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Legions of regions rally to set world on clean-tech pathway ahead of global climate deal

Date
15 December 2009
Legions of regions rally to set world on clean-tech pathway ahead of global climate deal

Climate Group leaders show world leaders how to cut emissions

Copenhagen, 15 December 2009: Administrator to the United Nations Development Program Helen Clark and business leaders joined the largest meeting of sub-national leaders ever at a COP this morning. Together they voiced a joint commitment to implement a global deal on climate change.

The Climate Leaders Summit 2009, convened by international non-profit The Climate Group, gave platform to HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Shai Agassi, Founder & CEO of Better Place, First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, Premier Rann of South Australia and Premier Charest of Quebec, among others. Each made an individual announcement on new low carbon initiatives in front of 60 leaders and ministers from around the world.

"Integrating what we do on the environment and the climate with what we do on development is essential," said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. "There is no simple choice to be made between fostering growth and development or protecting our climate and ecosystems. Both objectives are essential, and fully compatible."

The Climate Group chose this moment to announce a series of cross-sector working groups that will drive the uptake of key low carbon technologies by breaking down barriers and reducing cost. 

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco announced a working group with The Climate Group that will put more electric vehicles on our roads.  Leaders from auto manufacturers and electric vehicle value chain to financiers and regional governments met yesterday to discuss the 'EV20', a global initiative to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles by focusing on policy, finance and deployment.

Prince Albert II said, "The EV20, convened by The Climate Group with the support and collaboration of my Foundation will work to turn electric vehicles into a mass market solution to climate change by mobilizing leading public and private players to adopt bold new EV projects, policies and commitments, identify and address barriers, and share emerging understandings around best practices and we'd like all the leaders in this field to join us."

"IEA figures show that transportation accounts for 23% of the world's CO2 emissions," said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO, Better Place. "Increasingly, government and industry recognize the shift to electric transportation as an environmental solution as well as an economic opportunity. We're making it happen here in Denmark to show the world that CO2 reduction is possible with today's technology."

The Planetary Skin Institute (PSI) was launched at the event. This unique cross-sectoral collaboration aims to research and develop near to real-time monitoring of global environmental conditions and changes. The PSI will provide trusted information to support decisions, rationalize investment and build global consensus on the actions required to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Steve Howard, commented on his membership of the PSI Global Advisory Council, "As CEO of The Climate Group I have seen the power of partnerships. The PSI offers a collaborative approach to tackle the most complex and pressing problems of the 21st century."

Howard went on to formally launch LightSavers an international program led by The Climate Group, that is transforming how we light the world by bringing LED lighting and smart controls to scale globally. LightSavers has launched a global trial to test the efficacy and cost savings of outdoor LEDs in cities beginning with Adelaide, Hong Kong, Kolkata, London, Mumbai, New York, Tianjin and Toronto.

Speaking in support of this announcement from the C40 Mayors event in Copenhagen today, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said, "London is pleased to be working with The Climate Group to progress trials of energy busting street lighting to speed up their uptake. The potential to cut the city's carbon emissions and energy bills with new technologies is huge. By working in partnership, cities have the clout to catalyse the market for greener technologies and drive down procurement costs. We are already taking a series of ambitious yet practical steps to cut carbon in London by 60 per cent by 2025 which includes the installation of 3000 LED traffic lights from 2010."

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond stepped up to formally announce signing a joint statement on co-operation with President Nasheed of the Maldives.

The First Minister said, "The world's nations can meet the global climate change challenge by working together to find the solutions to protect and safeguard our planet.  Scotland, which already has the most ambitious legislation in the world, will now be working in partnership with The Maldives to share knowledge and technology on how we can mitigate and respond to the huge challenges posed by climate change. The signing of this partnership agreement will see Scotland support President Nasheed and The Maldives to become the worlds first carbon neutral country and in turn provide the inspiration to create a greener, more sustainable future for us all."

Premier Rann of South Australia, who chairs The Climate Group's States & Regions Alliance, said, "50-80% of emissions cuts agreed under a global deal will be achieved through the actions of sub-national governments according to the UNDP."

He introduced regional leaders from around the world including Governor Jos Serra, Sao Paulo, President Jos Montilla, Catalonia, President Jean-Paul Huchon, Ile de France, First Minister Carwyn Jones, Wales, Governor Jim Doyle, Wisconsin, Governor Chris Gregoire, Washington, Premier Gordon Campbell, British Columbia, Premier Greg Selinger, Manitoba who committed to a range of new initiates putting them at the forefront of action to address climate change. These included ambitious targets for renewable energy, rolling out smart meters, closing coal-fired power stations and investing in solar manufacturing.

Quebec Premier, Jean Charest summarized, "Sub-national governments are already getting on with implementing initiatives to transform their economies and make the real changes required. Today we signed a statement that commits us to leading on policies and programs to expand low carbon technologies and to build further partnerships and networks between developed and developing country regions to tackle climate change together."

The Climate Leaders Summit 2009 will feature further high-level roundtable discussions on 'Radical Efficiency', clean power and developed and developing country collaboration on climate change mitigation and adaptation, where 8 agreements will be signed.

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, said: "Although we urgently need to see a strong signal from global leaders at the end of the week, sub-national government and business have the power to make a rapid transformation to a low carbon economy.  Today we have seen commitments that match the challenge. But we need others to step up. Ultimately, those who do will be leading the world into the next decade and beyond."

In Copenhagen, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger added, "Just as the California tailpipe emissions standard created a model for a national vehicle standard in the US, sub-national governments have set out to prove that if they can do it, nations can do it too."

For a copy of the full press release, click here.

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