California Will Hold Its Own Global Climate Summit With Or Without Trump
As world leaders head to Germany for the G-20 summit to consider a recommitment to fighting climate change, among other things, there's one potential naysayer who many have been worried about: President Trump. But it looks like there's another American politician who is looking to take up the mantle in the fight against global warming, and he comes from the world's sixth-largest economy. California Gov. Jerry Brown will call for a global climate summit in San Francisco in 2018 on Thursday night. The event will work to unite those who support greenhouse gas reductions at the local and regional level.
Brown will make the announcement at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany, via video, the New York Times first reported. The festival is organized with music groups like Coldplay to bring citizens together before the G-20 to help pressure governments to battle poverty and inequality, things that climate change will only worsen. In his announcement, Brown will speak to those in the audience:
It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change. That is why we’re having the Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 2018.
California is one of many states around the world to sign onto the Under2 Coalition, a group that is working to limit carbon dioxide two metric tons per person by 2050. The group said Wednesday it is important to "recognize the role of sub-national governments, states, regions, cities, in leading and delivering on climate action." California alone could have a real impact on U.S. climate policy, given its size and industry.
Brown will make a similar point about the state's ability to progress without Washington in his remarks:
Yes, I know President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris Agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America. We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done.
Political will has been growing for some time on the issue. At the beginning of June, state senators sent a letter to Gov. Brown asking him to convene a climate summit. They've pushed for California to work with Mexico and Canada, as well as the other regional governments that have taken part in the Under2 Coalition.
None of this is supposedly meant to antagonize Trump, though. "No nation or state is doing what they should be doing. This is damn serious, and most people are taking it far too lightly than the reality of the threat. You can’t do too much to sound the alarm because so far the response is not adequate to the challenge," Brown will say in the announcement.
Even if it's not meant to antagonize, there's always hope it will send him a message to reverse track and commit to the Paris agreement. Either way, it can be discussed in San Francisco next year.