global banks convened by the UN Environment Finance Initiative, the banking industry has made progress on the arduous task of assessing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Evaluating climate-related exposures in the banks’ corporate loan portfolios is necessary if they are to assess the creditworthiness of corporate borrowers and their strategies moving into what could be a period of unprecedented risk from the earth’s rising temperatures or from a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy.
NEW COLLABORATION OF TWENTY-ONE COMPANIES IS DEDICATED TO ACCELERATING CLIMATE ACTION USING THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY
twenty-one companies announce the launch of the Step Up Declaration, a new alliance dedicated to harnessing the power of emerging technologies and the fourth industrial revolution to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across all economic sectors and ensure a climate turning point by 2020.
INFLUENTIAL PRIVATE SECTOR COALITION TO HALT DEFORESTATION IN BRAZIL’S CERRADO REGION SEES RAPID GROWTH
At a session of the Global Climate Action Summit today it was revealed that investors managing over US$5.6 trillion in assets have now joined a coalition of large food companies to sign a Statement of Support for the Cerrado Manifesto. The coalition, launched in October 2017, is now the largest business group focused on halting forest conversion in the Cerrado, with over 100 signatories on the Statement of Support.
Coalition says stop deforestation
The statement calls for companies in the soy and meat value chain to adopt effective policies to stop further deforestation in Brazil’s Cerrado region.
27 CITIES HAVE REACHED PEAK GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS WHILST POPULATIONS INCREASE AND ECONOMIES GROW.
27 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 54 million urban citizens and $6 trillion in GDP have peaked their greenhouse gas emissions. New analysis reveals that the cities have seen emissions fall over a 5 year period, and are now at least 10% lower than their peak. City Halls around the world have achieved this crucial milestone, whilst population numbers have increased and city economies have grown. These 27 cities have continued to decrease emissions by an average of 2% per year since their peak, while populations grew by 1.4% per year, and their economies by 3% per year on average.
The cities are: Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Montréal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rome, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver, Warsaw, Washington D.C.
The world’s leading scientists have calculated that global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2020 at the latest and then come down very steeply. At present, global emissions are still rising. That is why it is so important that many of the world’s greatest cities are bucking the trend and showing that a low carbon world is possible.
MEXICO CITY SIGNS THE GREEN BOND PLEDGE FIRST LATAM CITY ANNOUNCES AT GCAS
Mexico City is the latest city to sign the Green Bond Pledge. The announcement will be made at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, by Mexico City’s Secretary of Environment, Tanya Müller García, during the High-Level Session ‘Local Climate Solutions: Financing the Transition’ on Thursday 13th September.
With a population of over 9 million, Mexico City is the largest municipal signatory to date and the commitment is a further example of CDMX’s leadership in climate action and green finance.
The Green Bond Pledge seeks to have cities, public authorities and world’s largest corporates commit to increased use of green bond finance to ensure new infrastructure meets the challenges of climate change, and is low carbon, adaptive and resilient and contributes to the accelerated low carbon transformation of the economy.
Signatories include the U.S. State Treasurers of California, New Mexico and Rhode Island, the Cities of Asheville and San Francisco – California, King County – Washington, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Australian pension fund Local Government Super (LGS), Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX), and financial firms Global New Energy Finance and R3 Returns.
CALL TO GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION
Delivering this future requires collaborative and transformative action at all levels and in all sectors of society. Recognizing this imperative, over 500 commitments were made at the Global Climate Action Summit. Our continued global leadership includes:
- Over 100 Mayors, state and regional leaders, and CEOs have committed to become emissions neutral by 2050 at the latest and in line with the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Agreement;
- 488 businesses will set science-based targets to ensure that they are part of the climate solution;
- More than 60 CEOs, state and regional leaders, and mayors are committed to delivering a 100% zero-emission transport future by 2030, putting us on an irreversible road towards decarbonization;
- 38 cities, major businesses, state and regional governments have committed to net-zero carbon buildings, cutting emissions equivalent to more than 50 coal-fired power stations;
- More than 100 indigenous groups, state and local governments, and businesses launched a forest, food and land-focused coalition to deliver 30% of climate solutions needed by 2030;
- Nearly 400 investors, with $32 trillion under management, will work to ensure a low-carbon transformation of the global economy with the urgency required to meet the challenge.
We dedicate our actions, commitments and determination to give national leaders the confidence and assurance needed to increase their ambition and accelerate climate action by 2020
REVAMPED UN CLIMATE ACTION PORTAL TO CAPTURE AND DRIVE CLIMATE ACTION
UN Climate Change is presenting a revamped version of its Climate Action Portal, featuring the accelerated action underway by cities, regions, companies and investors to achieve the collective goals of the Paris Agreement.
To view UN Climate Change’s Global Climate Action portal, please visit the following link: http://climateaction.unfccc.int/
POWERING PAST COAL ALLIANCE ANNOUNCES 10 NEW MEMBERS AT GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT
Members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance agree that phasing out unabated coal power is one of the most important steps governments can take to tackle climate change and meet our commitment to keep global temperature increase well below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.
Confirming their membership of the Powering Past Coal Alliance are:
– Australian Capital Territory, Australia
– Balearic Islands, Spain
– Connecticut, USA
– Hawaii, USA
– Minnesota, USA
– New York State, USA
– Wales, UK
– City of Honolulu, USA
– City of Los Angeles, USA
– City of Rotterdam, The Netherlands
PHILANTHROPIC COMMUNITY ANNOUNCES $4 BILLION COMMITMENT TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE
29 philanthropists pledged $4 billion over the next five years to combat climate change—the largest-ever philanthropic investment focused on climate change mitigation.
Huge thanks to @JerryBrownGov for convening this broad coalition of ministers, governors, mayors, and business leaders from around the world for #GCAS2018 to ensure that we increase our ambition and step up our commitments to the Paris Agreement.
— Al Gore (@algore) September 14, 2018
"Stop electing people who don't believe in science, or worse, pretend they don't to benefit their own self-interest." Harrison Ford at the Global Climate Action Summit. #GCAS2018 #StepUp2018 pic.twitter.com/0PKc80S35H
— Future Nostalgia Now (@NostalgiaNotes) September 13, 2018
China has a historic opportunity to contribute to global economic growth through low-carbon development and is demonstrating its commitment to do so at #GCAS2018. It’s bold domestic action is an incredibly important signal to the world for our need to lower emissions. #StepUp2018 pic.twitter.com/5h66yurZuc
— Al Gore (@algore) September 12, 2018
— The Center for Impact at CCA (@CenterImpactCCA) September 14, 2018
Having a hard time keeping up with all the great #ClimateAction announcments emerging from the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco? Keep track here: >> https://t.co/xRoW0ODy8d #GCAS2018 #StepUp2018 #ParisAgreement pic.twitter.com/RiMdoopF99
— UN Climate Change (@UNFCCC) September 14, 2018
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) September 12, 2018
— Rachel Ward (@RachelWard83) September 13, 2018
Zero-emission vehicles shined bright among all the climate solutions at the #GCAS2018. Here's our recap of the business and government announcements propelling the world toward all ZEVs: https://t.co/DYTG8BBMUQ There are 4 million ZEVs now — and far more are on the way! pic.twitter.com/BZKqbO3P9c
— ZEV Alliance (@ZEVAlliance) September 18, 2018
‘Major shift’: Nations face bottom-up pressure to act on climate changehttps://t.co/xAeu50ye2T
A California summit of business, city and state leaders ends with a call on national governments to increase their pledges to the Paris climate deal#GCAS2018. pic.twitter.com/U0bRK6wbs2
— Svein T veitdal (@tveitdal) September 15, 2018