Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday will depart for an historic international conference aimed at strengthening global commitments to combat climate change and reduce carbon pollution.
The 21st Session of the Conference of Parties – also known as COP21 – began yesterday in Paris. Nearly 200 nations are participating with more than 30,000 delegates including governors, mayors, scientists, business leaders and others. Heads of state including President Obama will participate in negotiations aimed at a new international agreement to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Inslee is credentialed for COP21 by the U.S. State Department. He will help promote U.S. action on climate and participate in discussions with other subnational entities about the importance of regional and subnational collaborations such as the Pacific Coast Collaborative and Under2 MOU, both of which Washington is a founding signatory. Inslee will also meet with businesses about the strength of Washington’s clean energy economy and opportunities for recruitment or expansion.
“Much of the momentum we’re seeing around climate action has started in our cities, states and provinces where leaders are finding innovative and creative solutions to reducing carbon pollution,” Inslee said. “Washington is one of those states on the leading edge of the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a clean energy economy. This is a tremendous opportunity to find new ways of partnering with other subnationals, and help promote the efforts of President Obama to bolster our country’s role in the fight against climate change and ensure other countries are also doing their part.”
COP21 builds upon earlier international climate discussions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro and established the first recognized acknowledgement that humans have played a role in causing climate change and that industrialized nations have a responsibility to take action. The Kyoto Protocol established there was one of the first milestones in negotiations among industrialized nations and set the stage for future negotiations.
Inslee is scheduled to participate in several panel discussions and events including a U.S. State Department panel on drought, energy and agriculture and a roundtable hosted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. He will meet with business and government leaders to discuss carbon reduction efforts in Washington state and will be announcing new partnerships to strengthen subnational collaboration.
Govs. Jerry Brown of California and Peter Shumlin of Vermont are also attending. Representatives of Gov. Andrew Cuomo from New York will be there, as well as more than 35 U.S. mayors.
Inslee will return from Paris on Wednesday, Dec. 9.