By Suzanne Potter

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November 3, 2021   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — This week, a contingent of local government officials from California and across the U.S. is headed to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow, Scotland.

The group is focused on sharing what American cities and counties are doing to reduce greenhouse gasses and learn best practices from around the world.

Pam O’Connor, former mayor of Santa Monica and current vice-chair of the group Local Governments for Sustainability, said she is glad the U.S. is re-engaging on climate change, after former President Donald Trump pulled the nation out of the Paris Agreement in 2019.

“The United States is back,” O’Connor asserted. “States have plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 50 to 52% by 2030. We want to be a partner with our federal government in achieving that goal.”

O’Connor pointed out California can serve as a model for other regions. Cities across the Golden State are “greening” their fleets of cars, buses, maintenance and trash trucks. Many have started municipal power companies that provide electricity from renewable sources. And last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to phase out gas-powered vehicles.

O’Connor added the leaders at the climate conference also need to keep equity in mind, worldwide.

“We need to be working to ensure that countries that are not as developed are able to get the support and finance they need to be able to grow in a way that is not building without any thought as to the impact on climate,” O’Connor urged.

Tuesday, world leaders reached an agreement to limit deforestation. The conference will continue until next Friday.