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States and regions act on net zero emissions

19 November 2020, 17:12 GMT 2 min read

In the Under2 Coalition event ‘States and regions on the path to net zero’, which was hosted in partnership with Regions4, United Cities and Local Governments and the California Natural Resources Agency, speakers presented on what it means to be a net zero region before leading into a plenary discussion on the best ways to set and meet net zero targets.

Roseanna Cunningham

Each government reflected on what COVID-19 has meant both for the climate and for actions being taken to avert the worst effects of climate change. This means looking to a truly green recovery that safeguards environments at the same time as ensuring stable and competitive economies. Speakers therefore talked through steps to decarbonise sectors such as industry and energy but also about protecting and improving biodiversity through nature-based solutions.

Wade Crowfoot

Yesterday’s event, which also featured Thomas Hale – Associate Professor in Public Policy at Oxford University - took place during a month of new environmental commitments from states and regions:

  • South Australia announced it will allocate $18.3 million to jump-start the uptake of electric vehicles
  • Tasmania pledged to transition its car fleet to 100% electric vehicles by 2030
  • Québec published its Plan for a Green Economy, including a target of 100% zero emission vehicle sales by 2035
  • Navarra presented its Ecological Transition Strategy, Navarra Green, which covers 74 environmental, economic and social sustainability projects, aligned with the European Deal
  • Baden-Württemberg formally based its new Climate Protection Act, which includes a mandate to make photovoltaic panels compulsory on all new non-residential buildings and large carparks from 2022

Last week the Climate Group also hosted a Race to Zero event on the global transition to 100% zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). Here regions including Navarra and Delhi spoke of their commitments to greener transport. Delhi’s comprehensive new electric vehicle policy calls for 25% of all new vehicles to be battery operated by 2024 , while Navarra is installing new charging points, developing industrial opportunities and transitioning its public transport to run on electricity.

Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, who also spoke at the event, added:

Gavin Newsom

The transport sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, globally. Electric vehicles are seen as part of the solution and the market is expanding rapidly with sales growing from 450,000 in 2015, to 2.1 million in 2019. More action will be needed in this area at state and regional level to continue this trend and support growing demand for access to clean air across the world.

The Under2 Coalition is an official partner of the Race to Zero campaign and will continue to work with governments around the world to step up their targets ahead of COP26 in 2021.