New Under2 Coalition office in Brussels to support regional European climate action

Author: Virginia Bagnoli
Reading time: 3 minutes
18 May 2018

The Under2 Coalition is excited to announce that it has opened a new liaison office in Brussels.  The office will support the Secretariat to work more closely with European members and elevate the voice of the Under2 Coalition in Europe. An increased presence of the Under2 Coalition in Europe will also bring the attention of international and European institutions to the actions and ambitious reduction goals of regional governments in Europe and across the globe.

Helen Clarkson opening the Under2 Brussels Office

This month also marks the third anniversary of the founding of the coalition by the state governments of California and Baden-Württemberg.  Baden-Württemberg continues to demonstrate its climate leadership by providing an office to the Secretariat of the Under2 Coalition, The Climate Group, within their Brussels representation building.  

Baden-Württemberg’s Minister for the EnvironmentClimate Protection and the Energy Sector, Franz Untersteller said,   

“I’m very happy and proud that Baden-Württemberg can support the Under2 Coalition in Europe by providing them with an office in our Brussels representation. This will enable the coalition to build stronger ties with European regional governments and will increase the visibility of the coalition with EU institutions.”

Taking ambitious climate action at the regional level

As Europe is the largest constituency of the Under2 Coalition with more than 40 regional governments committed to decarbonise their economies, more engagement at the European level will help the coalition to achieve its aims in Europe and beyond.   

Many Under2 European signatories are already feeling the benefits of the move towards a low carbon economy, however much remains to be done and increased ambition is necessary by 2020 to provide certainty and stability to markets, citizens and authorities.

As the European Commission works on an updated climate strategy for 2050 and ongoing energy talks approach the finish line, regional governments in Europe have the opportunity to play a crucial role. By signaling their firm commitment to long term decarbonization and demonstrating their ability to implement progressive and innovative policies, with the support of the Under2 Coalition, regional governments are emerging as climate leaders.

The Under2 Coalition in Europe

By disclosing their climate action, regional governments demonstrate their ongoing commitment to ambitious climate action and help further ambition amongst peers and also in their national governments. Last year, 52 regional governments in the Under2 Coalition across Europe disclosed their climate and clean energy targets and action to CDP, in partnership with The Climate Group.

Seven European regional governments are partner regions of the Energy Transition Platform, which connects industrial regions to share experience on decarbonizing their economies. Due to their similarities, they can learn about their peers’ activities and policy initiatives in areas relating to their own energy transition challenges. Topics covered include engagement with industry, promoting community-based renewables, achieving emissions reductions in the heating sector and implementing energy storage.

Many regions are also experimenting with new policies. Navarra in Spain is building over 500 nearly zero-energy building (NZEB) units to provide affordable and energy efficient homes for their citizens. Upper Austria is implementing extensive information and education programs to transform its heating market, supporting both the demand and supply side. North Rhine Westphalia in Germany developed The Energy Dialogue NRW, offering on-the-ground support to stakeholder groups involved in renewable energy projects.

The Under2 Coalition in Europe going forward

The Under2 Coalition’s work in Europe will progress with a dedicated European Under2 Coalition strategy to give more visibility to the coalition’s work within Europe. This will help provide European and national policymakers with the real-life policies and success stories they need to take further action to keep the global rise in temperature to under 2°C.

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