State and regional governments unite, commit to stepping up low carbon action for Copenhagen

10 December 2008

POZNAN, POLAND- State and regional governments from all corners of the world today committed to setting targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency as part of a comprehensive "statement of action" to accelerate low carbon policies prior to next year's climate change meeting in Copenhagen.

The coalition of government ministers from US, Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and Australia has been meeting this week at The Climate Group's second States and Regions Climate Leaders Summit in Poland to report on progress made by 33 signatories on the 2005 Montreal Declaration and to agree a new "action statement" presented to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer today.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo De Boer who attended the Summit and who was today presented with the "action statement" told ministers that their efforts were extremely valuable to breaking the deadlock around a global climate deal: "Any agreement in Copenhagen in a year's time has to have its foundation in reality, credibility and willingness. Effective state legislation provides international negotiators with a critical underpinning - a critical reality check - to be able to move forward at the international level. Agreement in Copenhagen needs a lot of support because it is not going to be easy."

Summit Chair, South Australian Premier Mike Rann said: "Now is the time for action and today government leaders committed to setting substantial targets prior to Copenhagen. We need action now and we are committed to that. We also know that by working together we can move forward more quickly. Developed states have committed to partnering developing states to advance action on climate change."

In his exclusive message to the Climate Group's States and Regions Summit in Poland, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: "States and provinces have long been at the forefront of developing green technologies and protecting our economy so that they are setting great examples for our federal counterparts."

The summit took forward international momentum and built on recent agreements developed at California's Global Governors' Climate Summit last month and at the St Malo World Summit of Regions hosted by Brittany earlier this year where The Climate Group signed a letter of intent with the UNDP to build international co-operation amongst regions. Leading international low carbon businesses - including Suntech, Broad Air Conditioning, Arup, Lemnis, Vestas and Better Place - took part in a roundtable session at the Summit and called for immediate action to speed up urgent policy measures including feed-in tariffs for renewable power and green procurement by government.

Dr Shi Zhengrong, CEO of Suntech - China's largest solar manufacturer - said: "In 5 years, solar energy will achieve grid parity in terms of cost. But we need temporary support from government to drive innovation forward and cost down. Policymakers should pay more attention to solar as a reliable and cost effective climate change solution."

Also attending from China's growing clean tech industry, Zhang Yue, CEO of Broad Air Conditioning said: "In this financial tsunami, job losses are a fundamental concern. Here in Poznan, climate change is our priority - but if we invest in low carbon solutions, we can deal with both."

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, hosting the Summit said: "More of the world's states and regions are playing vital roles as laboratories for low carbon development and are already putting words into action. Today's action statement presented to the UN offers a valuable model of collaboration for world leaders. Over the next year, it will help prove it is possible to develop popular and practical climate policies that will both reduce emissions and kick-start a robust low carbon economy."

The Climate Group's states alliance welcomed new members joining its coalition this week: the Basque Country, Bretagne, Aragon, Fatik Region of Senegal who have now added their signatures to the Montreal Declaration. Polish region Wielkopolska is also expected to add its signature this week.

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