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‘We’re not small potatoes’: California leads US to uphold Paris climate agreement
Chikezie OMEJE writes from San Francisco, USA.
AFTER more than one year that Donald Trump, the United States President, had announced the withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate agreement, Jerry Brown, the governor of California, is leading other states in the country to uphold the US commitment to the Paris Agreement.
Speaking at the China Pavilion on Wednesday at the on-going Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Brown said although California is just a state in the United States, its economy has placed it in a position to play a big role in combating climate change.
He said without California, United States will not be the largest economy in the world, adding that with an economy of 2.8 trillion dollars, the state is the fifth largest economy in the world.
“We’re not small potatoes. We’re big,” Brown said. “So what we do, counts.”
Brown, who is the longest serving governor of California, said he had already signed an executive order on Tuesday which commits the state to zero carbon emissions by 2045.
He said the whole world must collaborate on climate action because “we are equally threatened by climate change”.
It is not just California that is taking a different stand from the US government but also about 16 other states and more than 3,000 cities as well as businesses and other groups in the country. This movement to uphold the US commitment to the Paris Agreement is coming under an initiative known as the America’s Pledge. They are estimated to represent more than a half of the US population and form the third largest economy in the world.
While the America’s Pledge is forging ahead on cutting greenhouse emissions, it remains to be seen how they will fulfil the US commitment to the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries to invest in renewable energy and adapt to climate change.
Meanwhile, Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change, said China has been active in global climate governance and has become a contributor as well as a leader in global action on climate change.
“After the Paris summit, we are witnessing actions taken by subnational governments and they have become a major force in climate action,” Zhehua said. “This Global Climate Action Summit, organised by California government has proved to us that subnational government can be the leader of climate change actions.”