Governor Brown on Two-Year Anniversary of Paris Agreement: “We Can’t Wait for the White House to Wake Up”


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PARIS – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., representing the United States – and states and regions leading on climate across the globe – joined the President of France, the United Nations Secretary-General, the World Bank President and other heads of state at the One Planet Summit today, the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

“We can’t wait for the White House to wake up,” said Governor Brown in keynote remarks on the acceleration of local and regional climate action. “We in America are operating from the grassroots – from the cities, from the states, from corporate leaders, from universities and from civil society.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Bloomberg also joined Governor Brown at the Summit, reaffirming America’s steadfast commitment to climate action, which France’s President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged in his opening remarks: “We have Mike Bloomberg, we have Governor Brown of California, they’ve said they’re going to stand in place of the American federal government – ‘states, cities, private sector players, we’re going to play a role ourselves.'”

Pointing to the state’s nearly year-round fire season – and the blazes still raging in Southern California – the Governor also sounded the alarm on the costly and destructive global impacts ahead unless we rapidly decarbonize.

“These fires, combined with the ones from just a few weeks ago in Northern California, add up to thousands of homes being burned and even people being killed because the fires move so fast,” said Governor Brown. “This is an example of what we can expect in the very near future.”

The Governor also discussed California’s upcoming Global Climate Action Summit – which will convene representatives from subnational governments, businesses, investors and civil society in San Francisco next year with the direct goal of supporting the Paris Agreement – and the growing role of non-state actors with Michael Bloomberg and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Earlier in the day, Governor Brown met with the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Hilda C. Heine on the impacts of climate change to island nations. At the invitation of the Governor, President Heine confirmed she will attend the Global Climate Action Summit in 2018, and committed to working with the Governor to drive stronger climate commitment and action by national governments.

California’s Climate Leadership

Governor Brown continues to build strong coalitions of partners committed to curbing carbon pollution in both the United States through the U.S. Climate Alliance and around the globe with the Under2 Coalition, which has grown to include 205 jurisdictions collectively representing more than 1.3 billion people and $30 trillion GDP – equivalent to 17 percent of the global population and 40 percent of the global economy. The Governor also joined Michael Bloomberg to launch America’s Pledge on climate change to help compile and quantify the actions of America’s businesses and non-federal jurisdictions to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Last month, the Governor – serving as Special Advisor for States and Regions – rallied city, state and regional leaders from around the world at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23). In Bonn, the Governor welcomed new members to the Under2 Coalition; joined America’s Pledge co-founder Michael Bloomberg to reaffirm the commitment of U.S. states, cities and businesses to the Paris Agreement; partnered with environmental officials from Canada and Mexico to advance North American climate action; discussed West Coast climate initiatives with Pacific Coast Collaborative governors; and delivered keynote remarks at the opening of a UNFCCC high-level event, the ICLEI climate summit and the IRENA clean energy forum. Last month, Governor Brown also discussed opportunities for further climate collaboration with top European Union, European Parliament and other officials in Brussels and Stuttgart; met with Norway’s Prime Minister and convened scientists from the world’s leading scientific academies in Oslo; and delivered keynote remarks for a climate symposium at the Vatican.

Earlier this year, Governor Brown traveled to China to build closer climate ties with President Xi Jinping, Russia to call for deeper trans-pacific collaboration on climate at the Eastern Economic Forum, Canada to officially link California’s carbon market with Quebec and Ontario and New York to discuss subnational climate action with the UN Secretary-General and open Climate Week NYC.

Photo captions:
1.) Governor Brown delivers remarks at One Planet Summit.
2.) Governor Brown delivers remarks at One Planet Summit.
3.) Governor Brown meets with Bloomberg (left) and Secretary-General Guterres (right).

Photo Credit: Allyson Kron, Bloomberg Philanthropies. For high resolution copies of these photos, please contact Danella Debel, Office of the Governor at