California and Scotland sign new climate agreement to support the Under2 Coalition

William Brittlebank
Reading time: 4 minutes
5 April 2017

LONDON: The governments of California and Scotland have signed a new agreement to expand their collaboration on climate initiatives, and support the Under2 Coalition of states, regions and cities committed to ambitious emissions reduction targets.

The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, and Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, met in Sacramento on Monday to discuss the coalition and sign a letter of cooperation that will lead to closer work between the two administrations to advance global climate leadership.

The Under2 Coalition, for which The Climate Group acts as Secretariat, includes 167 sub-national governments committed to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80-95% on 1990 levels, or 2 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent per capita, by 2050.

Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California, and Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, sign the letter of cooperation in Sacramento (Photo Credit: Joe McHugh, California Highway Patrol)

The coalition was founded in 2015 by California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg, and now represents over a billion people, spanning six continents and 33 countries with a collective GDP of US$25.9 trillion. Scotland joined the coalition in July 2015.

Supporting the energy transition

In signing the letter, both governments have agreed to support members of the coalition in sharing best practices for reducing GHG emissions, accelerating renewable energy deployment and transitioning to clean, prosperous economies.

Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group, said: “The leadership being shown by California and Scotland in setting some of the world’s strongest climate targets, and collaborating to achieve these, is inspiring. They are demonstrating the collective power of state and regional governments in driving significant emissions reductions and creating thriving regional economies.

“Members of the Under2 Coalition have committed to some of the most pioneering climate targets in the world and the potential for the sharing of ideas, best practices and peer-to-peer learning is exceptional. This new level of collaboration between California and Scotland will undoubtedly help to deliver on this potential and it can help to make the coalition the most formidable group of climate actors in the world today.”

California and Scotland will also work on preparations for a major summit – to be held in 2018 - which will convene the public and private sectors, as well as leading NGOs and civil society, to galvanize climate action and demonstrate progress in support of the Paris Agreement.

Climate leadership

California has established itself as one of the world’s leading sub-national actors on climate and clean energy and has a target of generating 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The state has also committed to reducing petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50% over the next 15 years.

Scotland has also demonstrated its strong leadership on climate action in recent years and has been setting new records in renewable energy development. Scottish turbines provided 1.2 million megawatt hours of electricity to the National Grid in March, enough to power 136% of the country’s households.

The state of California has also played a key role in responding to the US Administration’s Executive Order to review the Clean Power Plan, with Governor Brown and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reaffirming their commitment to exceed the targets of the Plan and curb GHG emissions.

US Under2 Coalition members also issued a robust statement on the day the Executive Order was announced, saying: “We speak with one voice against the decision to review the Clean Power Plan. As members of the Under2 Coalition, we know that the climate crisis demands global action at every level. As Washington, D.C. delays, the work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our cities and states continues. Our commitment to limiting global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius remains. We will not waver. And we will continue to enlist like-minded cities, states, regions and countries around the world to join this fight.”

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