CANCUN, 8 December 2010: Day two of the Climate Leaders Summit, set on the sidelines of the UN’s COP16 negotiations in Cancun, opened on Tuesday with the Clean Revolution Ceremony. The Climate Group gathered leading businesses as well as members of their States and Regions Alliance, a coalition of the world’s most influential state and regional governments on climate change, to announce new commitments to further drive a clean industrial revolution.
Today’s meeting allowed government and business leaders to reaffirm the commitments made at last year’s Climate Leaders Summit at COP15 in Copenhagen, while also demonstrating the actions and policies they have taken to cut emissions since then. The tone set was one of excitement, and one of belief.
Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP commented on the levels of leadership that are inherent in the work being undertaken: “Together, with the kinds of leadership united in this room here and throughout the world, we are perfectly capable of reinventing our economies to be compatible with the climate change safer future.”
Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank, echoed Steiner’s consensus that none are waiting to act – “we’re not letting the issue of climate change steal our future; we want to be part of a new revolution of climate smart competiveness”. Premier Charest of Quebec also agreed, saying: “we believe that in regards to the issue of climate change, it’s not enough to participate and observe – we need to lead.”
Since the forming of the States and Regions Alliance in 2005, members have endorsed the Montreal Declaration and the Copenhagen Statement, and have now issued the Cancun Statement, which pledges to ramp up efforts to promote energy efficiency, support the transition to a low carbon transport system and encourage renewable energy generation. Further action is being taken – South Australia announced that to date, The Climate Group’s States & Regions network has collectively planted 300 million trees as part of the Billion Trees Initiative set at COP15; Upper Austria revealed their ambitious target to shift to 100% renewables by 2030, and also announced its membership – along with the regions of Rhone-Alpes and Quintana Roo – to The Climate Group.
Lord Nicolas Stern, Professor of Economics and Government & Chair, the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment said: “In moving people forward, there is nothing more important than the power of the example. And the examples we’ve heard here are indeed extremely powerful... We have to take that positive story out. We mustn’t hide the examples. We must broadcast and share – and that is what I take is going on here today.”
Steve Howard, CEO, The Climate Group also noted: “Investment is there at a scale...public policy is moving, brave and inspiring targets commensurate with the challenge are being set, policies are being rolled out, results are being delivered. And actually, it’s delivering broad benefits. This message needs to get over to the Moon Palace.”
There is clearly a long way to go and a global deal is still needed. But positive results are being demonstrated by governments at a sub-national level, and they are proving that the Clean Revolution is underway.