Updated at 6:40 P.M. Monday, Dec. 14

California lawmakers cheered Saturday’s announcement of a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help prevent serious climate change.

On Monday, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas said that the increasing impacts of climate change around the world helped result in the international accord on this issue.

“I think, this time, why those who came have reached an agreement is because all the results of a changing climate have reached every corner of the globe,” said Salas, who left Paris shortly before the agreement was announced.

Salas, a former assemblywoman, was invited to the conference by the Local Climate Leaders Circle, which is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund.

She said Chula Vista became active in climate change 21 years ago, and adopted its first climate change plan in 2000.

The city’s plan to address carbon emissions will be taken up again next month, she said.

“The approach that local governments are taking is understanding that 70 percent of all carbon emissions come from cities,” Salas said.

“If you act locally, and make changes within your city — even small changes that ordinary people can do — that has an effect in reducing how fast our planet is being degraded,” Salas said.

“We’re all in this together, and that’s why there was agreement from countries that in other conferences were really skeptical and actually more detrimental in what we were trying to do.”

“There hasn’t been one country or one city that hasn’t been affected one way or the other — whether it be minor or to a great magnitude.”

The agreement, signed by 190 nations, commits world governments to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This will require significant reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is a historic turning point in the quest to combat one of the biggest threats facing humanity,” said Gov. Jerry Brown. “Activists, businesses and sub-national leaders now need to redouble their efforts and push for increasingly aggressive action.”

Brown spent five days at the conference in Paris, during which time he met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Brown and Moniz announced that California will host a clean energy conference in San Francisco next year.

The United Nations’s 21st Conference of the Parties on climate change, or COP21, was held in Le Bourget outside Paris.

“The Paris Agreement that was signed at the end of the United Nations’ COP21 conference is transformational,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who represents San Diego. “It will change the world’s approach to fossil fuels, and it establishes an achievable path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to respond to the potentially devastating changes caused by climate change.”

Atkins said the new agreement is not the end of actions that must be taken. “In California we know the serious damage climate change can cause to everything from our supply of food and water to the health of our neighborhoods to our national security,” she said.

The agreement calls for individual countries to ratify the deal and set their own limits on emissions.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Show comments

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.