• Welcome to the System Change Not Climate Change Community Forum. The Forum's goal is to promote exchange of information, discussion, and debate among ecosocialists and other activists who share our belief that capitalism is driving climate change and that a radical international grassroots movement can stop it.

A People’s Climate Summit in San Francisco, September 2018?

Ted F

California Governor Jerry Brown is inviting[1] the world’s climate leaders to a “Global Climate Action Summit” he will host in San Francisco, September 12-14m 2018. Climate activists in the Bay Area and elsewhere are beginning to talk about People’s Climate Summit and various other ways to respond at the same time and place, and here’s why:

Although the New York Times hails[2] Jerry Brown as “America’s de facto leader on climate change,” here in California, we’ve gotten to know a different Jerry Brown[3] who pushes corporate-friendly “market solutions” favored by the fossil fuel industry. Under Brown’s leadership, the Global Climate Action Summit promises to promote the same ideas on a world stage.

While posing as “California’s climate-crusading governor,” Brown has refused to rein in fracking, refinery expansions, and efforts to construct a major coal export terminal in Oakland. Just this past July, he delivered a major blow to the grassroots environmental justice movement in California by cramming through the California Legislature a cap-and-trade program full of tax breaks and protections for the fossil fuel industry. Overnight, his bill undermined a four-year struggle to enact strict caps on carbon emissions of the Bay Area’s five major refineries.

Despite Brown’s flawed record, his call for a Global Climate Action Summit is a good idea. It is likely that hundreds if not thousands of representatives of government, NGO, and activist groups will come to San Francisco next September seeking a way forward in spite of the Trump Administration’s effort to impede global progress on climate.

A People’s Climate Summit can

· Welcome climate leaders from around the world who come for the Global Climate Action Summit as well as our own People’s Climate Summit

· Provide alternative forums for discussions that do not conform to the official corporatist and market-oriented agenda of Brown’s Summit

· Organize environmental and climate justice activists from around the world to work together on a people’s climate agenda

· Demonstrate in the streets that we will not tolerate false solutions being offered by climate pretenders like Jerry Brown who tacitly support the growth of fracking, expansions of oil refineries, and new coal infrastructure

· Promote solutions that look beyond capitalism and its worship of greed and profit as the central organizing principles for interaction among humans and with our home on Earth.

The environmental justice groups that were united against Brown’s recent cramdown of cap-and-trade are likely to form the backbone of local efforts (see list below). It will be important for organizing efforts to include these and other organizations representing frontline communities and people of color in the earliest stages of planning for next year’s response to Jerry Brown’s Summit.


Here is a list of climate, environmental justice, and community groups who opposed Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade bill (source: Climate Hawks Vote).

Californians for a Carbon Tax (CalFACT)
Sierra Club California
Courage Campaign
Fossil Free California
350 Bay Area
CA StateStrong
Ventura County Climate Hub
Wasteful and Unreasonable Methane Rising
Universal Income Project
Climate Hawks Vote
350 Conejo-San Fernando Valley
SoCal 350 Climate Action
350 Silicon Valley
Food & Water Watch
Sunflower Alliance
Friends of the Earth – US
California Environmental Justice Alliance
Indivisible East Bay
Communities for a Better Environment
Center for Biological Diversity
Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)
Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education
Progressive Democrats of America
Save Porter Ranch
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
Fight Climate Denial
Divest LA
La Union Hace La Fuerza
Comité Civico del Valle
California for Progress
San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, The Climate Mobilization
Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action
Oakland Climate Action Coalition
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
South Bay (Los Angeles) 350
Idle No More SoCal
No Coal In Oakland
Insight Center for Community Economic Development
FUN (Fremont, Union City, Newark) Progressives
Consumer Watchdog
Oil Change International
Climate Truth
Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

The following environmental NGOs supported Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade bill:

National Resource Defense Council

The Nature Conservancy

NextGen Climate

Union of Concerned Scientists

Environmental Defense Fund

Pacific Forest Trust

Audubon Society

Global Green

Conservation Corps of Long Beach

Environment California

Climate Resolve


Reading List on Climate Change: Root Causes, False Solutions, and True Grounds for Hope

Richard Smith, Green Capitalism, The God That Failed

Ian Angus, Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System

Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate and No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Barry Commoner, The Closing Circle: Nature, Man & Technology

Carol Dansereau, What It Will Take, Rejecting Dead-Ends and False Friends in the Fight for the Earth

The Official Website of Gov. Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit: Global Climate Action Summit 2018 (Sign up to be on the mailing list!)

