CGS Participates at Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS)

College Park, MD - September 12, 2018 - This week people from around the world are gathering in San Francisco, CA at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS). Among those people are representatives from the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS), including Director Nate Hultman.

Thousands are coming together to share information on climate action, discuss how to enhance ambition, and work together to help the world meet its’ climate goals. Not only is this a global moment for climate action, but it is marking the start of a year of activities and initiatives that will advance policy, reduce emissions, and generate new partnerships that will further momentum.   

See information below on the initiatives and events that CGS is a part of this week at GCAS:


America’s Pledge

A new report, Fulfilling America’s Pledge: How States, Cities, and Businesses Are Leading the United States to a Low-Carbon Future, was released today, September 12, ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS). The report was co-chaired by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg. Nathan Hultman, the Director of CGS, served as the co-lead on the report with Paul Bodnar, Managing Director of the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Led by CGS, the report features a first of its kind, innovative analytical approach, which combines a new tool that accounts for and aggregates real economy actions, and a U.S. version of the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM-USA), which is an integrated, economy-wide modeling tool that estimates the overall reduction potential from real economy actors.

Through its novel approach to quantifying and assessing the actions of the U.S. states, cities, and businesses, the report demonstrates that the U.S. is already on track to get two-thirds of the way to the original U.S. target under the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, real economy actors have the potential to reduce emissions by more than 24 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, which can bring the U.S. within striking distance of its target of 26 percent. The results found that this is achievable shortly after 2025, with the broader engagement of real economy actors.

The objective of this stage of America’s Pledge, in addition to assessing the impact of real economy actors, is to serve as a potential model for other states, cities, and businesses in the U.S., and even other countries. Christina Bowman, Manager of Energy & Climate Change at the Center for Global Sustainability, remarks that “In our novel approach, we’ve been able to provide a snapshot of U.S. climate action and project potential emissions reductions by these actors in the coming years. In the next phase, this approach will be operationalized through the use of a data analytic platform that users will be able to assess real economy actions for enhanced climate ambition.”

On Monday, September 10, to support the launch of Fulfilling America’s Pledge, CGS hosted a webinar-briefing on the report findings. Nathan Hultman moderated a media Q&A session on the results of Fulfilling America’s Pledge report on Tuesday, September 11, and CGS and UMD will support the official launch and press conference of the report on Thursday, September 13.

To view the webinar briefing, click here.

To view the report and its associated technical appendix, click here.


University Climate Change Coalition (UC3)

Among the wave of non-federal actors that raised their hand to commit to climate action after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement were universities and major research institutions, including the University of Maryland. In February 2018, UC3 was launched with the vision of leading higher education in taking a larger role in climate action by leveraging strengths of research institutions while convening climate leaders in their region from local and state government, private industry, and NGOs at cross-sector forums.

In a report titled Research for Solutions: Convening Stakeholders to Galvanize Local Climate Action, released ahead of GCAS, UC3 highlights how research institutions can play an invaluable role in stepping-up climate action in their communities.

This role is demonstrated by University of Maryland President Wallace Loh in his ‘Letter from the Research Lead’: “Real solutions require these bottom-up contributions. That has been our experience in the ongoing recovery of the Chesapeake Bay. Based on data and input from research universities, federal, state and regional cooperation has produced measurable improvements to the Bay’s health. Further progress will require even more cooperation.” President Loh adds that “National Science Foundation figures show that Coalition universities perform about one-quarter of all environmental research by U.S. institutions. Our expertise in satellite imaging and flood monitoring, for example, helps define the problem and measure progress.”

On Friday, September 7, as a part of the university’s commitment to UC3, the Global Sustainability Initiative (GSI) hosted a half-day event centered on building collaborative approaches to climate policy in the state of Maryland. At an all-day forum today, CGS is presenting the outcomes of this event to the UC3 and research community. In addition, CGS is presenting its new tool for universities that want to engage their own universities in cross-sectoral climate action and collaboration.

To view a livestream of today’s forum, click here.

To view the report, click here.

To view, the collaboration tool, click here.


GCAS Side Events

UMD will participate in several events this week at GCAS. On Tuesday, CGS led a Q&A for over 25 press members to share a first look at the results of Fulfilling America’s Pledge. On Thursday, September 13, CGS will support the official report launch of Fulfilling America’s Pledge with high-level officials from the state of California and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Nate Hultman will participate in other events on Thursday September 13 including ‘Assessing the opportunity for even greater impact: report highlights’ hosted by ClimateWorks Foundation, with support from Mission 2020 and The Climate Group, and moderate a discussion on ‘Building the Evidence Base for Accelerated Climate Action’ hosted by Brookings and UC Berkeley. A recording of “Building the Evidence Base for Accelerated Climate Action” will be available following the event.