Hundreds of New Commitments to Climate Action Bubble Up from San Francisco Summit

Developing "sustainable transportation networks" is one strategy cities can use to reduce climate emissions. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Even before the Global Climate Action Summit got rolling on Wednesday, news began spewing from the San Francisco event.

The day began with the announcement of 300 new or recent commitments to climate action from an assortment of corporations, non-profits and state and local governments. (The list is actually an aggregation of commitments made over the last several months.)

Members of the movement known as We Are Still In gathered at the California Academy of Sciences to share new initiatives and spend the day workshopping ideas.

"We have the threat of our lifetime," said Mindy Lubber, head of the Boston-based sustainable-business group, CERES. "We can meet it, we can beat it, despite the fact that one guy in Washington says, 'We are not in.'”

The project was named as a repudiation of the Trump administration's abandonment of the Paris climate accord, now signed on to by every nation in the world except for the United States. The drive is intended as affirmation that much of the U.S. is "still in," represented by the 3,540 signatories to the pact.

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The group heard new commitments from the state of Virginia, which is tightening its own rules on methane emissions (even as federal regulators loosen them), to individual companies like Emeryville-based Cliff Bar.

Among the initiatives from Bay Area organizations, the iconic San Francisco clothing company Levi Strauss says it will cut greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 90 percent, and another 40 percent from its supply chain.

Likewise, the University of California is launching a system-wide conversion to renewable energy across its 10 campuses. Calling immediate climate action "a moral imperative," UC President Janet Napolitano said that by year-end, the university will have made $1 billion in total investments toward sustainability.

"We are out of time for debates," she told the pre-summit gathering.

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We Are Still In is closely affiliated with America's Pledge, another coalition of "subnational actors" that this week rolled out a roadmap for attaining the original U.S. commitment in Paris to cut carbon emissions back to at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

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