Paris, France - On his final day at the UN Climate Change Conference, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined the Federal Republic of Germany and the German state of Baden-Württemberg to welcome 43 new signatories to the Under 2 MOU climate agreement - bringing the tally to 123 jurisdictions representing more than 720 million people and $19.9 trillion in combined GDP, equivalent to more than a quarter of the global economy.

At a signing ceremony hosted at the German Pavilion in the blue zone at Le Bourget Conference Center, California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg, who together have spearheaded the Under 2 MOU, also announced that The Climate Group will take on the role of secretariat for the pact, helping the signatories share expertise and policy solutions and ensuring that governments deliver on their commitments.

“We are building a global force of cities, states – and even countries – to reduce carbon pollution and protect the well-being of people everywhere,” said Governor Brown. “After Paris, the real work begins: to follow through on our commitments.”

Governor Brown speaks at Under 2 MOU signing ceremony at the German Pavilion.

With today’s signing ceremony – the second during the Governor’s five days at the UN Climate Change Conference – the number of signatories has nearly doubled since last week.

“Our governments are still sitting at the negotiating table, but civil societies, municipalities and regions in many countries of the world started acting long ago,” said Premier of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann. “After all, a sustainable change in our way of living and running the economy can only be accomplished at the grassroots level – by those same civil societies, municipalities and regions. And the hearts and minds of all the people in the world are the most essential ingredients.”

The Climate Group, which will serve as the Under 2 MOU’s secretariat, is an international nonprofit that works with business, state and regional leaders to promote a prosperous, low carbon future. Last year, with the backing of the United Nations, it helped to create the Compact of States and Regions, a complementary initiative to the Under 2 MOU that works with governments to measure and report progress toward their emission reduction goals and ensure accountability.

“The California and Baden-Württemberg governments have created a leadership platform in the form of the Under 2 MOU, helping generate unprecedented momentum in the lead up to Paris. State and regional governments continue to be drivers of climate action and are focused on long-term decarbonisation because it makes economic sense,” said CEO of The Climate Group Mark Kenber. “By becoming secretariat and bringing the Compact of States and Regions closer together with the MOU, The Climate Group will help to ensure that governments continue to deliver on these commitments in a transparent, public way and come together to overcome policy challenges. This year the MOU has driven long term decarbonisation targets; in the years ahead it's about working together to ensure we meet these ambitious targets.”

Earlier in the day, Governor Brown participated in a moderated discussion on what to expect beyond Paris with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretary-General Angel Gurría as part of the International New York Times' Energy for Tomorrow Conference, which brought together leading CEOs, policy-makers, energy entrepreneurs and academics to uncover the strategies that will drive success in the new low carbon economy.

Governor Brown speaks at the International New York Times' Energy for Tomorrow panel.

Following the Under 2 MOU signing today, Governor Brown delivered a guest lecture at École Normale Supérieure (ENS), France's preeminent graduate institution of higher learning and research.

Governor Brown gives lecture at École Normale Supérieure.

Governor Brown holds discussion at École Normale Supérieure.

The Under 2 MOU is an agreement to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions. Signatories commit to either reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels or limit per capita annual emissions to less than 2 metric tons by 2050.

At today’s ceremony, 43 new signatories to the pact were announced, including: 

  • Leaders representing seven subnational jurisdictions: Drenthe, the Netherlands; Hesse, Germany; Andalusia, Spain; Loreto, Peru; the state of São Paulo, Brazil; Pays de la Loire, France, who signed remotely; and Quintana Roo, Mexico, who signed yesterday.

  • Three nations: Costa Rica; Panama; and Peru.

  • The Association of Regions of Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the 31 regions of the West African nation, as well as two autonomous districts.

New signatories noted that the agreement represents a diverse coalition of governments with a similar purpose. “Initiatives such as the Under 2 MOU demonstrate that regions all over the world are engaged in countering climate change. Our actions will bring the necessary change,” said Secretary of Environment for the state of São Paulo, Brazil Patrícia Iglecias.

