The global effort to fight climate change became a tale of two cities last week.

Sep 18, 2018 by



In Washington, D.C., the Trump administration continued its reckless assault on our environment and health by announcing rollbacks of crucial methane pollution protections.

In San Francisco, meanwhile, governors, state lawmakers, mayors, businesses, world leaders, and advocates — including NRDC experts — came together at the Global Climate Action Summit to recapture the ambitious spirit of the Paris climate agreement, share successes, and announce their plans to raise the bar even higher on climate action and clean energy.

At the summit, some 4,000 delegates from around the world reaffirmed that they’re “still in” on climate action despite President Trump’s cynical backtracking. Now please let them know that you — along with millions of Americans — stand with them and demand strong action on climate.

Photo Credit: Elijah Nouvelage for NRDC

Here are some of the important new commitments that were made during the Global Climate Action Summit — it’s a long list:

  • California Governor Jerry Brown grabbed the world’s attention right out of the gate by signing into law a bill to move California to 100 percent zero-carbon electricity by 2045. He also signed bills to help decarbonize homes and offices, accelerate the phase out of super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigeration, and support electric vehicle deployment, along with an ambitious executive order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045
  • New York, Maryland, and Connecticut announced plans to phase out super-polluting HFCs and replace them with climate-friendlier coolants in new refrigerators, air conditioners, and other products. And eight companies and the industry trade association joined NRDC in pushing for these requirements to be adopted across the nation
  • New Jersey announced plans to rev up offshore wind production
  • Six states in India are adopting extreme heat action plans to ensure residents are safe and better prepared for dangerous rising temperatures. The Indian State of Telangana, the city of Pune, and the city of Ahmedabad also plan to add significantly more electric buses to their fleets by 2020
  • New resources were dedicated to help marine environments cope with climate change — and NRDC premiered Our Ocean Planet, an important new film narrated by Sigourney Weaver that shows the vital link between a stable climate and healthy oceans
  • International states, regions, cities, and businesses — including California, Washington State, Tokyo, and Seoul — committed to 100 percent zero emission vehicle targets
  • A coalition of cities and states in the U.S. and Canada committed to cutting food waste and loss by 50 percent by 2030
  • Los Angeles, Tokyo, Mexico City, and 70 other big cities pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, meaning they’ll cut their carbon pollution and offset whatever remains by investing in carbon-reduction methods like reforestation
  • Some 400 investors, representing $32 trillion in assets, launched the Investor Agenda to accelerate the investment necessary to implement the Paris climate agreement
  • Virginia became the 12th state to join the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Transportation & Climate Initiative that is working to cut carbon pollution from the transportation sector
  • The U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of 17 governors, announced a slate of climate and clean energy commitments to phase out climate super pollutants, deploy $1.4 billion from the Volkswagen settlement to drive down transportation emissions, and strengthen appliance efficiency standards

Read more about the commitments made at the Global Climate Action Summit on

These new commitments prove that the flame of hope remains alive — but we must ensure that these commitments turn into real, tangible action.

Tell city, state, world, and business leaders that you’re counting on them to keep moving forward on climate action.

The Global Climate Action Summit came at a very pertinent yet sobering time. This summer, unprecedented wildfires roared through towns across California and Greece, and record heat waves seared around the globe.

Families across the southeast coast of the U.S., the Philippines, and parts of China are now preparing to rebuild their lives from the devastation of Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkut, while Texans and Puerto Ricans continue recovering from Harvey and Maria one year later. Climate change is happening here and now — and the need for action has never been more urgent.

Yet President Trump and his allies are pushing full steam ahead with their anti-environment, anti-science, and climate-denial agenda. Their plan includes dismantling the Clean Power Plan, rolling back climate-saving clean car standards, opening our coastal communities and national monuments to oil and gas drilling, and moving to bail out coal and nuclear power plants.

So, it’s never been a more crucial time for cities, states, businesses, and the international community to rise up.

Send a message of thanks to the attendees of the Global Climate Action Summit for stepping up on climate and urge them to keep the momentum going!

Thank you, as always, for everything you do.


Rhea Suh
President, NRDC

The mission of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

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