[1] Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. - Newsroom

[2] Jerry Brown Announces a Climate Summit Meeting in California

[3] Ten Things Jerry Brown Could Do To Become A Green Governor
Last edited:

Ted F

The Global Climate Action Summit now has 4 co-hosts and a 6-member steering committee. I have added some information about the lesser known participants from Wikipedia and their organizations' websites.



Jerry Brown
Governor of California

Michael Bloomberg
U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change

Patricia Espinosa
Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change

Anand Mahindra
Chair of the Mahindra Group

From Wikipedia:
The Mahindra Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered at Mahindra Towers in Mumbai, India, with operations in over 100 countries around the globe. The group has a presence in aerospace, agribusiness, aftermarket, automotive, components, construction equipment, defence, energy, farm equipment, finance and insurance, industrial equipment, information technology, leisure and hospitality, logistics, real estate, retail, and two wheelers.

Steering Committee

Aron Cramer
President and CEO, BSR

From BSR's website:

Aron is recognized globally as a preeminent authority on sustainable business. In addition to leading BSR, which has grown substantially throughout his tenure as President and CEO, Aron advises senior executives at BSR’s more than 250 member companies and other global businesses on the full spectrum of social and environmental issues.

Aron joined BSR in 1995 as the founding director of its Business and Human Rights Program, and later opened BSR's Paris office in 2002, where he worked until becoming President and CEO in 2004. Aron serves on advisory boards to CEOs at Barrick Gold, Marks & Spencer, SAP, and Unilever North America, and he facilitates the AXA CEO advisory panel. He is also a director of the Natural Capital Coalition and We Mean Business as well as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Consumption.

Aron speaks frequently at leading business forums, and is widely quoted in top-tier media such as the Financial Times, Le Figaro (France), The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is co-author of the book Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World, which spotlights innovative sustainability strategies that drive business success.

Prior to joining BSR, Aron practiced law in San Francisco, and worked as a journalist at ABC News in New York. He holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Helen Clarkson

Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group

From Wikipedia:

he Climate Group is a non-profit organization that works internationally with business and government to promote clean technologies and policies, with the aim of expanding clean technology markets and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. After launching with the support of Tony Blair in 2004, the organization now has offices in the UK (headquarters), the United States, India, mainland China and Hong Kong. As of December 2010, The Climate Group's membership included 80 large companies and state/city-level governments from around the world, with members representing 15% of global GDP.

The Climate Group says it is one of the world’s first business and government alliances working to create solutions to climate change that are compatible with economic growth. It acts as the secretariat for the Under2 Coalition, an alliance of states and provinces around the world that are comitted to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero levels by 2050. The Climate Group works directly with government signatories and partners to drive net-zero ambition and action.

Solutions pursued by the organization include its technology programs, such as the LED 'Lightsavers' global trial taking place in cities such as New York City, Hong Kong and Kolkata; the Climate Principles project, under which financial institutions (including Credit Agricole, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Swiss Re, F&C Asset Management and BNP Paribas) agree to consider climate change when structuring their service and product offerings; the States and Regions Alliance, designed to encourage state, provincial and city government climate change initiatives; and publications assessing and promoting the potential value of low carbon technologies and policies.

The Climate Group also hosts a range of events such as Climate Week NYC in New York City, a week-long global forum examining clean technology policies and financing strategies.

It has partnered a range of initiatives and reports with organisations including the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSi), International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the CDP, the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences, the United Nations Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Office of Tony Blair and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBSCD).

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal

Leader, Climate and Energy Practice at WWF International and former President of COP 20

From Carnegie Council website:

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal is leader of the Climate and Energy Practice of WWF International. He was formerly minister of state for environment in Peru and president of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Twentieth Conference of Parties (COP20).

Pulgar-Vidal is a lawyer with over 27 years of experience in the fields of environmental law and policy. In 1986, he founded the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law, one of the most recognized organizations of environmental law in the region, where he served as executive director for 20 years. In his role as minister of state for environment in Peru he was responsible for proposing and defining Peru’s environmental policies, including those covering biodiversity and climate change. He was also in charge of implementing the countries’ environmental legislation and its enforcement policies.

Throughout his career, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal has participated in the development of environmental policy frameworks in many countries in the region, as an advisor to decision makers and many project initiatives. He has also managed various organizations and is a recognized leader in environmental management issues. He has authored many papers and articles and is a professor and lecturer in environmental law, environmental management, and natural resources.

