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European Conference of Regions on Climate Change event, Lyon

Date
24 October 2011
European Conference of Regions on Climate Change event, Lyon

BRUSSELS: The European Conference of Regions on Climate Change, co-organized by The Climate Group member the Rhone-Alpes Region, nrg4SD and The Climate Group, took place in Lyon, France, on October 20-21, 2011.

It brought together over 300 representatives of regional and local governments, businesses, institutions and civil society organizations from Europe and beyond, in order to promote a strong role for sub-national governments in the Clean Revolution.

Mohamed Aslam, Minister for Housing and the Environment, Maldives, opened the conference with an urgent call for ambitious GHG reduction targets and international solidarity in addressing the already increasingly evident impacts of climate change.

Discussions culminated in the Lyon Declaration of regions for Climate Action, which was signed by Jean-Jack Queyranne, President of the Regional Council of the Rhone-Alpes region, Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group and Lluís Recorder i Miralles, Minister for Territory and Sustainability of Catalonia, Co-Chair of nrg4SD and member of The Climate Group, and representatives from participating regions the Basque Country, Baden-Württemberg, Brittany, Brussels Capital Region, Ile-de-FranceLombardy, Sao Paulo, Scotland, Wales and Wallonia.

The Declaration formulates sub-national governments’ expectations for strong climate agreements and policies at both the international and European level. It also urges decision-takers to take into account the role of states and regions in bringing about the necessary changes, by piloting innovative policies in their territories and implementing policies close to the citizens. 

The Lyon Declaration was presented to high-level representatives of the European Commission and the UN and will be taken to the UN Climate Conference in Durban in South Africa (COP 17) and the Rio+20 Summit next year. 

At the conference, Premier Rann of South Australia also announced Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond as this year’s winner of the International Climate Change Leadership Award, honoring his long-term commitment to leading Scotland towards a low carbon future.

The Scottish government has set itself an ambitious target of reducing emissions by 42% from 1990 levels and aims at 100% of its electricity consumption to come from renewable energy sources by 2020

Helmfried Meinel, Director General in the Ministry for Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector of Baden-Württemberg, representing Minister Franz Untersteller, announced the German state’s intention to become a member of The Climate Group as of January 2012. It will also organize a follow-up European Conference of Regions next year. 

The signing of the Declaration followed a day of in-depth exchanges on the three work streams of sustainable transport, energy efficiency and international solidarity for adaptation. Each of the workshops highlighted the best practices of regional governments, analyzing the lessons learned from the challenges and opportunities in the respective areas.

Luc Bas, Director of European Programs, The Climate Group lead a workshop on the financing of energy efficiency. Stefano Panighetti, European Commission, José Lopez, Energy Project Leader, Ile-de-France; Colin Imrie, Deputy Director for Energy and Head of International Climate Change, Government of Scotland, Alvaro Perez de Laborda, Basque Energy Agency, Jean Pierre Sicard, Director General of French regional development bank Caisse de Depot Climat, Adam McCarthy, Johnson Controls, Christian Labie, Rhonalpénergie-Environment, Oliver Salvat, Dalkia France and Ana Oregi, City of Vitoria-Gasteiz discussed how sub-national governments and businesses can contribute to overcoming the challenges of financing large scale energy efficiency investments by developing innovative mechanisms and public-private partnerships.

Robin Haycock, Head of Transport, The Climate Group, presented a new EV Policy Initiative within the EV20 program that aims to develop a global network of ambitious regions to exchange data on their EV policies and jointly analyze their effectiveness.

Tali Trigg, IEA, Gabriel Audet, Government of Quebec - who will be leading this new initiative - and Dr. Andreas Ziolek, EnergyAgency, NRW lead the debate between representatives of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Brittany, Scotland, and further interested regions on how to take this project further over the coming years.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “The Clean Revolution is already underway and states and regions around the world are at the forefront of this growing global movement. The Climate Group is delighted to be working closely with the regions in its international States and Regions Alliance and applauds the Lyon Declaration. This conference, which has highlighted the many exciting initiatives that are taking place around Europe, and the accompanying commitments in the Lyon Declaration, demonstrate that sub-national governments will continue to be the drivers of the transition to a prosperous, low carbon society.”

“The European Regions and Federated States haven’t waited to reduce their GHG emissions and to prepare their territories to climate impacts, as we have been showing in Rhone-Alpes since 2004 by installing an Eco Region”, underlined Jean-Jack Queyranne, President of the Rhone-Alpes Region. “Through this declaration, we are today speaking with one voice about the climate solutions already implemented and the future challenges to still overcome.”

Lluís Recoder i Miralles, co-chair of nrg4SD and Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Catalonia said: "In the last years, sub-national governments have concretely shown that they take their climate change responsibilities in a more proactive way than ever before. In fact, their accomplishments in this area have grown tremendously in sophistication and effectiveness. The Declaration we are signing today demonstrates that the important lessons being learned at sub-national level can often feed into and improve national policy and shape more ambitious and innovative responses to climate change. This is why we believe that the revenues originated from CO2 auctioning should be allocated to climate action and more financial means given to sub-national governments to deploy climate initiatives."

Press release: European regions sign Lyon Declaration, call for climate action

Member: Rhone-Alpes Region

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