Almost 5,000 mayors, CEOs, environmental activists, and politicians from around the world came together in San Francisco for the world-renowned Global Climate Action Summit.
Jerry Brown, Governor of California, the most populous state in the United States, and New York’s former Mayor, Michael Bloomberg had invited the Climate Summit to hold the conference on September 12-14, 2018 in the beautiful city of San Francisco.
California is the fifth largest economy in the world and was a clear choice as the perfect place to hold the summit. They have demonstrated that the CO2 reduction target enshrined in the Paris Climate Treaty could be achieved without support from the White House. This meant many alliances of regions, companies, and representatives of civil society.
“While the media are concentrating on the political battles in Washington, real climate protection is taking place in cities, states and the private sector.”
As summed up by co-organizer and entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg. And rightly so! Cities have a key role to play in the fight against climate change. Cities are hot spots for greenhouse gas emissions and the main global sufferers of climate change. Although metropolitan regions account for only about 2% of the earth’s surface, they consume three-quarters of the world’s fossil energy.
The 40 largest cities in the world have organized themselves in the Climate Initiative C 40 to promote climate protection at the municipal level. Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles and Vice President of the ‘C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group’, announced at the climate summit that around 2.5 million electric charging stations for cars will be installed in Los Angeles over the next seven years and that he will no longer accept electricity from coal by 2025. According to Garcetti, by the 2028 Olympic Games in L.A., there will only be electric buses in his city.
In his talks with Michael Bloomberg and Eric Garcetti, Michael Rolland, President of the Senate of the Economy, welcomed the increasing commitment to climate protection across society. There were more than 500 initiatives announced in San Francisco and billions invested in climate protection by entrepreneurs, investors, and various regions.
At the climate summit, Sony and Ikea were among those brands that promised to completely eliminate the use of CO2 in their production and supply chains by 2030 at the latest. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff also mentioned the voluntary CO2 reduction agreement brought forth by his company and the 20 other tech companies involved.
“We’re not fighting cars, we’re fighting air pollution in our cities,” said the Mayor of Paris, explaining her commitment to the C 40 Climate Alliance to reduce local CO2 emissions. In San Francisco, ten more regions and cities have joined the global coal exit alliance by 2030 at the latest.
Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, emphasized the positive economic and labor market growth prospects of climate engagement. He said that most of his U.S. governor colleagues also recognized the enormous potential in solutions surrounding environmental and climate issues, including green technologies.
Al Gore, former United States Vice President and committed environmental activist, appealed to the delegates to finally act. The increasing number of hurricanes, fires, and other natural disasters showed that we need to make a difference now. His words reverberated through the conference:
“Our world is currently at an early stage of a sustainable revolution. There are great opportunities. Investors and entrepreneurs are pointing to these opportunities. All nations are committed. The political will is a “renewable resource.”
U.S. actor Harrison Ford stressed that the destruction of our nature is causing more pollution than all of the cars and trucks in the world combined. Ford called out to the participants:
“We can install so many solar panels on our roofs and build electric cars – as long as it burns on Sumatra, we have failed.”
Animal welfare legend Jane Goodall (“A Heart for Chimpanzees”) stressed the importance of rainforests in creating a positive effect. According to Goodall, the forest is often a forgotten solution and plays a key role in the fight against climate change.