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California governor further extends int'l outreach on climate action

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-10 20:19

SAN FRANCISCO - Governor Jerry Brown of US state of California met Friday in San Francisco visiting German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, hours after returning from a climate mission to China, and continued his international outreach on climate action.

"China and Germany - two of the most powerful countries in the world - are working with California and with other states to deal with climate change," Brown said, noting that "the current withdrawal from the Paris Agreement by the Washington administration is being overcome and countermanded by people throughout the whole world."

"Together with California, Germany will provide strong leadership for the Under2 Coalition in the COP23 in Bonn this November," Hendricks said.

"The United States' withdrawal from the Paris Agreement," Hendricks noted, "underscores the significance of subnational actors in particular in our joint efforts to achieve the overall objective and goals."

Under2 Coalition is a diverse group of cities, states or provinces, and countries around the world who set ambitious targets to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, while the COP23 refers to the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Paris Agreement, which builds upon the UNFCCC, is a document adopted at climate change talks in Paris, France, on Dec. 12, 2015, which calls on all nations to respond to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, or further to 1.5 degrees.

It now has been signed by 197 parties worldwide and ratified by 148 of them.

The Under2 Coalition was formed in 2015 by California and the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg to help galvanize subnational action in the same direction.

The alliance includes 175 jurisdictions on six continents representing more than 35 countries and regions, 1.2 billion people and 28.8 trillion US dollars gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to over 16 percent of the global population and over 39 percent of the global economy.

It currently includes 18 US jurisdictions representing 89 million people or 28 percent of the US population.

After their meeting in San Francisco, the German minister and California governor issued a joint statement on climate cooperation, emphasizing that climate change action is not only a necessity but also an opportunity for economic growth.

Brown flew to China last weekend, where he met Chinese President Xi Jinping, and expanded the Golden State's long-standing climate and clean energy ties with China through a series of bilateral meetings, and agreements signed with China's central government as well as Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces respectively.

Last week, a day before his departure to China, in response to US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Brown joined New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee to form the US Climate Alliance.

The US alliance now has included 13 US states committed to achieving the US goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels, which complements the goals of the Under2 Coalition.

Before his trip to China, Brown told Xinhua about his sense of urgency for action against climate change, saying "it is urgent. It is urgent because what we do today will create irreversible consequences in the years ahead. Time is running out. This is very serious."

About his international outreach efforts, Brown said: "We need to collaborate. It is not about one nation being the winner. It is about all nations dealing with the common threat. This is mutually beneficial. You have to think one world, not this country fighting that country."

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