30 global leaders sign declaration before next climate agreement

02 Oct 2009

Agreements reached at Summit send powerful message to negotiators in Copenhagen

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and United Nations officials today joined with 30 global leaders in Los Angeles, at the closing ceremony of the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2 to sign a declaration committing to work together to pursue clean transportation and mobility, support national climate change legislation, include forests in climate policy development, acknowledge the need for adaptation efforts and recognize the role of subnational governments in the discussions on the next global climate agreement being negotiated in Copenhagen this December.

“Addressing the problems caused by climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our time and at this summit we heard leaders and experts from around the globe discuss the innovative steps and strategies being championed in the fight against global warming,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “We have deepened our partnerships and renewed our commitment to work collaboratively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a cleaner planet and stronger economy for the next generation. In signing this declaration we are sending a powerful message to the national leaders negotiating the next global climate agreement that we are ready for action. The time to act is now.”

“The Governors’ Global Climate Summit clearly demonstrated the key role local and state governments can play in addressing climate change. The summit also illustrated that action is needed at all levels - and in partnership with the private sector and civil society - if we are to move forward this defining issue of our time,” said Amy Fraenkel, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Regional Office for North America. “Collaboration is at the heart of the United Nations’ work and UNEP looks forward to working with the many partners that were here in Los Angeles.”

“This summit confirmed that there are solutions to the climate challenge and regions are definitely a part of those solutions,” said Olav Kjorven, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and director of policy at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “I’m delighted to see how regions are exploring the ways they can address climate change. This is the can-do spirit we need to seal the deal in Copenhagen. At UNDP, we will step up our work with regions and national governments on planning, financing and implementing the foundations of a low carbon and poverty-free future.”

The declaration reaffirms and builds upon the goals of last year’s Governors’ Global Climate Summit. Leaders who signed the declaration are acknowledging the need for greater efforts to collaborate on climate change solutions and support the recognition of the role of subnational governments in the fight against global warming. They are also renewing their commitments to promote policies that reduce greenhouse gases and implement strategies to grow their green economies. The declaration also helps set the stage for the upcoming negotiations in Copenhagen, demonstrating the significant work already underway at the grassroots level to respond to the global climate challenge.

California’s advocacy for progressive states and provinces led to the drafting of language recognizing the important role of subnational governments. The term “subnational” is now referenced more than 100 times in the official negotiating text for Copenhagen as a result of the partnerships created and strengthened at the summit. Up to 50 to 80 percent of actions needed to reach the UN climate goals will be implemented at the state and local levels.

