20 governments representing $8 trillion GDP is “just the start” for sub-national climate action, says Libby Ferguson

3 September 2015

LONDON: Sub-national governments are the “unsung heroes” in the fight against climate change, says Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group, in a new exclusive Climate TV interview in which she estimates a doubling of the already ambitious climate commitments from governments so far.

“We see a lot of action happening at the national government and at the city level. But there’s this important level of government in between that plays a very vital linking role”, the Director explains.

“What we’re seeing through our States and Regions Alliance – which is a network of 31 governments taking ambitious actions on climate and working together on that – is that these governments have the legislative capacity to do huge things and have huge impacts, but that attention is not always brought at this level. So they have lots of model that can be shared, but we’re not actually focusing enough on these policy models and not realizing the benefits of them.”


States and regions have been recently celebrated at the summits in Lyon and Toronto, which The Climate Group was partner of, that crucially happened six months before the international climate negotiations take place in Paris this December.

“That was a really important moment for bringing cities, states and regional governments together,” underlines Libby Ferguson. “They showed the huge amount of action and ambition that is taking place at this level of government, and provided the national governments and the international process with the confidence they need that there is this momentum and level of support behind them.”

During the summits, The Climate Group announced the first-ever results from the Compact of States and Regions, a commitment by governments to set an emission reduction target, but also – and most importantly – to report against that target on an annual basis.

“We saw 20 governments, representing over US$8 trillion in GDP, already bringing forward their climate commitments,” recalls Libby Ferguson. “And since these Summits we’ve got double that amount of governments coming forward with climate commitments. This is just the start of the momentum building, and these two summits mark the start of that.”

Libby Climate TV

In the video, Libby Ferguson warns that ahead of COP21, states and regions can – and must – play a crucial role, even if they are not officially part of the process.

For this reason, The Climate Group is “really helping the international process and national governments to better understand the level of action that is taking place below the national government level. And our hope is that in the longer term, the state and regional governments – and also city governments – will really contribute to that knowledge and expertise.”

This invaluable knowledge will also be at the core of this year’s Climate Week NYC, the international event which “will provide the opportunity for businesses and for key policymakers from state and provincial governments to come together, to discuss, to debate,” concludes Libby Ferguson, “but most importantly, to set the agenda for driving the low carbon transition beyond Paris.”


Our digital countdown to Climate Week NYC 2015 runs from September 1-20.

Each day The Climate Group is releasing exclusive conversations with key figures from the worlds of business and politics and beyond – through video, social media and blogs – as well as expert briefings. Follow @ClimateGroup for the latest.

See the full gallery of #CWNYC graphics and tweets to join the countdown, by clicking below.

#CWNYC 2015

Climate Week NYC is a key event in the international calendar that brings together leading governments, investors, businesses, innovators and opinion formers. The Climate Group launched Climate Week NYC in 2009, and has acted as the secretariat since its inception.

Host to more than 100 affiliate events from September 21-28, Climate Week NYC 2015 is the collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda. 

ClimateWeekNYC.org | @ClimateWeekNYC | #CWNYC

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