NEW YORK: Less than two years after the launch of the Compact of States and Regions, 61 governments are now voluntarily reporting annually on their climate strategies. The initiative, driven by The Climate Group and CDP, has slowly become the global benchmark for transparency and accountability on climate change mitigation.
With a 38% increase since the first reporting period in 2015, the Compact of States and Regions now includes governments spanning 6 continents and 22 countries. Together they have disclosed over 100 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, over 50 targets to increase their share of renewables and over 40 energy efficiency targets.
Representing over 400 million citizens and 15% of the global economy, this pioneering group of governments includes states that rival some of the largest and most highly developed nations in the world, as well as rural areas and territories already heavily affected by climate change. With a great diversity in geography, culture, and socioeconomics they are united in taking their collective responsibility to monitor progress against their climate targets.
"As we work tirelessly towards meeting our commitments as contained in the Under2 MOU and the Rio Branco Declaration, of which Cross River State is a signatory, we solicit support to help us strengthen institutions in the forestry, agricultural, industrial and energy sectors to combat climate change," said Dr Alice Ekwu, The Honourable Commissioner for Climate Change and Forestry, Cross River State. "We are already strengthening our workforce in these sectors through state government recruitment of more young men and women and capacity building through programmes like UN REDD+ readiness."
Hailed at COP21 as a historic collective initiative, the Compact of States and Regions is a landmark initiative for provinces, states, and regions to publicly commit to setting ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It offers governments an international public forum to set goals and report data on a series of factors, including greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, and renewable energy supply.
"The Compact of States and Regions now tracks climate progress for over 400 million citizens around the world," commented Damian Ryan, acting CEO, The Climate Group. "This will help build trust and ensure that commitments to reduce emissions are turned into action. The response this year to our initiative shows once again how critical state and regional governments are in moving our economies and societies to a prosperous net-zero emissions future. We congratulate these pioneering states and regions for leading the way and call on others to join them."
Paul Simpson, CEO, CDP also commented: "The fact that the Compact of States and Regions continues to go from strength to strength, with even more governments joining this year, is testament to the initiative’s capacity to catalyze climate action and help deliver the Paris Agreement. Tracking progress against this will be fundamental, and the disclosures from states and regions will enable these governments to see how and where they can drive further action."
Launched in 2015, the first annual Compact Disclosure Report was applauded by Ban-ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. The report was the first ever global account of the GHG reduction targets made by sub-national governments and showed that the 2015 disclosed targets can result in cumulative emissions reductions of 12.4 gigatonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide by 2030 - greater than China's emissions in 2012. This report will act as a benchmark for years to come with a new disclosure report due at the end of this year.
The aim of the Compact of States and Regions is to make disclosure of climate data become the new standard amongst states and regions globally, ensuring that governments are on track to meet their short-term, as well as medium to long-term mitigation commitments.