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Building bridges out of emissions data - Mannheim2020

9 October 2020, 16:41 BST 3 min read

Last week, at the ICLEI 9th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns - Mannheim 2020 - we brought together governments and partners from our Climate Footprint Project to discuss the importance of building partnerships for tracking emissions and accelerating climate action.

Co-founder of the Under2 Coalition, Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector, Baden Württemberg, opened the session and spoke of the work the coalition has undertaken over the past five years to build a strong network of state and regional governments committed to climate action. He also emphasised the role of members in supporting one another, especially where national governments are not prioritising climate change but regional leaders want to act.

“The Under2 Coalition is a success story because it has brought the initially abstract issue of global warming closer to the people.” 

Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector, Baden Württemberg

This was followed by a sobering introduction from Dr. Karsten Sach, Director General, German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), who acknowledged the current global landscape and the difficulties faced by governments and businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many others have already done, he argued for a truly sustainable recovery over the coming months and years and a focus on equality and justice. In his own words, “A Covid recovery can and must be green.”

During the event, the Climate Footprint Project states of Pernambuco, Brazil, and Jalisco, Mexico, shared their first-hand experiences of participating in the project and emphasised the benefits of state-level emissions tracking. Both states spoke of the need for governments to start at the beginning when tackling the causes of climate change: understanding where emissions are being generated before developing effective plans to reduce them.

Sergio Graf Montero of Jalisco also discussed Mexico’s General Climate Change Law, which mandates the development of a greenhouse gas inventory.

“Emissions tracking is important for Jalisco because it allows us to have a baseline of emissions to start from, as well as the contributions in emissions of each sector. From this, we can guide public policy towards concrete actions and goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Sergio Graf Montero, Secretary of State, Jalisco, Mexico

Jalisco itself, through the Climate Footprint Project, has now established its third inventory, while Pernambuco has developed its first inventory through the project. Both states are now developing indicators and working across sectors to begin tracking mitigation actions.

“For Pernambuco, it is clear that in order to face climate change we need to join efforts between all sectors of society and all levels of government.”

Paulo Câmara, Governor of Pernambuco, Brazil

Tim Ash Vie, Director of the Under2 Coalition, then moderated a panel discussion with a diverse range of participants representing perspectives from Under2 Coalition co-chair, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, as well as Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) and ICLEI, partner organisations of the Climate Footprint Project.


  • Member of the Executive Council (MEC) Nomusa Dube-Ncube for KwaZulu-Natal's Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA)
  • Linda Somazembe, Climate Change Monitoring and Reporting Advisor, eThikwini Municipality
  • Yachika Reddy, Project Manager, Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA)
  • Maryke Van Staden, Director of the Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting, ICLEI

Together, the panellists explored the development of state and city-level greenhouse gas inventories, with a particular focus on multi-level governance. They highlighted the need to engage stakeholders from across government departments and improve climate governance structures in order to enhance climate action.

Speaking on KwaZulu-Natal’s involvement in the Climate Footprint Project, Member of the Executive Council (MEC) Nomusa Dube-Ncube for KwaZulu-Natal's Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), commented on the importance of monitoring the province’s greenhouse gas emissions and working with stakeholders to drive a low-carbon transition and contribute to a 2050 net-zero vision.

The event closed with a strong call for increased action and ambition by states and regions ahead of COP26, and throughout this crucial decade of climate action. With the support of the Climate Footprint Project, states and regions are working to improving their greenhouse gas emissions tracking and reduction efforts while inspiring other governments to do the same.

Building bridges out of emissions data - event recording