SAN FRANCISCO – California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday abruptly canceled his plans to attend an international climate conference in Scotland next week, citing family problems.
It was news planning from Monday to lead a cadre of 15 legislators and heads of five state agencies at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow to promote California’s emission reduction policy and call for more action by other governments. His office attributed his dismissal to “family obligations,” but did not provide other details. Jennifer Siebel News’ first partner also canceled her participation.
Newsom’s seat will be taken by Governor Eleni Kounalakis, his office said.
Climate change has long been high on California’s agenda as the state aggressively seeks to limit fossil fuel consumption. Newsom has just issued a rule separating oil wells from homes and schools, giving a big win to environmentalists. He also planned to talk about his 2020 executive order banning the sale of internal combustion vehicles until 2035 and his recently adopted state budget, which contains about $ 15 billion over three years for electric vehicles, fire hazards and other climate programs.
Officials told reporters Friday that they would try to highlight the state’s strong economy; the costs of climate change, including fires and oil spills; its work in the field of environmental justice; and the fact that the state is not “waiting for Washington” to take action on the climate.
“We are all watching the president, cheering for him and our DC partners as they fight for an ambitious reconciliation law and an infrastructure package that prioritizes climate,” said senior climate adviser Lauren Sanchez. “While the fate of the package remains in the air, California is moving forward.”
Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger conversations in a skeptical light earlier this week and said that “nothing is being done” with them and that national commitments are not backed by emission reductions. Expectations are low, with officials from several countries warning that they may not be able to prevent temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
One official who intends to attend the talks said he would miss Newsom, but that the delegation would be fine without him.
“California’s climate change policy is not a single person, but a series of far-reaching experiments that have shown the world we lead and not follow,” said Dean Florez, a former state senator and member of the Air Resources Committee.
Carla Marinucci contributed to this report.