State of California signs the Rio Branco Declaration


GCF Task Force

California, USA – Mary Nichols, Chair of California’s Air Resources Board (ARB), represented the State of California’s commitment to critical climate action by signing a landmark climate agreement today, the Rio Branco Declaration. This declaration commits signatories to reducing deforestation by 80% by the year 2020 contingent upon international, performance-based financing. When implemented, the Rio Branco Declaration will yield more climate mitigation benefits than the Kyoto Protocol.

“As one of the founding members of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, California is proud to lend its support to the Rio Branco Declaration. The Declaration is another stepping stone on the road to success in 2015 UN climate negotiations in Paris. It also reaffirms our commitment to explore sector-based offsets in the California cap-and-trade program. Reducing emissions from the destruction of tropical forests is essential to fighting climate change. I am pleased to partner with other states and provinces to advance solutions to this global threat.”

Mary D. Nichols, California Air Resources Board Chairman.

California now joins 21 other states and provinces from Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Spain, and the U.S in this initiative. All signatories are members of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), a robust network of states and provinces from around the world committed to jointly addressing climate change by curbing deforestation, and promoting low-emissions development.

“We are very happy to have the state of California alongside the other members of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force and part of this very important declaration for climate and forests. This declaration was initiated in Acre, Brazil, and we are seeing many advances in only one year. It is an honor to have California with us on this pathway for enhancing forest protection, reducing carbon emissions, and improving opportunities for sustainable development with emphasis on traditional forest communities.”

Tião Viana, Governor of Acre, Brazil, and 2014 Annual Meeting Host and Chair.

More than 25% of the world’s tropical forests are in GCF states and provinces, including more than 75% of Brazil’s and Peru’s, and more than half of Indonesia’s. The declaration originated in 2014 in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. GCF signatories of the Rio Branco Declaration have also pledged that a substantial share of any pay-for-performance benefits will flow to forest-dependent communities, farmers, smallholders, and Indigenous Peoples. As the Chairman of California’s Yurok Tribe, Thomas O’Rourke, noted, “This is our ecosystem, it is our life. When anything is removed from the ecosystem, this delicate system starts to unravel. Restoring our forests and lands is critical to repairing our global climate.”

California’s participation in the Rio Branco Declaration demonstrates a solid commitment to concrete actions that promote low-emissions development and reduce deforestation from “the demand side” of climate issues, countries in the U.S. and Europe that are the largest greenhouse gas emitters.

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