California Governor and International Government Leaders Sign Ambitious Climate Agreement

Statement by Adrienne Alvord, California and Western States Director

Published May 19, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (May 19, 2015) — California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and the leaders of a dozen North American, South American and European governments that together represent 100 million people agreed to take joint action to dramatically reduce their global warming emissions.

The 12 initial signers of the “Under 2 MOU” agreement today include California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington; British Columbia and Ontario, Canada; the Brazilian state of Acre; Baden-Württemberg in Germany; Jalisco and Baja California, Mexico; Catalonia, Spain; and the country of Wales. More governments are expected to join in the coming months leading up to the United Nations climate conference in Paris in December.

The leaders agreed to promote policies that would either reduce total emissions by 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or achieve a per-capita annual emissions target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050. The goals are designed to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels—a goal that the world’s scientists say is necessary to avert runaway climate change.

Below is a statement from Adrienne Alvord:

“This international agreement comes at a critical time as countries all over the world negotiate an agreement this year to reduce greenhouse gases that are driving a climate crisis. It serves as an urgent call to action in our fight against global warming.

“In the absence of any action by Congress, California is proving that it’s possible to implement policies to reduce harmful emissions while also growing a prosperous economy that is now the seventh largest in the world. Today’s pact between California and other leaders from around the globe should finally silence those critics of the state’s ambitious climate policies who have argued that it’s better to do nothing than serve as pioneers in fighting carbon pollution.

“Every step of the way, Gov. Brown has listened to the scientific evidence of what we must do to prevent the most catastrophic disruptions to our climate and taken necessary action. The Union of Concerned Scientists calls on other cities, states and countries to follow California’s lead and continue the momentum towards achieving a low-carbon future that will benefit us all.”