Leading sub-national governments outline their collective political position at COP21

Reading time: 4 minutes
30 November 2015

PARIS: Today more than 30 leading sub-national governments from the most economically powerful regions in the world, have released a paper urging the negotiators who have just arrived at the COP21 climate talks in Paris to agree an ambitious long-term agreement.

The new 'position paper' outlines the great achievements governments of The Climate Group's States & Regions Alliance have already made toward tackling climate change, and spotlights their now critical role at COP21.

“The climate leadership shown by state and regional governments around the world is not to be ignored”, says Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director at The Climate Group. “States and regions are important stakeholders in the Paris process.

“It is this level of government that will play a key role in delivering against decisions made in Paris and it is states and regions who are already demonstrating that bold climate measures can not only be achieved ahead of time, but bring enormous benefits to local people and economies.” 

UNSUNG CLIMATE HEROES

In fact, many state and regional governments have already committed to the Under 2 MOU – driven by The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance members of California and Baden-Württemberg – which commits governments to reduce their emissions by 80-95% based on a 1990 baseline, or to achieve a per capita emissions target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050.

The climate talks which begin today in the French capital, are an ideal moment to recognize states and regions' fundamental role in shifting to a global low carbon economy, casting a light on these "unsung climate heroes".

The paper published by the Alliance shares the collective position of these states and regions on many climate issues, that are important both during and after Paris. These include five-year renewal periods to account for new innovative policies and technologies, as well as redoubled action on adaptation due to their being closer to communities affected by climate disruption than national governments.

But in order to help them achieve these targets, world leaders at COP21 must ramp up climate finance that supports the innovative policies already taking place at the regional level. Putting a price on carbon is one of the best options to scale up such investments and stimulate clean technology competition, the governments agree.

LOW CARBON PATHWAY

Each member of the States & Regions Alliance has already made individual commitments to combat climate change. These individual efforts have been reported through the Compact of States and Regions – which covers millions of citizens. 

These commitments and actions include ambitious emissions reductions, renewables and energy efficiency targets. Some of the members have already successful established cross-border carbon markets, raising billions for clean tech deployment.

Together, the 33 members of the States & Regions Alliance – spanning Europe, the Americas, South Asia, Australia, and Africa – are building a low carbon future through such actions and policies. Recently, British Columbia joined the Alliance and more governments will be announcing their membership during COP21.

“At COP21 The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance celebrate its 10th anniversary,” remarks Libby Ferguson. “For 10 years, our member governments – from California to Gujarat, to South Australia – have been driving climate ambition and scaling up innovative policy solutions.”

Bold government leadership at every level is rewarded with stronger, healthier and more sustainable economies, and it’s crucial to ramp up climate ambition during Paris. Monitor the confidence of business and government leaders about a strong climate deal being struck at COP21 by checking The Climate Group’s #ClimateBarometer.

By Gabriella Romano

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