California Environmental Voters Education Fund attended the United Nations’ 28th annual climate change conference, Conference of the Parties (COP), in Dubai in December. COP is a global conference where elected officials, activists, and climate NGOs (non-governmental organizations) come together to establish goals for addressing the climate crisis.
At COP28, California’s leadership was a highlight at the conference, and our progress to make climate disclosure laws SB 253 and SB 261 was something other countries were excited about. In fact, the Canada and UK delegations wanted to meet with US — not the U.S.A. but us, EnviroVoters Ed Fund and the California delegation we hosted.
We spoke to representatives from the UK and Canada about our work on our sponsored bill SB 253 and how they could pass similar legislation to require corporations to disclose emissions.
A demonstration against fossil fuels by youth activists at COP28
Our Senior Political and Organizing Director Mike Young shakes hands with California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross
As an official observer, EnviroVoters Ed Fund helped bring California’s delegation — the largest of any subnation — to the conference, including Attorney General Rob Bonta and 12 state legislators. Simply put, we were there because we’re a political force in Sacramento, and we were a force in Dubai too.
Here’s a small snapshot of what we did:
- We met with the UK and Canada about SB 253.
- We met with Sri Lanka about offshore wind.
- We helped our state senators prepare for press conferences on 30×30 and California’s overarching climate leadership.
- We hosted a breakfast with California nonprofits, legislators, and Tribal Affairs Secretary Christina Snider-Ashtari, with whom we forged a strong relationship.
- We met former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry!
But an unfortunate trend has been occurring at COP, where every year more and more oil lobbyists show up, outnumbering environmental activists. In fact, this year’s conference was actually hosted by an oil executive.
Still, for the first time ever, almost every country left COP in agreement to transition away from fossil fuels, the main driver of the climate crisis. While the pledge is not as strong as we’d like, this step along with the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund for impacted nations, was only possible because of the activists and youth who remained engaged, protested, and pushed back against the omnipresent voice of corporate polluters.
It really mattered that we were there. EnviroVoters Ed Fund and other NGOs were among a minority of voices from the U.S. representing a voice for climate justice. Coming out of the conference, it’s clear that the pressure EnviroVoters Ed Fund puts on California to lead on climate with the support of members like you has worldwide implications.