Mark Watts

Executive Director, C40

From Wikipedia:

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) connects 90 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 650+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens.

The current chair of the C40 is Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo; the President of the Board is the 108th Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg, with Mark Watts serving as C40 Executive Director. All three work closely with the 13-member Steering Committee, the Board of Directors and C40 professional staff. The rotating Steering Committee of C40 mayors provides strategic direction and governance. Current Steering Committee members include: Amman, Boston, Copenhagen, Durban, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milan, Paris, Seoul, and Tokyo.

Working across multiple sectors and initiative areas, C40 convenes networks of cities providing a suite of services in support of their efforts, including: direct technical assistance; facilitation of peer-to-peer exchange; and research, knowledge management & communications. C40 is also positioning cities as a leading force for climate action around the world, defining and amplifying their call to national governments for greater support and autonomy in creating a sustainable future.

C40’s work is made possible by three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania.

Mindy Lubber

President & CEO of Ceres

From Ceres website:

Mindy S. Lubber is the CEO and President and a founding board member of Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Under her leadership, Ceres has launched visionary and practical guides, including The Ceres Blueprint for Sustainable Investing and The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, for investors and companies to succeed in the 21st century global economy.

Mindy leads negotiating teams of institutional investors, Fortune 500 CEOs and sustainability advocates who have taken far-reaching positions on corporate practices to tackle climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and human rights abuses. She briefs powerful corporate boards and directors on how climate change affects shareholder value, and regularly speaks about sustainability issues to high-level leaders at the New York Stock Exchange, United Nations, World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, American Accounting Association and the American Bar Association.

Mindy is a recognized thought leader and has received numerous awards for her leadership in helping to build a sustainable future. In 2016, she received the Climate Visionary Award from the Earth Day Network, and the William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership from American University’s Center for Environmental Policy. She was honored by the United Nations and the Foundation for Social Change as one of the World’s Top Leaders of Change, and is a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Change. Vogue Magazine recently named her a Climate Warrior for her contributions in mobilizing business support for the historic Paris Climate Agreement, and Directorship Magazine named her one of The 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance.

Mindy is often featured in top media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Financial Times, and has appeared on CNBC.com, National Public Radio, and other broadcasting outlets. She regularly pens blogs for Forbes, Huffington Post, and other popular news sites. In 2014, Mindy presented at TEDx Lake Geneva in Switzerland, highlighting the role of the private sector in solving climate change.

Prior to Ceres, Mindy held various leadership positions in government, financial services and the nonprofit sector. Mindy joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1995 as a Deputy Regional Administrator and was named Regional Administrator under President Bill Clinton in 2000. As Regional Administrator, she was responsible for the administration and management of the EPA’s New England Regional Office and its then $450 million annual budget. She organized aggressive cleanups of hazardous waste sites with a goal of redevelopment, job creation and urban revitalization, ensuring the protection of drinking water supplies and children’s health.

Mindy was also the Founder, CEO and President of Green Century Capital Management, a family of environmentally responsible mutual funds. She also served as Director of the Mass Public Interest Research Group.

Mindy holds a master’s in business administration from SUNY Buffalo and earned a law degree from Suffolk University. She resides in Brookline, Mass., with her husband and has two grown children.

Wael Hmaidan

Executive Director, Climate Action Network International

From CAN International website:

Wael Hmaidan is the Executive Director of CAN International, the largest network of International and national NGOs working on climate change with 20 offices around the world. He is also expert advisor to the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of 45 developing countries working on climate change. His work in CAN is to develop and coordinate the global strategy of the network on climate change. Mr. Hmaidan also advises various other governments, UN Agencies, and other institutions on climate change policy. He is a regular speaker on climate policy in various forums, including UNFCCC, UN General Assembly, UNDP, UNEP, OECD, etc. Mr. Hmaidan has more than 20 years of experience in climate change policy. His work on this issue started in his capacity as the Greenpeace campaigner for the Arab World, where he helped established the energy and marine protection campaign in the region. He has been attending all international climate change negotiations for the past eight years, and two years of those as a lead negotiator for the Lebanese government. Mr. Hmaidan obtained an Executive MBA degree from INSEAD, and a Masters in Environmental Science.


Thanks for this wealth of information on background for and the people behind the summit, Ted. Looks like a Who's Who of Green Capitalism!
Going forward, I think it will be important to reach out to the explicitly anti-capitalist North American and international organizations that have played roles in counter-summits at COPs. A good example is Grassroots Global Justice in the US. Maybe a national/international outreach subcommittee within the planning?