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California Governor Plans to Host 2018 Global Climate Summit


FILE - In this June 13, 2017, file photo, California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses climate change at a news conference in Sacramento. Brown plans to convene a Global Climate Action Summit next year in his latest action to position the state as a leader in battling global warming as the White House recedes.

California Governor Jerry Brown has announced that a Global Climate Action summit will be held in San Francisco in September 2018, in a challenge to President Donald Trump's plan to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

Nearly 200 nations have signed the 2015 agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are widely thought to be responsible for rising temperatures, and Brown is one of a number of local and regional leaders working to build coalitions without Trump.

Brown spoke by video on Thursday to the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany, saying the U.S. leader "doesn't speak for the rest of America," and that individual states and cities could take action on climate change.

Brown said he would convene next year's summit of entrepreneurs, musicians and academic experts to help achieve that.

G-20 leaders arrive in Hamburg

Trump, meanwhile, arrived in Hamburg ahead of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit, a meeting of leaders of the world's top industrial nations and the European Union.

Anti-capitalist demonstrations against the G-20 summit descended into chaos Thursday as some protesters clashed with German police, who tried to disperse the crowds with tear gas and water cannons.

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri shares the stage with singer Shakira as she speaks to the crowd during the Global Citizen Festival concert on the eve of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 6, 2017.
Argentinian President Mauricio Macri shares the stage with singer Shakira as she speaks to the crowd during the Global Citizen Festival concert on the eve of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 6, 2017.

Inside the Global Citizen Festival, which preceded the start of the two-day summit, politicians and entertainers urged action on global issues from health to education to climate change.

California has taken a leadership role on climate legislation since the 1970s, said political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe of the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. She noted the U.S. state has a waiver from the federal government to impose stricter emissions standards than the nation as a whole, and 13 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the tougher California rules.

California is also part of the Under2 Coalition, a group of 176 local and regional jurisdictions in 36 countries that have pledged to limit the rise in global average temperatures to under 2 degrees Celsius. Brown is a vocal advocate for the coalition.

With Trump in office, California is conducting its own foreign policy, said political scientist Raphael Sonenshein of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. The nonpartisan institute is named after Jerry Brown's father, who was California's governor 50 years ago.

Local, regional leaders

Sonenshein said the United States has a powerful system of state governments and that governors like Brown are finding global leadership roles, "especially given the hunger in the world for the U.S. to be part of the Paris climate agreement."

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the crowd during the Global Citizen Festival concert on the eve of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 6, 2017.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the crowd during the Global Citizen Festival concert on the eve of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 6, 2017.

In California, even some Republicans support strong environmental regulations. Former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill in 2006 requiring the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and he has criticized Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord.

In announcing the withdrawal of the U.S. from the agreement in June, Trump called the climate accord a bad deal for American businesses and workers, but he said he would be willing to renegotiate better terms. However, other world leaders said the agreement could not be renegotiated.

Most Americans believe that global warming is occurring but are divided on the urgency of the problem, with Democrats most worried and Republicans often more skeptical.

In a study released in March, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that 58 percent of Americans believed that climate change is mostly caused by humans. Three-quarters of those surveyed supported regulating the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Jerry Brown was one of a number of national and regional leaders who addressed issues of climate, gender equality and sustainable development at the Hamburg festival, which was part rock concert and part political rally.

The California governor spoke by video, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Argentine President Mauricio Macri and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg took to the stage in person.

The G-20 will meet Friday and Saturday in Hamburg to discuss trade, climate, refugees and other issues.

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