LONDON: States and regions are driving climate action toward a below 2 degrees Celsius world, but more and long-term ambition is needed to achieve this bold goal – the new Compact of States and Regions Disclosure report shows.
Published annually by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, the Disclosure Report provides a transparent platform for collecting climate data and concrete actions by States and regions around the world. The lessons from this and subsequent editions could serve to inform international discussions on raising ambition and stimulate transparency across all levels of government.
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change stated in the report’s foreword: "This second edition of the report is powerful evidence how these governments continue to go the extra mile in bold climate policies and action. It is particularly heartening to see that some states and regions are already targeting net zero emissions."
To date 62 states, regions and provinces have joined the Compact of States and Regions, representing 443 million citizens.
Together, they emit 3.1 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, more than the combined emissions of India and Canada, and represent US$12.9 trillion in GDP, equivalent to 17% of the global economy.
“The high level of action that we have seen from state, provincial and regional governments over the past two years has taken place against the remarkable backdrop of the signing and ratification of the landmark Paris Agreement,” underlined Damian Ryan, acting CEO of The Climate Group.
“The work by these states and regions show that as the world becomes more uncertain at national level, state and regional governments are in the vanguard for driving climate action forward.”
The historic Paris Agreement reached last December sets a clear trajectory for the world to steer well below 2 degrees Celsius, the limit science indicated to avoid the worst effects of climate change. However, the climate pledges indicated by national governments are not enough to reach this necessary goal.
Governments disclosing to the Compact are showing how ambition can be raised. The recent COP22 in Marrakech has reconfirmed the need for shared leadership between countries, states, provinces and regions and other non-state actors.
This year, the number of governments involved in the Compact grow by more than 40%, disclosing almost 1300 sector specific climate actions. The continued momentum from this level of government will help to ensure that the agreement reached in Paris is passed from national governments to all levels of government, and ultimately to all citizens.
Delivering on all disclosed GHG reduction goals would reduce their per capita carbon intensity by roughly 65% by mid-century, from 9.8 tCO2e/capita to 3.4 tCO2e/capita – and nearly a fifth of governments with 2020 reduction goals have already met their target.
Moreover, progress towards achieving the reduction goals is underway with 65% of governments with base year emissions reduction goal currently below their base year emissions and several having already met or exceeded their 2020 targets.
The cumulative savings resulting from their targets are equal to 2.1 GtCO2e by 2020, 7.6 GtCO2e in 2030 and 25.1 GtCO2e in 2050. These impressive numbers show how these governments are on track to put the 2 degrees world within reach by 2020.
However, in order to keep up the momentum post-2020, the data also reflects the urgent need to set long-term, ambitious targets – in particular for 2050. The report also urges governments to complement their long-term targets with deep-decarbonization pathways. Identifying these pathways from the outset is critical in ensuring that decision-makers understand the costs, risks, and trade-offs associated with different policy choices.
“This annual Disclosure Report is rapidly becoming the global benchmark for transparency and accountability on climate change mitigation,” added Patricia Espinosa in the report.
“I would urge more states and regions around the world to join and start disclosing in 2017 and far beyond, to secure a better future for us all.”