Brown says California to lead on fighting climate change

CHRISTOPHER WEBER
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - California's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can be a model when global leaders meet this year to try and fashion a universal agreement to combat climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday after meeting with United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres and leading climate scientists.

California is a significant player in the fight against global warming because its vast economic and technical resources allow it to negotiate with other states as well as foreign governments like Mexico and China, Brown said.

A global agreement is being negotiated ahead of a U.N. climate summit in November, which will be attended by representatives from more than 195 nations.

Before that, Brown plans to bring his message to the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto on July 8. The governor is promoting pending legislation to require that half the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2050 and petroleum use in cars and trucks be cut by up to 50 percent.

Brown sat down with Figueres and the researchers at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to highlight the scientific consensus around climate change and discuss and the need for action at all levels of government.

"It's not too late, but it's getting late," Brown told reporters afterward.

Increasing rates of wildfires, rising sea levels and spread of tropical diseases like West Nile virus are symptoms of the growing threat, he said.

Figueres said that while federal governments will play a key role in combatting climate change, it's states, cities and corporations that will make decisions affecting citizens. "That is where the change needs to occur and is occurring," she said.

Addressing climate change has been a central part of Brown's agenda. California has already entered into climate-change pacts with leaders from Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel and Peru.

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