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Are Global Warming Summits Still Cool? – The New York Times

But the state’s working goal for full carbon neutrality is not statutorily binding and not set to happen until 2045, long past the point of political accountability for most current office holders. Environmentalists and legislators have complained that the state climate regulator has focused on that long-term date in its planning process, potentially to the detriment of near-term actions. Meanwhile, the planet is warming, and California is being slammed by climate-driven wildfires, floods, megadroughts and blistering heat waves.

“People love to pledge targets,” Cullenward said. “The problem is, we focus too much on the pledging and not enough on the getting it done.”

Brown and Schwarzenegger are impatient, too.

Last week, at a conference organized by state air quality regulators, Schwarzenegger said that the COP summit’s emphasis on the long view had distracted from the immediate need to stop polluting.

“What does a promise and a pledge mean in the end?” he said. “Nothing. It’s just over and over, year after year, they make these pledges and they come out to declare victory, but then nothing is getting done.”

Schwarzenegger will participate this week in a virtual chat on climate and the economy with a co-founder of LinkedIn, one of the summit’s corporate attendees, according to a spokesman, and may appear at a climate-related event at the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California.

In an interview, Brown said he was staying home because the state’s 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 reach their targets.

However, he agreed on the need for action.

“This is a moment to bite the bullet, not gum the marshmallow,” Brown said. “This is an existential threat.”

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