Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham joined four other Democrat and Republican governors attending COP-26 in setting goals for moving toward net zero carbon emissions next year.
She was among the sub-national leaders at COP-26 in the “U.S. Climate Alliance” who have vowed to “keep 1.5 alive” amid growing concerns that governments everywhere are failing to do what’s needed to slow the relentless increase in global worming.
Lujan Grisham met with Governors Jay Inslee of Washington State, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, David Ige of Hawaii and Kate Brown of Oregon to “demonstrate a critical mass of high ambition states” intent on moving just as relentlessly toward keeping global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Centigrade compared to the pre-Industrial Era climate.
Together, the five states represent 55 percent of the U.S. population and 60 percent of the U.S. economy as expressed in gross domestic product (GDP). They said they are committed to achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.
But the name of their nascent club, the “Under 2 Coalition,” seems a little less ambitious. A two degree Celsius average increase would engulf the world in devastations to crops, wildlife and scarcely habitable human living conditions.
On the governors’ Sunday, November 7 schedule was a “Net Zero Futures Initiative” that would “set the 2030 agenda for transformative climate action... starting with objectives for action in 2022.”
Lujan Grisham was an active participant in several side meetings and panel discussions in Glasgow. Those included sessions with John Kerry and Gina McCarthy, President Joe Biden’s envoys to the UN conference, although she was a no-show at an earlier session on “Making the Transition to Clean Power a Reality” where the plenary hall’s overhead big-screen electronic billboards displayed her photo and name. A chair on the podium where she would have been seated was vacant; the moderator gave no explanation.
Among other announcements that day, more than 20 nations and 15 major institutions had committed to ending financing for more fossil fuel projects. As Denmark’s Minister of Foreign Affairs chimed in “Luckily renewable energy is realistic as a replacement. The coal phase-out is affordable. Let’s together consign coal to history.”
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm called for even more ambitious measures to end the use of coal in the United States and around the world, saying that renewables could “leapfrog over coal.”
During a panel discussion later that day, Norway’s minister of international development offered the welcomed news that 80 percent of her country’s new automobiles are now electric, rather than gasoline powered.
Norway has also launched the world’s first zero emissions ship, and is erecting the world’s biggest floating wind farm. Minister Anne Beathe Tvinnereim ended on a cheerleading note that “Either we break through together or we break down separately.”
The UN’s Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action, Selwin Hart, warned that “keeping 1.5 alive” is necessary, since the world is now on a path for global temperature to rise to 2.7 degrees C.
“This is a fight we cannot afford to lose,” he stressed.