U.S. Climate Alliance Provides Climate Leadership
On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the United Nations Paris Climate Accord, signifying a dramatic change in the nation’s approach to climate change and its effects on our natural resources, infrastructure, and public health. On the same day, California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee formed the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of states to address the existential threat of climate change. California and 14 other states have pledged to meet our share of the Paris Agreement greenhouse gas reduction targets and reduce GHG emissions by at least 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Former Secretary of State John Kerry, Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Photo by Nature Conservancy.
The Paris Agreement
On December 12, 2015, 196 nations adopted the Paris Agreement, a legally binding framework for an internationally coordinated effort to tackle climate change. The agreement establishes a goal to reduce global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius below pre-industrial averages. The goal is to balance GHG emissions with sequestration efforts resulting in a net reduction in emissions. Each participating nation submitted its own plan to help meet the agreement’s goals, to be reviewed and adjusted every five years as progress is made. The Paris Agreement emphasizes global progress and recognizes that each country has a unique starting point in its aim to combat climate change. Developed countries will lead the way and support developing countries in the effort.
Photo Credit 2 Executive Magazine
The U.S. Climate Alliance
California and other member states in the U.S. Climate Alliance are implementing policies to reduce carbon pollution and other GHGs, promote clean energy deployment, and track and report progress to the global community. In doing so, these states are growing clean energy economies, creating new jobs, protecting human health, and investing in resilient communities.
California Leading the Way
Governor Jerry Brown identified six climate strategy pillars spanning every sector of the economy from transportation to power to energy to land management. A few of the actions underway:
- California’s goal of 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2025 will significantly reduce pollution and GHGs.
- The state is working to decarbonize its electricity sector and reach a target of 50 percent renewable energy. Energy usage goals for new residential construction (zero net energy by 2020) and commercial construction (zero net by 2030) are in place.
- Innovative farm and ranch management practices are being promoted to build adequate organic matter in soil, increase carbon sequestration, and reduce overall GHGs.
California has several funding mechanisms to support strategies and technologies that drive emissions reductions. Known collectively as California Climate Investments and funded through a cap-and-trade program, the state has the only multi-sector GHG emissions trading system in the United States. California Climate Investments stimulates public and private sector investment in cleaner, more efficient technologies and industrial operations. Sixty percent of proceeds are allocated to public transit, affordable housing, sustainable communities, and high-speed rail.
CalRecycle’s own GHG reduction grant programs are funded by California Climate Investments, focusing on recycling of organics and other discards. Primary emphasis is on expanding infrastructure and local programs to divert organics from landfills, where such materials emit methane, a super-pollutant with a climate change impact 70 times greater than carbon dioxide. At a cost of about $4 per ton of GHG reductions, organics and other recycling is the most cost-effective among the state’s climate strategies.
By committing to ambitious efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, California and its partner states in the U.S. Climate Alliance are determined to reverse the effects of climate change. Learn at the U.S. Climate Alliance website, including California’s specific plan to meet the Paris Agreement targets.