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Civic leaders, protesters converge on SF for Global Climate Summit

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Skateboarders perform tricks on the base of a 35-foot-tall polar bear sculpture erected near the Ferry Building to highlight this week’s Global Climate Summit. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Political leaders, representatives from businesses, nonprofits, and — of course — protesters from all over the world are set to descend on San Francisco this week for a climate change conference at the Moscone Convention Center.

The Global Climate Action Summit, spearheaded by Gov. Jerry Brown, began Wednesday with affiliated events scattered throughout The City, but will begin in earnest on Thursday.

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Conference organizers said it will showcase progress that has been made in recent years by cities, states and private companies, while also highlighting how much more is needed.

“President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris Agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America,” Brown said in a video on the conference website. “We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act.”

The Global Climate Summit is taking place at Moscone Center. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Attendance is by invitation only, but the proceedings will be livestreamed on the conference website. Hundreds of affiliate events open to the public will also be taking place across The City through the end of the week.

In advance of the conference, Brown met with international climate leaders from around the world on Wednesday, including representatives from China, Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador and Norway.

But the conference will also bring protesters who question whether Brown has done enough for climate change.

SEE RELATED: Activists plan marches, murals ahead of Gov. Brown’s climate summit

“We want to ensure that Gov. Brown gets a clear message of what’s happening locally in our communities,” said Darryl Molina Sarmiento, executive director of Communities for a Better Environment. She characterized the summit as a “trade show.”

A man holds a sign outside the Global Climate Summit at Moscone Center on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

“We are not about trying to give handouts to corporations,” she said. “Our communities are not for sale.”

Her organization is one of several that have formed Mass Action to End Jerry Brown’s Climate Cowardice, a coalition calling on Brown to stop issuing permits for oil drilling in California and the establishment of a 2,500-foot buffer zone between communities and drilling sites.

The coalition is organizing a protest this morning at Jessie Square, one block from the summit, and was soliciting volunteers who were willing to be arrested. A training workshop on nonviolent civil disobedience was announced for the night before.

“There will be direct action,” Sarmiento said, “but there is also going to be street theater, art and family friendly parts of the event. It’s a broad collation with different people playing different roles.”

Sarmiento said she expects thousands of protesters. “We have people from all over the world,” she said.

Demonstrators gathered outside Grace Cathedral on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. The protest was one of many planned around Gov. Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit. (Michael Toren/Special to the S.F. Examiner)


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