Challenging his global counterparts to fill the void left by President Donald Trump, Gov. Jerry Brown will convene the world’s climate leaders for an unprecedented summit next year in San Francisco.
Brown, who recently returned from climate talks in China, delivered his invitation to the September 2018 Climate Action Summit via video message Thursday at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany.
The event, on the eve of the G20 Summit attended by Trump and the heads of the world’s 20 largest economic powers, featured remarks by the prime ministers of Canada, Argentina and Norway.
“Come join us – entrepreneurs, singers, musicians, mathematicians, professors, students – we need people that represent the whole world because this is about the whole world and the people who live here,” said Brown, the newly named special adviser for states and regions for the November climate conference in Bonn, Germany.
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“Yes, I know President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris Agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America. We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done.”
The summit in San Francisco, coming ahead of the 24th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poland, will represent the first time a state has hosted an international climate change conference supporting the Paris accords.
Brown’s summons follows months of discussions between the governor and U.N. climate officials following the climate conference in Paris, which he attended.
“The growing threat of climate change demands an immediate and unified global response,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who had joined in calling for him to assemble world leaders. “California remains committed to a clean energy future and we welcome the responsibility to lead on America’s behalf.”
The announcement comes amid a flurry of climate-focused activity by the four-term Democrat, who is using his remaining months in office to draw deepening contrasts with Trump and the federal government on the need to act swiftly on climate change.
Last month, Brown savaged Trump’s decision to vacate the Paris climate accord as “insane” and “deviant” before joining with like-minded governors from around the country to form an alliance to uphold the agreement and pursue immediate action on climate change.
“Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course. California’s economy and America’s economy are boosted by following the Paris Agreement,” Brown said after Trump’s withdrawal from a pact with nearly 200 counties, putting the U.S. in the company of Syria and Nicaragua. “California will resist because his effort is misguided. I would even say this is an insane move.”
Recently, Brown joined the leaders of Baden-Württemberg, Catalonia and South Australia in urging the G20 to reaffirm its support for carrying out the Paris accords, as well as to recognize the role of states, regions and cities in tackling the climate challenge. At the state Capitol, he is in the middle of difficult negotiations with the Democratic-dominated Legislature to extend the cap-and-trade system, which is seen as central to meeting the state’s ambitious greenhouse-gas reduction goals.