Ambitious climate summit gets underway in San Francisco

More than 20 indigenous leaders and supporters gather to create a "Solar Hummingbird" human installation Sunday near San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to produce a visual message calling for climate justice and indigenous rights.
(Lou Dematteis / Associated Press)

As Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious climate summit got underway Wednesday in San Francisco, dozens of political leaders from around the world gathered to step up efforts to cut carbon emissions linked to global warming.

They met as part of the Under2 Coalition, a worldwide collection of states, cities and regional governments that have pledged to do their part to help meet the goals set in the landmark 2016 Paris agreement on climate change despite opposition from the White House.

Members of the Under2 Coalition signed an agreement vowing to limit greenhouse gases to the levels needed to keep the rise in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius.


There are 222 governments in the coalition, which its leader says covers more than 43% of the global economy and 1.3 billion people. The attendees Wednesday included 72 premiers, governors and other senior leaders.

“It is fitting that the largest global gathering of states and regions on climate is happening in California,” said Tim Ash Vie, the coalition director. “These governments are increasingly going to be at the forefront of achieving the Paris agreement over the next three decades.”

In addition to making pledges toward future action, members of the organization collaborate on plans to reduce carbon emissions and monitor the progress they’ve made so far.

At the meeting, the Norwegian government announced it is providing funding to help emerging economies cut their production of greenhouse gases. The German government recently pledged to help the coalition set up a system for assessing the progress its members are making.

Brown, who co-chairs the coalition, vowed in a statement that it will continue to grow in size and ambition.

“We’re not slowing down,” he said.

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