Op-ed from The Hill with Charlie Hales, and Mike Mielke
Earlier this month the eyes of the world turn to the Pacific Coast, where global energy ministers and business leaders met to begin transforming the Paris COP21 climate agreement from a promise to a plan — developing the specific policies and actions that will accelerate the transition to economies built on clean energy.
Meeting the ambitious carbon reduction goals laid out in Paris last December will require two things in abundance: innovation and collaboration. It will require transformations in our energy systems; the buildings that house our people and businesses; the way we move residents and goods; and related shifts across all sectors of the economy.
And it requires a new way of approaching climate change that involves not just Washington, D.C., but our country’s cities and states. That’s why we’re proud to be on the leading edge of this mobilization effort commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge. National governments, like ours in “the other Washington”, D.C., identified goals, but it is action by cities, states and provinces that will make those goals reality and ultimately stave off the devastating impacts of climate change.
San Francisco was an appropriate venue for this Clean Energy Ministerial, where the impacts of climate change are tangible and the urgency to act acute. Water was carefully rationed, even for foreign dignitaries, with California gripped by perpetual drought. Wildfires now rage nearly year-round, threatening lives and livelihoods— not just in California, but in West Coast neighbors British Columbia, Oregon and Washington as well.
The Pacific Coast is also home to a cross-sector, intergovernmental approach to solving the climate crisis — a perfect example of the type of subnational effort by cities, states and provinces necessary to realize the promise of the Paris accord.
Read the full op-ed here.