“Don’t be complacent!” California Governor Jerry Brown admonished energy ministers from the world’s 23 largest economies meeting in his state last week. The steps their nations have so far agreed, he and others warned, aren’t enough to avoid catastrophic climate change.
“Don’t think you’ve got it handled,” Brown told hundreds of official, NGO, and business representatives gathered in San Francisco for the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), “because you don’t, and I don’t, and we don’t.”
The ministers weren’t entirely inactive, GreenBiz reports. They agreed on a new ISO energy efficiency standard that could reduce global carbon emissions by 6.5 million tons by 2030, “the equivalent of taking 215 million cars off the road.” And in addition to endorsing one business campaign to employ more clean energy, the ministers launched another to replace hydrofluorocarbons—a powerful class of greenhouse gases—in air conditioners, whose increased use is forecast to add as much as half a degree Fahrenheit of warming to the climate.
Nonetheless, conceded Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, “progress is slow. It does not seem we will reach our goals” set in December at the Paris climate summit, of keeping average world temperatures “well below” 2ºC above pre-industrial levels.
Brown urged political leaders to take action on the scale of America’s “amazing transformation” of its economy in response to the December, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
“Within a matter of days,” he recalled, “President Roosevelt said ‘no more cars [in production]. Now we want tanks and planes.’ And it happened. The challenge is that level of magnitude.”