The following global leaders signed today’s declaration: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, USA; Governor David Paterson, New York, USA; Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, USA; Governor Jennifer Granholm, Michigan, USA; Governor Jodi Rell, Connecticut, USA; Governor John Baldacci, Maine, USA; Governor John P. de Jough Jr., U.S. Virgin Islands, USA; Governor Mark Parkinson, Kansas, USA; Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois, USA; Governor Theodore (Ted) Kulongski, Oregon, USA; Governor Tim Kaine, Virginia, USA; Governor Bill Richardson, New Mexico, USA; Governor Martin O'Malley, Maryland, USA; Governor John Lynch, New Hampshire, USA; Minister Rick Miles Department of the Environment, New Brunswick, Canada; Premier Gary Doer, Manitoba, Canada; Premier Jean Charest, Québec, Canada; Premier Danny Williams, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada; Premier Dalton McGuinty, Ontario, Canada; Premier Darrell Dexter, Nova Scotia, Canada; Premier Gordon Campbell, British Columbia, Canada; Premier Shawn Graham, New Brunswick, Canada; Governor Antônio Waldez Góes da Silva, Amapá, Brazil; Governor Carlos Eduardo de Souza Braga, Amazonas, Brazil; Governor Arnóbio Marques de Almeida Júnior, Acre, Brazil; Governor Blairo Maggi, Mato Grosso, Brazil; Governor Ana Júla de Vasconcelos Carepa, Pará, Brazil; Honorable Peter Beattie, Premier of Queensland, Australia (1998-2007, Queensland Commissioner for the Americas); Honorable Gavin Jennings, Minister for Environment & Climate Change, State government of Victoria, Australia; Minister of the Environment and Landscape Planning, Cherif Rahmani Republic of Algeria; Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Nicholas Berlakovich, Austria; Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, United Kingdom; President National Institute of Ecology, Dr. Adrián Fernandez, Mexico – United Mexican States; Governor Fernando Eutimio Ortega Barnés, Campeche, Mexico - United Mexican States; Governor Irwandi Yusuf, Aceh, Indonesia; Minister of Environment, Elaine Taylor,Yukon; Christian Guyonvarc'h, Vice President of the Regional Government of Brittany, Brittany Region of France; President of Region Fatick, Senegal, Coumba Ndoffène Diouf; Minister of Environment, Sustainability and Housing Jane Davidson, Welsh, Britain; Governor Barnabas Suebu of Papua, Indonesia; Governor Kim Moon-soo of Gyeonggi Province, South Korea; Mayor Boris Johnson, London, England; Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard, Copenhagen, Denmark; President of Lombardy Regional Administration, Roberto Formigoni, Italy; Governor Salvacion Z. Perez, Antique, Philippines; Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola [SAN], State of Lagos, Nigeria; Toronto, Mayor David Miller, Canada; Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, State of Delta, Nigeria; Donetsk Regional Council Chairman Anatoly Blizniuk, Ukraine; Governor Fauzi Bowo, Jakarta, Indonesia; UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China Khalid Malik; Director and Regional Representative, Amy Fraenkel, United Nations Environmental Programme, Regional Office for North America; Assistant Secretary-General for United Nations and Policy Director Olav Kjørven, United Nations Development Programme; and Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Honorary Witness.

Earlier today at the summit, Governor Schwarzenegger also signed a Statement of Intent with the UNDP, stating that California will work with African nations to share successful policies on energy efficiency, low carbon fuels and other clean technology in the fight against climate change.

African leaders at the summit announced a new continent-wide effort, called “A New Green Deal for Africa.” African nations are some of the least responsible for climate change, but they are some of the most vulnerable to its devastating impacts and least able to adapt. The Statement of Intent will support this effort under the current framework of the territorial approach to climate change. This effort is important because Africa has the opportunity to implement low carbon development strategies from the beginning – to grow green from the start.

The Governor also signed an agreement with Governor Luo Zhijun of the Jiangsu Province of the People’s Republic of China to form a partnership that will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen government support for renewable energy and technological cooperation, increase energy security, promote economic activity and advance environmental sustainability. This state-to-province partnership is China’s first-ever subnational agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, the Governors Climate and Forestry Task Force which was initiated at last year’s summit signed a letter addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama, Republic of Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da calling for international leadership to reduce forestry-related greenhouse gas emissions. In the letter, the governors emphasized the critical importance of including forests and reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation in international climate policy. The task force includes representatives from U.S., Brazil and Indonesia which represents over 50% of the world's tropical forests.

For more information, or to view webcasting of all events, go to www.governorsglobalclimatesummit.org.

Text of the declaration:

The magnitude and urgency of the challenges in stabilizing and reducing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change will require an unprecedented level of cooperation and collaboration among all levels of government around the world. We recognize the need to both reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and to adapt to current and future impacts of climate change.

We also recognize that our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change can strengthen global, national and subnational economies. These efforts enhance energy security, increase energy efficiency and create new industries and good jobs that stimulate diverse, decentralized and sustainable economic activity.

Affirmation of the Goals of the 2008 Global Climate Solutions Declaration

On November 19, 2008, thirty-one international representatives signed the Global Climate Solutions Declaration in Los Angeles, California. The Declaration focused on fostering collaborative subnational efforts to address climate change by:

• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in sectors with a high potential for environmental and economic benefits;

• Undertaking actions that are most suited to providing mutually beneficial outcomes to the signatories;

• Pursuing opportunities that complement existing efforts;

• Scaling up investments in climate-friendly technologies and strategies;

• Growing economies and enhancing overall quality of life through technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

• Focusing on research, development and deployment activities;

• Fostering exchanges between researchers, educators and students; and

• Accelerating capacity building for monitoring and reporting programs.

