Regional leaders call for enhanced climate commitment

15 November 2016

As climate talks continue in Marrakesh, thousands of local and regional leaders from across the world have called on governments at all levels to uphold and go beyond the commitments made in Paris last year, the European Committee of the Regions - the EU's assembly of local and regional representatives - said today. The 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) began in the Moroccan city last week and ends on 18 November.

The Paris Climate Change Agreement was adopted in December 2015 at COP21 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The agreement - which aims to keep global temperature increases this century well below 2 degrees Celsius, and drive efforts to limit temperature increases to below 1.5 degrees Celsius - entered into force on 4 November. Its entry into force required it to be ratified by at least 55 of its 197 signatories and by countries representing a total of 55% of global emissions.

In a statement today, the European Committee of the Regions warned that current commitments will see global temperatures increase by more than 3 degrees Celsius by the turn of the century.

The Committee cited comments its president, Markku Markkula, made during the COP22 Climate Summit for Local and Regional Leaders, which gathered over 1500 local and regional leaders from across the globe.

Markkula said: "Climate change is a matter that goes beyond politics, across borders and is not something you can bargain with. All nations must uphold their climate commitments, take the necessary steps to ensure the sustainable transition of territories worldwide and go further, faster. We must aim to have a carbon-neutral world by 2050.

"We need to build on the Paris Agreement which was historic but is not enough. Local and regional governments are taking action and are ready to help but they need sustainable smart investment and a stronger role in the global governance on climate action."

Local and regional authorities are responsible for executing around 70% of climate change reduction measures and up to 90% of climate adaptation actions, the Committee noted. Climate initiatives such as the Global Covenant of Mayors, which will soon be the largest coalition of cities and regions, demonstrate that local governments surpass national government targets, it said.

Francesco Pigliaru, president of Sardinia, said cities and regions are key in bridging the gap between climate commitments and objectives. Pigliaru led the Committee's report Delivering the Global Climate Agreement - A Territorial Approach to COP22 in Marrakesh.

He said: "We expect the climate talks to result in a global climate governance that formalises a permanent dialogue between cities and regions, national governments and UN bodies. It needs to show how binding targets will be monitored while closely tracking progress through common assessment mechanisms. We urgently need to integrate cities and regions' cuts in greenhouse gas emissions within National Determined Contributions (NDCs)."

Half of the world's population live in urban areas with cities emitting as much as half of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, the Committee noted. "According to the World Bank, adapting to climate change could cost $80 to $100 billion per year, 80% of which needs to be invested in cities in order to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. Yet today's financing landscape does not provide local and regional authorities with suitable financial opportunities and the right technical support to develop climate projects," it said.

During the Summit, cities and regions set out recommendations to mobilise financial flows for locally-tailored climate projects: from increasing the volume of climate-compatible assets to further channelling direct-access to finance through public-private partnerships, creating financial hubs and supporting carbon pricing to boost low-carbon projects.

The Climate Summit for Local and Regional Leaders was co-organised by more than 25 international organisations, representing altogether more than five billion people, or 70% of the global population.

The Summit has adopted the Road Map for Action of Marrakesh that proposes a set of recommendations to climate negotiators to boost climate action and finance local leaders worldwide.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News