Mayors, governors, elected officials and bosses from around the world meet in San Francisco on Wednesday for the first-ever Global Climate Summit which is expected to push world leaders to accelerate the fight against greenhouse gases under the agreement from Paris.
Paris, Bonn, Beijing, Cape Town, Mexico City, Tokyo, Indian cities, multiple regions of several continents as well as American cities and states ruled by Democrats will be represented at various levels during the three days of the summit, alongside bosses multinationals wanting to announce new “green” commitments: switch to clean electricity, develop electric cars, better insulate buildings, encourage recycling, limit deforestation …
The rally, which begins as Hurricane Florence threatens the country’s east coast, aims to demonstrate how model cities and regions can – partially – fill the gap left by nation-states.
For the United States, the second largest greenhouse gas emitter after China, the goal set by Barack Obama before Donald Trump decides the withdrawal of the Paris agreement will not be achieved, confirmed a much-awaited report and released Wednesday in San Francisco.
Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the United States are expected to have decreased by 17% in 2025 compared to 2005, well below the 26% reduction that Barack Obama had committed to, according to the report. study published by the coalition of states, cities and companies named America’s Pledge, chaired by billionaire Michael Bloomberg and California governor Jerry Brown.
But the thousands of delegates meeting in San Francisco see the glass half full against the denial of climate of President Trump.
“Businesses, states and local leaders have seized the leadership,” said Lou Leonard of the WWF environmental protection NGO. Even if “in fine, it will be necessary that the federal level catch up the delay”.
The world continues to dump too much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to limit the average increase in global temperature to 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial period, which is the goal of the agreement. Paris.
The Earth is already warmer by 1 ° C and, at this rate, the rise will reach + 3.2 ° C in 2100.
The United States and the European Union are certainly reducing their emissions, but not fast enough. China is rejecting more and more, as is Asia in general, which still relies heavily on fossil fuels.
All these countries are expected to increase their commitments in 2020, a milestone provided for by the Paris agreement. But negotiations seem deadlocked.
“If we do not change direction by 2020, we risk (…) disastrous consequences,” said Monday in an alarmist speech the head of the UN, Antonio Guterres.
The summit is hosted by Jerry Brown and co-chaired by several personalities including Michael Bloomberg, China’s climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua, and Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Jerry Brown and his predecessors have made California a showcase of what a federated state can do in the United States. It has just signed a law that 100% of California electricity will be renewable in 2045, the second US state to do after small Hawaii.
“I hope that France and Germany will also raise their ambitions because we all have to do more,” Jerry Brown told AFP.
At the global level, carbon emissions continue to rise. But a turning point is hoped for in the next decade.
Carbon Tracker analysts said in a report released on Tuesday that, thanks to the unbridled growth of solar and wind energy, the global peak in fossil fuel production – in other words, the beginning of the end – will come in around 2023 and, in any case, in the 2020s.
Daryl Polluck is the lead editor for Valley Post Express. Daryl has written for several online publications including the Huffington Post, Vanity Fair and Bleacher Report. Daryl is based in Los Angeles and covers issues affecting California. When he’s not busy writing, Daryl enjoys traveling and hiking.