Under2 Coalition Grows to More Than 200 Members Representing 1.3 Billion People, 40 Percent of World’s GDP


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BONN, Germany – On his final day at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23), Special Advisor for States and Regions Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that the Under2 Coalition – a pact of states, regions and countries committed to keeping the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – now includes 205 members in 43 countries, representing 1.3 billion people and $30 trillion in GDP.

“The announcement today is that we are over 200 strong and well over a billion people,” said Governor Brown. “This is big, but it’s not big enough – we have to have the whole world on board. This is the way the world will deal with this pollution where no one is in charge but everyone is responsible.”

Today’s event in the German Pavilion featured remarks from Germany’s top environmental official, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety Barbara Hendricks, and included a signing ceremony with representatives from Chile; Wallonia, Belgium; Attica, Greece; Azuay and Pastaza in Ecuador; and Caquetá, Colombia. New members La Réunion, France; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Ararat, Shirak and Kotayk in Armenia; Colima and Querétaro in Mexico; Amazonas and Huánuco in Peru; and Santa Fe, Argentina also joined the Under2 Coalition today. Members of the coalition, formed in 2015 ahead of COP21, pledge to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 2 tons per capita or 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Earlier this week in Bonn, Germany, Virginia joined the Under2 Coalition at a signing ceremony with Governor Terry McAuliffe

Governor Brown also met with China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua to discuss California’s cap-and-trade program – recently extended to 2030 – and China’s work to establish a new national program. Prior to the meeting, the Governor delivered opening remarks at the China Pavilion, where he joined top officials from China, Canada, the European Union and the World Bank for a day-long symposium on carbon markets and pricing.

“Carbon pollution is a common threat that binds America and Europe and China and India and Africa – all the countries of the world,” said Governor Brown. “If we rise to take on that common threat we will come closer together.”

Today’s event builds on previous exchanges with China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change in Paris at COP21 and in Beijing earlier this year during the Governor’s trip to China and meeting with President Xi.

Later, Governor Brown spoke about the importance of adopting zero-emission vehicles during a panel discussion with leaders from Norway, Canada and the Netherlands. The Governor continued the discussion in a meeting with State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands Stientje van Veldhoven.

Governor Brown also participated in an event hosted by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) focused on long-term climate and sustainability goals.

Yesterday in Bonn, the Governor joined members of the U.S. Climate Alliance and Canada and Mexico’s top climate representatives at COP23 to further collaboration and reaffirm North America’s commitment to climate action and the Paris Agreement. The Governor also delivered keynote remarks at the opening of UNFCCC high-level event on commitments from non-state actors; joined panel discussions on subnational climate action with environment officials from Canada and Mexico as well as with U.S. Climate Alliance governors and other climate leaders; and previewed next September’s 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in California.

Over the weekend, in Bonn, Governor Brown rallied city, state and regional leaders at the ICLEI climate summit, the largest gathering on global subnational climate action at COP23; joined fellow Pacific Coast Collaborative governors on a panel to discuss West Coast climate action; gave keynote remarks at a clean energy forum hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency; discussed further collaboration on climate action with the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia and with Germany’s State Secretary at the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; and joined Senator Ricardo Lara to accept the UN Environment Programme’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition award on behalf of California. Governor Brown also joined fellow America’s Pledge co-founder Michael Bloomberg to detail the efforts of America’s states, cities and businesses to meet the Paris Agreement and welcomed Virginia to the Under2 Coalition.

Last week in Oslo, Governor Brown met with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg and convened a first-of-its-kind meeting with representatives of the world’s leading independent national academies of science to review climate impacts and discuss how scientists and policymakers can more effectively translate research findings into meaningful action. In Brussels, Governor Brown delivered opening remarks at a high-level conference on clean energy organized by the European Parliament and European Commission, met with the president of the European Parliament and the European Union’s top representatives at COP23, joined members of the European Parliament’s top climate and environmental committee and the leaders of the Parliament’s political parties for an extensive discussion on opportunities for further collaboration on climate action, and highlighted California’s local and global efforts to fight climate change at an event organized by the German Marshall Fund. In Stuttgart, the Governor met with Under2 Coalition co-founder Baden- Württemberg’s Minister-President and delivered remarks before the state parliament. Governor Brown also delivered keynote remarks at a symposium on climate change hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican.

Photo captions:

1.) Governor Brown delivers remarks at Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance event.
2.) Governor Brown delivers remarks at World Wide Fund For Nature event.
3.) Front row, left to right: Pastaza Governor Antonio Kubes; Caquetá Secretary of Planning Óscar Peña; Azuay Vice-Prefect Maria Alvarado; Wallonia Minister of Budget, Finance, Energy, Climate and Airports Jean-Luc Crucke; Attica Vice-Governor of Environment and Climate Change Athanasios Anagnostopoulos; and Chile Minister of the Environment Marcelo Mena Carrasco. Second row, left to right: British Columbia Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman; The Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson; Governor Brown; Minister Hendricks; and Baden-Württemberg Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Franz Untersteller.
4.) Governor Brown meets with China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua.
5.) Governor Brown meets with Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven.
6.) Governor Brown addresses China Pavilion symposium on carbon markets and pricing.

Photo credit: Rosa Castañeda. For high-resolution copies of these photos, contact Danella Debel at Danella.Debel@gov.ca.gov.