But the state’s work goal to achieve full carbon neutrality is not binding by law And it’s not set to happen until 2045, well beyond the point of political responsibility for most current officials. Environmentalists and lawmakers have complained that the state climate regulator has focused on that long-term date in its planning process, potentially to the detriment of short-term actions. Meanwhile, the planet is warming and California is being ravaged by forest fires caused by the weather, floods, mega droughts and scorching heat waves.
“People love to promise goals,” Cullenward said. “The problem is that we focus too much on promises and not enough on keeping them.”
Brown and Schwarzenegger are also impatient.
Last week, at a conference hosted by state air quality regulators, Schwarzenegger said that the COP summit’s emphasis on long-term vision had distracted from the immediate need to stop polluting.
“What does a promise and a commitment mean in the end?” he said. “Nothing. It’s over and over again, year after year, they make these promises and come out to declare victory, but then nothing is done.”
Schwarzenegger will participate this week in a virtual chat on the climate and the economy with a LinkedIn co-founder, one of the summit’s corporate attendees, according to a spokesperson, and may appear in a weather related event at the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California.
In an interview, Brown said he was staying home because the state delegation was already “robust” and because he had stopped traveling out of state during the coronavirus pandemic. California, he said, will play an important role in Glasgow because nations need state and local governments to help them achieve their goals.
However, he agreed on the need to act.
“This is a time to bite the bullet, not gum the marshmallow,” Brown said. “This is an existential threat.”