Minister of Environment and Energy for the province of Drenthe, the Netherlands Tjisse Stelpstra added, “The world needs a lot of support from everyone to achieve our climate goals. Within the different regions is a lot of activity that contributes to our common ambition. We’d like to share our best practices and to learn from each other. That’s the only way to succeed!”

With today’s announcement, a total of eight countries have endorsed the Under 2 MOU. In addition to the new endorsements from Costa Rica, Panama and Peru, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherland and the United Kingdom have already endorsed the agreement.

The pact seeks to enhance cooperation to achieve its goals through a range of activities, including: 

  • Developing mid-term targets needed to support long-term reduction goals;

  • Sharing technology, scientific research and best practices to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy;

  • Collaborating to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles;

  • Taking steps to ensure consistent monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions;

  • Improving air quality by reducing short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane; and

  • Assessing the projected impacts of climate change on communities.

Today’s ceremony comes during five days of UN Climate Change Conference events involving Governor Brown in Le Bourget and throughout Paris organized by the French, U.S., German and Chinese governments, UNFCCC, the European Commission, the World Bank, UN Foundation, Climate Group, International New York Times, École Normale Supérieure (ENS) and many others.

Governor Brown is attending the UN Climate Change Conference at the invitation of UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres – the United Nations' top climate change official – and France's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius – the president of the COP21.

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Yesterday, Governor Brown gave remarks at a UNFCCC panel on subnational climate leadership, which also featured former Vice President Al Gore and France's Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal, before joining U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to participate in an event where they announced that California will host the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco next year. Governor Brown later joined Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard to discuss the new target established by 13 North American and European governments to make all new passenger vehicles sold in their jurisdictions zero-emission by 2050. The Governor then gave keynote remarks on California's push to dramatically reduce short-lived climate pollutants at a high-level assembly of environment ministers from around the world. He later spoke at an event with other members of the Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force to highlight their innovative action to reduce deforestation and promote low emission land use.

On Monday, Governor Brown met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and joined China's Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua at an event organized by China's National Development and Reform Commission. Governor Brown also joined France's Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin at an event hosted by the French government to highlight aggressive climate action by American states, where leaders signed a joint declaration to confirm their commitment to cooperate on sustainable economic development, climate change and related policies. Governor Brown gave remarks and participated in a media briefing at the Climate Group's States and Regions Alliance General Assembly and joined the UNFCCC's Climate Action Dialogues: Subnationals Leading the Way panel. The Governor also participated in the UN Foundation's Earth to Paris Summit with NextGen Climate founder and President Tom Steyer.

On Sunday, Governor Brown and U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley welcomed 15 new signatories to the Under 2 MOU climate agreement at a signing ceremony hosted at the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Paris, which included South Australia, the first Australian state to join the Under 2 MOU, and Rhode Island, the ninth American state to sign on. Governor Brown also on Sunday discussed California's nation-leading action on renewable energy on a panel focused on clean energy initiatives by national and subnational governments at the "RE-Energizing the Future" conference organized by the European Commission, International Renewable Energy Agency, Syndicate for Renewable Energy of France and others and later delivered keynote remarks at one of the COP21's largest "side events," the "2015 Global Landscapes Forum," following a plenary session featuring international scientists and government leaders seeking to bridge the divide between climate research and policy making - a longstanding priority in California.

On Saturday, Governor Brown participated in UNFCCC COP21's official "Action Day" event highlighting commitments and initiatives from the world's top climate leaders, including "non-state" actors like California. Governor Brown gave remarks during a session focused on local authorities' engagement, which also featured Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo; former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau; Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon and Global Local Forum President and former President of the Fatick Region, Senegal Abdoulaye Sene. Later that day, Governor Brown joined Oscar-winning director Charles Ferguson and world-renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall on a panel following a screening of the new climate change documentary "Time to Choose," which highlights California's climate leadership.