The Climate Group launches Power to Act report analyzing vital role of subnational governments in accelerating climate action

William Brittlebank
Reading time: 4 minutes
21 September 2016

NEW YORK: The Climate Group has launched a key report at Climate Week NYC 2016 which analyses the crucial role of subnational governments in accelerating climate action and helping to deliver the Paris Agreement.  

The report, Power to Act: How subnational governments can tackle climate change together, is part of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance initiative which brings together the world’s most influential state and regional governments to catalyze the global transition to a low carbon economy.

The initiative enables governments to share expertise on innovative policy, report on measurable climate actions and drive ambitious emissions reductions, and the new report demonstrates how state, regional, and city policies are playing a vital role in the modern international climate change regime.

For many countries, delivering the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) climate pledges under the Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries in December, will depend on subnational governments going “farther and faster” than the national government and showing a clear leadership role.

The report assesses how the new “bottom up” climate regime that has been introduced through the Paris climate deal, makes it critical for subnational governments to cooperate and share knowledge, so that the most successful policies and programs are replicated globally. 

Evan Juska, Head of US Policy, The Climate Group, said: "In a 'bottom up' climate regime, it's critical that subnational governments share knowledge about which solutions are working the best. But this is complicated by the fact that states and cities in different countries often have very different legal authorities over a given policy area - so what works for a state in one country, might not even be possible for a state in another. 

Understanding these differences will allow governments to find their "global peers" governments with similar powers and circumstances from whom they can learn and share directly.”

The Power to Act report shows that subnational governments in different countries have varied levels of control over climate policy, enabling them to take different kinds of action and highlights the examples of the state governments of California (US), North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), Gujarat (India), and São Paulo (Brazil) taking different approaches to improving energy efficiency. 

The report analyses how in light of these differences, subnational governments can benefit from partnering with governments with similar powers and circumstances. 

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