By Amy Quirk, California Interfaith Power & Light Supporter
California, a world-class economy and environmental leader, continues to innovate at COP28.
Technically, the “parties” negotiating at each Conference of the Parties are national governments, so the State of California participates at the subnational level to have an impact.
For example, California officially announced the creation of The Subnational Methane Action Coalition on December 3, 2023, in Dubai. The founding signatories, including jurisdictions in Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, and India, had registered their commitment in September to reduce methane. By the formal December 3rd announcement, there were new coalition members from other regions of Brazil and the United States and from Canada, South Korea, Bolivia, Germany, and Spain.
This coalition is globally significant. It coordinates the work of jurisdictions responsible for overseeing and regulating methane sources, such as those in agriculture, energy, and landfills. The agreement is “to share goals and best practices in reducing the short-lived climate pollutant that accounts for almost 30% of current global warming and is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period”.
Since city and state governments actually implement many climate change commitments, such as those in the Paris Agreement, subnational collaborations became critical when former President Trump withdrew the national government from the treaty in November 2020.
Although President Biden eventually reversed the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, in the interim, California became a founding member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, formed in 2017 to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The Alliance is a “bipartisan coalition of 25 governors securing America’s net-zero future by advancing state-led, high-impact climate action.”. California continues to participate domestically in the Alliance for impact internationally.
California’s leadership in these subnational collaborations influenced a historic development in Dubai, The COP28 Local Climate Action Summit. It is a “first-of-its-kind” summit “in recognition of the critical role local leaders play in reducing emissions, addressing climate risk, and supercharging national efforts to move further and faster on climate progress.”
There is so much more to learn about California’s work in Dubai. The State of California’s Delegation to COP28 is posting updates the California Interfaith Power & Light community may access here:
Wade Crowfoot (@WadeCrowfoot), Secretary – California Natural Resources Agency
David Hochschild (@ChairHochschild), Chair California Energy Commission
Karen Ross (@agsecross), Secretary, California Department of Food & Agriculture
Christina Snider-Ashtari (@CATribalAffairs), Secretary, Governor’s Office of Tribal Affairs
Lauren Sanchez (@lsanchez020), Senior Environmental Advisor, Office of Governor Newsom