Guest Blogger Ken Alex: California’s Global Climate Action Summit, September 12-14, 2018

The Final Post in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the final post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.]

Under the Paris Agreement, countries must evaluate progress towards their nationally determined commitments to reduce emissions every five years, as well as progress towards the goal of limiting warming to significantly below 2 degrees Celsius.  This is called (in UN-speak) “the global stocktake.”  The first opportunity for this exercise will take place next December at the 24th Conference of the Parties in Katowice, Poland.

In light of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and broader concern about insufficient ambition of the international community, “non-state actors”(another UN-speak term, referring to entities that are not countries, including states, provinces, cities, businesses, NGOs) need to make their voices heard.

With that backdrop, California will host the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on September 12-14, 2018.  The Summit will be chaired by Jerry Brown, Mike Bloomberg, Patricia Espinosa (Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change) and Anand Mahindra (chair of the Mahindra Group in India).  Before the UN stocktake, states, cities, NGOs, students, businesses, investors, and other parts of civil society from around the world will provide their own “stocktake” – a presentation of all of the actions in progress, investments, successes, and pathways to greater emission reduction.

While those who work on these issues daily have a sense of the level and extent of action taking place on climate around the world, very few others, including politicians, business leaders, and civil society understand the progress being made and the commitments that already exist.  The Summit will be designed to get that message out, and to engage people who have remained on the sidelines.

California’s actions and commitments will be, literally, on center stage.  Let’s make sure that the world continues to take note and takes action.

Ken Alex is the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and serves as Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown and the Chair of the Strategic Growth Council.

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