Today, October 2, 2009, we affirm our commitment to the goals and principles of the 2008 Global Climate Solutions Declaration and further affirm:

Pursuit of Clean Transportation and Mobility

Transportation is one of the largest and fastest growing contributors to worldwide climate change emissions. Action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector is needed at both the national and subnational levels, including:

• Widespread development and use of zero and near-zero emitting vehicles and fuels to achieve the scale of greenhouse gas emissions reductions necessary and to ensure stability of the transportation fuels supply.

• A comprehensive policy approach that recognizes the interrelationship between vehicles and fuels, the benefits of complementary market-based and standards-based approaches and the importance of public education and outreach to help ensure informed vehicle purchase decisions.

• Land use and transportation planning and financing that increases mobility choice and reduces emissions by providing a balance between housing, employment and services and enables widespread access to transit, biking and walking infrastructure.

• Research, development and deployment activities that are prioritized to meet the near-and long-term need for cleaner and more efficient transportation technologies.

We support the above strategies to address greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. We believe that transportation systems and technologies must be designed and implemented in ways that enhance mobility while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Support for National Climate Change Legislation

Efforts of national governments to address climate change are important in guiding global consensus to act. Recognizing the concept of differentiated responsibility, strong national policies are crucial to coordinated global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. We support efforts throughout the world to enact national legislation that addresses climate change.

Developed countries must take strong steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and provide examples of global leadership. We believe that the United States must enact comprehensive climate change legislation during the current session of the U.S. Congress in order to put the world on a path to greenhouse gas stabilization.

Inclusion of Forests in Climate Policy

Deforestation accounts for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector, but was excluded from the Kyoto Protocol. Actions to protect and restore forests must be a key component of climate protection. We therefore call upon all governments to advocate for the inclusion of mechanisms, such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, within the global framework for combating climate change.

Need for Adaptation Efforts

Climate change is an immediate and long-term threat. Right now, climate change is affecting our food and water quality and supply, human health and well-being and our valuable natural resources. The impacts of climate change are being felt in our cities, provinces, states, regions and nations. The most vulnerable of our people are often the most adversely impacted.

The breadth and severity of impacts from climate change will continue for decades, even if our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were to be fully implemented tomorrow. The longer we wait to respond, the more difficult and costly it will be.

We support collaborative efforts to adapt to climate change including:

• Sharing plans to help people and nature survive the unavoidable adverse impacts of climate change;

• Advocating for a comprehensive role for adaptation in international climate policy under development by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);

• Developing ecosystem-based adaptation strategies that increase resilience and protect natural resources that sustain life on earth; and

• Implementing comprehensive state and local adaptation policies and programs that protect the most at-risk individuals.

Recognition of the Role of Sub-National Governments

Current global efforts to address climate change focus on the ongoing negotiations under the UNFCCC. We recognize the important role of subnational governments in addressing the global challenges associated with climate change. We embrace the overarching principles of subnational engagement and support for the efforts of national governments which include:

• Developing a shared vision for global security and prosperity;

• Pursuing adaptation strategies to address current and future climate change;

• Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions;

• Supporting the use of finance mechanisms to address global warming; and

• Promoting technology transfer and capacity building agreements.

In the spirit of common and differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, we agree to work together in solidarity as cities, provinces, states and regions and nations in developed and developing countries to craft our environmental, economic and social development policies. We agree to consider the impacts of climate change in our economic and social development policies.

We agree to rely on a territorial approach, which is a coordinated and collaborative approach within subnations and regions that is intended to increase effectiveness in combating and adapting to climate change.

We commit to work together to promote recognition of the role of subnational governments at the 15th UNFCCC Conference of Parties and in future international forums. We support negotiations leading toward international recognition of this role.

Contact Information

Stanislav Saling, UNDP, stanislav.saling@undp.org or +1 917 346 1955

Live and on-demand webcasts of the summit events can be found at http://climatesummit.greenstreetscene.com. Several million people from around the world have been invited to watch the Governors’ Global climate Summit 2 live.  Webcast speakers include Harrison Ford, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Olav Kjorven of UNDP.

For more information, go to www.governorsglobalclimatesummit.org.