California’s Brown Signs International Climate Change Pact

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a pact with 11 U.S. and international states, including Catalonia in Spain and Mexico’s Jalisco, aimed at curtailing temperature increases caused by carbon pollution.

The group of subnational governments agreed to cut emissions 80 percent to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or reach a per-capita annual emission target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050, Brown’s office said in a statement Tuesday.

“This global challenge requires bold action on the part of governments everywhere,” Brown, a 77-year-old Democrat, said in the statement. “It’s time to be decisive. It’s time to act.”

California and other U.S. states are taking steps to curb the environmental effects of climate change as Republicans in Congress resist scientific evidence that man-made carbon pollution is affecting weather patterns. Brown last month ordered emissions of greenhouse gases reduced to almost half what they were a quarter century ago, the most ambitious statewide effort to combat climate change in the U.S.

Each subnational government that signed the non-binding agreement must still approve its own emission-reduction plans to meet the pact’s goals. Brown said the first-of-its kind agreement should serve as a template for international leaders who will meet in Paris for a United Nations climate change conference in December.

The agreement is aimed at containing a rise in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, “the warming threshold at which scientists say there will probably be catastrophic climate disruptions,” Brown said in a statement.

Representatives of Oregon, Washington and Vermont, as well as Acre, Brazil; Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany; Ontario and British Columbia, Canada; Wales, the U.K.; and Baja California, Mexico, also took part in a signing ceremony in Sacramento on Tuesday.

California, the seventh-largest economy on the globe, already has some of the toughest carbon pollution regulations in the U.S. Brown’s proposals have raised concerns from the oil and natural gas industry, manufacturers and Republicans, who warn the policies will raise energy prices and drive business to less-expensive regions.