Two goals for California at the World Climate Conference

We must remember that our goal is not just to reduce our own emissions here in California, but to catalyze a global effort.

By Josh Becker, Special at CalMatters

State Senator Josh becker, a Democrat from Menlo Park, represents California’s 13th Senate District. He was invited to represent the Climate Center at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, due to his climate legislation.

Next month in Glasgow, Scotland, leaders from around the world will come together to decide the fate of the earth. If that sounds terrifying, it should.

The goal of COP26 in Glasgow is to get nations to increase their commitments to climate action enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The stakes are high and success far from guaranteed.

I have the privilege of going to Glasgow, with two goals in mind. First, we must show that California will continue not only to do its part, but also to lead the nation and the world on this issue. Second, we need to bring back the best ideas on how to move forward.

The current commitments of nations around the world are not enough to prevent a climate catastrophe. It is not a surprise. The strategy behind the Paris Agreement was for everyone to jump in, move forward and come back with more ambitious commitments once they gained confidence – both in their own ability to reduce emissions and in their confidence. that everyone was also going to do their part. to share.

California’s progress is important in building that trust. The world needs California’s leadership not only to reduce our own emissions, but also to demonstrate how it can be done. Our policy innovations, like the Renewables Portfolio Standard for cleaning up the grid, have shown that progress is possible and have become a roadmap widely followed by others.

California has been instrumental in developing solar technology and providing government support to promote early adoption, which has helped drive prices down – by 90% over the past 10 years. – and made solar energy cheap enough to be widely adopted around the world.

We need similar innovation and a supportive policy to decarbonize our entire economy, advancing research and early deployment of technologies that the whole world will need. Senate Bill 596, my bill to bring the cement industry to net zero by 2045, is a case in point. Local cement producers will prove solutions to eliminate emissions here in California and then deploy those solutions around the world to tackle the 8% of global CO2 emissions from cement.

Developing climate solutions may be California’s next economic success.

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, but also the greatest economic opportunity. Already, electric vehicles are California’s biggest export. To strengthen California’s leadership, we need the best ideas from around the world.

In my district, we proudly proclaim Silicon Valley as the tech capital of the world, but even so, savvy investors and entrepreneurs recognize that Silicon Valley does not have a monopoly on good ideas. They search the world for the latest advancements and the most efficient business models. Glasgow offers a similar opportunity for climate policy. We need to bring the best ideas home to California.

In all of this, we must remember that our goal is not just to reduce our own emissions here in California, but to catalyze a global effort. We will do this by demonstrating how it can be done, providing policies that others can copy. And we’ll do it by creating the technologies the rest of the world needs, making California a global powerhouse for this century’s most important economic trend.

The stakes are high in Glasgow.


State Senator Josh Becker also wrote about how gun violence researchers need data to find solutions.

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