California held its own climate conference this past week, on Sept. 12-14. According to the New York Times, this conference was organized by Jerry Brown, California’s governor. The attendees included various governors, mayors and businesses executives coming from many different countries. Among the many key points of the conference, the concept that if those that attended the meeting went green and demonstrated the benefits of environmental responsibility, then it might prompt other cities and businesses to go green as well.
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Many agreements were made and pledges were signed at this conference, and many closed door meetings were held. The New York Times reports that Tokyo, Rotterdam, West Hollywood and various other cities have agreed to purchase exclusively zero-emission buses by 2025, and Walmart, Unilever and similar companies have also pledged to make efforts to limit deforestation in their supply chains. There was an additional $4 billion pledged to fight climate change in the span
of the next five years.
California, New York, Maryland and Connecticut have agreed to create regulations with the intent of limiting hydrofluorocarbons. Hydrofluorocarbons are greenhouse gasses that are used in air-conditioners and refrigerators. China and California have committed to cooperating on zero-emission vehicles and fuel-cell research. State governors also met behind closed doors with Canadian and Mexican environment ministers to partner on issues like greenhouse gas emissions and electric vehicles, according to the New York Times.
As much progress as was made during this conference, there are still many concerns and challenges. The New York Times cites a roadmap of what is needed to limit global warming. This could entail banning the sale of vehicles that require gasoline to operate in many cities within ten years. 16 states, Puerto Rico, various cities and almost 2,000 businesses have committed to upholding the Paris climate agreement and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below what they were in 2005 by 2025. Unfortunately, a new report shows that the U.S. emissions are set to fall only 17% on the current plan. There is also the concern, according to the New York Times, of convincing the world that although the actions of the current administration may indicate otherwise, the United States has not given up completely on fighting climate change.