Government climate pact to keep global warming under 2 degrees continues to expand

26 January 2016

LONDON: Under2MOU, the global pact to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, has just been joined by the US state of Massachusetts, the regional governments of Guainía and Guaviare in Colombia, and Lower Austria.

The initiative, of which The Climate Group acting is Secretariat, convenes cities, states and regions to work together to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.

The agreement commits the signatories to either reducing their greenhouse gas emissions between 80% and 95% below 1990 levels by 2050, or achieving a per capita emissions target of less than 2 metric tons by the same date.

Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group commented: “This wave of new governments committing to long-term GHG emissions reductions through the Under 2 MOU shows the significant role of state and regional governments to lead on climate. This leadership is only increasing since the Paris climate conference last December – and now a prosperous low carbon world is becoming a reality.”

Mark KenberCEO of The Climate Group, says of Under2MOU: “This global group of state and regional governments are not only signaling their commitment to act in line with climate science, but by putting the timetables and policies in place, they are also ensuring that these long term targets are achieved.”

Founded by the governments of Baden-Württemberg and California – both members of The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance – the agreement has been signed by more than 120 jurisdictions, including CataloniaOntario and Wales. They now represent 720 million people and about US$20 trillion in GDP, equaling almost a quarter of the global economy.

“We are building a global force of cities, states – and even countries – to reduce carbon pollution and protect the wellbeing of people everywhere,” said California’s Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. at the signing ceremony during COP21. “After Paris, the real work begins: to follow through on our commitments.”

To enhance accountability and transparency of such important commitments, signatories to the Under2MOU will also be invited to report their targets and actions to the Compact of States and Regions, the first reporting mechanism of its kind, which is also linked to the global UNFCCC NAZCA platform.

At COP21 last month, the Compact of States and Regions announced total emissions reductions plans of 12.4 GtC02e by 2030 from 44 states and regions together representing 325 million people and over US$10.5 trillion in GDP – one eighth of the global economy.

Keeping the world below the 2 degrees Celsius threshold, the limit to avoid the worst effects of climate change, will require a long journey of coordinated action from governments at all levels. The Under2MOU’s mid-term targets will also support long-term reduction goals through sharing technology, scientific research and best practices around efficiency and renewables, and expanding zero-emission vehicles.

“The MOU has already driven long-term decarbonization targets,” concludes Mark Kenber. “In the years ahead, it’s about working together to ensure we meet these ambitious targets.”

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