California Governor Jerry Brown and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have signed a joint agreement of cooperation as the two administrations seek to fulfill the climate goals of the Under2 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Under2 MOU is a collaboration of subnational governments calling to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 80%–95% below 1990 levels by 2050. The group was initially formed by California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg at the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, and it aims to empower states and cities to pursue international collaboration. The group is now 167 jurisdictions strong, representing nearly $26 trillion dollars in GDP. This coalition could prove especially useful if, for some reason, a “world leading” federal government lagged behind in the preservation of our collective future.
Scotland and California both have made notable progress in clean technology: Scotland, best known for its offshore wind resources, and California for its, well, nearly everything else. The accord should set the stage for increased collaboration between the entities on process best practices, expert staff support, and information sharing, and perhaps even some counter-tweet propaganda (#SAD!).
As recognized by the global community in the Paris Agreement, climate change concerns and connects all humankind. It represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies, particularly the poor and the vulnerable, as well as to the environment and our global economy. There has never been a greater need for international cooperation – addressing climate change requires ambitious action by all countries.
California and Scotland have set ambitious climate and clean energy goals; both jurisdictions seek to cut greenhouse gases 80% by 2050. California and Scotland both recognize that there are significant economic benefits in jobs, investment, growth and trade of clean energy and the low carbon economy from taking swift action to combat climate change, and that failing to do so will cost future generations dearly.
California and Scotland recognize the vital importance of leadership, action and co-operation by state, provinces, and other sub-national jurisdictions, and seek to capitalise on the huge potential of the Under2MOU, the ambitious commitment to bold and decisive climate action covering over one billion people and over a third of the global economy to which both jurisdictions are signatories.
In the coming years, there will be crucial opportunities for the Governments of California and Scotland to influence higher global ambition on climate change, and to work together to support concrete climate action through the opportunities set out in the Under2MOU:
California and Scotland’s cooperation as outlined in this letter will firmly demonstrate the collective impact of the commitments across states, regions, cities, and countries that are signatories to the Under2MOU.