A major global summit ended on Friday in this California city with delegates calling on national governments to join forces to step up climate action ahead of 2020, the year when global greenhouse gases need to peak and fall sharply thereafter to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The meeting of leaders from states and regions, cities, business, investors and civil society at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), an initiative by California Governor Jerry Brown, underlined the transformational action they are already pursuing.
The summit also showcased how leaders in the US were finding ways to move climate action forward despite the best efforts by the Trump administration withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement and the tensions over trade between US and China.
“There is now a shift in the focus. China and California are directly talking to each other and with California, on its own, being the fifth largest economy of the world is not a small deal,” a US climate expert told IANS.
Over 100 leaders, for example, are now committed to carbon neutrality or removing as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they emit with the Governor of California bringing the date forward for his state achieving this to 2045. Leaders also unveiled a range of bold new commitments across five specific challenge areas aimed at taking their collective ambition to the next level.
These are aimed at avoiding risks and seizing the opportunities outlined in a suite of reports, including the new Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century by the New Climate Economy.
It finds that a stepped-up transition to a low-carbon economy can result in $26 trillion in economic benefits worldwide through 2030. Generate over 65 million new low-carbon jobs in 2030, equivalent to today’s entire workforces of Britain and Egypt combined.
Governor Brown and a summit co-chair said: “Now it’s time to take this momentum back home.
Climate change waits for nobody. Let’s get to work.” In the healthy energy systems, an alliance of more than 60 state/regional, city governments and multinational businesses are now committed to a 100 per cent zero emission targets through the ZEV Challenge.