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Baden-Wurttemberg and California welcome 43 new signatories to the Under 2 MOU initiative

Date
09 December 2015
Baden-Wurttemberg and California welcome 43 new signatories to the Under 2 MOU initiative

PARIS: The sub-national governments of Baden-Württemberg and California welcomed 43 new signatories to the Under 2 MOU climate agreement today in Paris at COP21.

At a signing ceremony, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined the Federal Republic of Germany and the German state of Baden-Württemberg welcomed the new signatories, which brings the tally to 123 jurisdictions representing more than 720 million people and US$19.9 trillion in combined GDP. This is the equivalent of more than the world's biggest economy, the US, and more than a quarter of the global economy.

“We are building a global force of cities, states – and even countries – to reduce carbon pollution and protect the wellbeing of people everywhere,” said Governor Brown. “After Paris, the real work begins: to follow through on our commitments.”

With today’s signing ceremony, the number of signatories has almost doubled in one week.

During the event, California and Baden-Württemberg, who spearheaded the Under 2 MOU, announced that The Climate Group will take on the role of secretariat for the pact. We will support the signatories in sharing their expertise and help governments deliver on their commitments.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, said: "The California and Baden-Württemberg governments have created a leadership platform in the form of the Under 2 MOU, helping generate unprecedented momentum in the lead up to Paris. State and regional governments continue to be drivers of climate action and are focused on long-term decarbonization because it makes economic sense.

"By becoming secretariat and bringing the Compact of States and Regions closer together with the MOU, The Climate Group will help to ensure that governments continue to deliver on these commitments in a transparent, public way and come together to overcome policy challenges. This year the MOU has driven long term decarbonization targets; in the years ahead it's about working together to ensure we meet these ambitious targets."

The Under 2 MOU is an agreement to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the scientifically-agreed limit of global warming to avoid runaway climate change. Signatories commit to either cut greenhouse gas emissions 80-95% below 1990 levels or limit per capita annual emissions to less than 2 metric tons by 2050. 

The 43 new signatories include seven sub-national jurisdictions: Drenthe, the Netherlands; Hesse, Germany; Andalusia, Spain; Loreto, Peru; the state of São Paulo, Brazil; Pays de la Loire, France, and Quintana Roo, Mexico. Three nations joined Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK in signing the Under 2 MOU: Costa Rica; Panama; and Peru and the Association of Regions of Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the 31 regions of the West African nation, as well as two autonomous districts. 

“Initiatives such as the Under 2 MOU demonstrate that regions all over the world are engaged in countering climate change. Our actions will bring the necessary change,” said Secretary of Environment for the state of São Paulo, Brazil Patrícia Iglecias

Minister of Environment and Energy for the province of Drenthe, the Netherlands Tjisse Stelpstra added, “The world needs a lot of support from everyone to achieve our climate goals. Within the different regions is a lot of activity that contributes to our common ambition. We’d like to share our best practices and to learn from each other. That’s the only way to succeed!”

The Under 2 MOU's goals include:

  • developing mid-term targets to support long-term reduction goals;
  • sharing technology, scientific research and best practices around efficiency and renewables;
  • expanding zero-emission vehicles;
  • monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • improving air quality by reducing short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane; and
  • assessing the projected impacts of climate change on communities.

Speaking about the ambitious feat of Under 2 MOU at the conference in Paris, Governor Jerry Brown concluded: “Never underestimate the challenge. The challenge is to transform the entire world economy in just a few decades. There has never been a conscious commitment of that magnitude ever in human history. While climate change presents possibility of catastrophe, it also presents the opportunity of humans rising above their narrow colloquial egotism and nationalism to sense the possibility of a common endeavour for a common good.”

He added: “We are citizens of the world, not just of our neighbourhood, state, province or country. […] Threat can only be solved by a common endeavour between all national states. 

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