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First Metro, State, Regional Emission Targets From Subnational Compact

Twenty subnational governments, representing over 220 million people and $8.3 trillion in GDP, have now officially committed to targeted reductions in carbon emissions through the Compact of States and Regions, a partnership of The Climate Group, CDP, R20, and nrg4SD supported by the United Nations, Climate-KIC, Center for the New Energy Economy, ICLEI, and ENCORE. (See below for the list of these nations.)

Reasoning behind subnational groupings (theclimategroup.org)

The subnational compact was formed last September at the multi-stakeholder UN Climate Summit Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon arranged to draw together participants from subnational as well as national governments, big business, and the 300,000+ individuals on the spot for the people’s march. World convictions that efforts on local levels, not politically fraught national compromises, will solve climate change have grown since that time.

The compact is now set up to track any and all greenhouse gas reduction targets and inventory data on the subnational level. It can quantify and aggregate the efforts of such important groups as the C-40 Climate Leadership Group, with over 70 of the earth’s most populous and productive cities. It interacts with the Under 2 MOU and the Compact of Mayors as well. The subnational compact also enables city, state, and regional governments around the world to learn from each other, advance shared priorities, and contribute substantially to progress on the issue.

Interaction of compact and other subnational groups (theclimategroup.org)

The compact will provide the first-ever global tally of regional, state, and city contributions as the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCCC (COP21) convenes in Paris this December. It also allows contributors to report climate data going beyond 2015 and ensure continued accurate reporting against climate targets with reliable, publicly available data.

The World Summit Climate and Territories in Lyon, France, last week (July 1-2), hosted the initial round of reporting from the Compact of States and Regions. Commitments made there include the following.

  • All reporting city and state governments have targeted reductions across their operations.
  • The numbers reach as high as 90% by 2050 and 100% by 2060.
  • 90% have reported renewable energy targets as well.
  • In total, over 200 climate actions have been made in this round: 85 in GHG reduction, energy efficiency, and renewable targets.

The subnational compact encourages all subnational governments of the world to follow suit and to lead the other UN nations by example. The first complete totals will be released at COP21 in Paris this December. All subnational governments have until July 31, 2015, to submit climate data for inclusion in this disclosure report.

Says Premier Jay Weatherill of South Australia, Asia Pacific Co-Chair of the 27-member Climate Group States & Regions Alliance:

“We recognize that the challenge of climate change is also an opportunity for our state, and we want to ensure a prosperous, sustainable economy and future for our citizens. That is why we have reported our targets to the Compact of States and Regions, a platform that can now allow us to accurately and publicly report climate data against our own commitments…. [W]e want to work together, both in our own country and globally, to help ensure that this climate leadership is represented ahead of the international negotiations.”

The governments reporting to date represent about 1.81 GtCO2e, or 5%, of all global emissions. Many more are expected to report over the summer, making the potential emission savings through the subnational compact one of the most significant commitments presented before COP21. Within the UN framework, the data resides in the Non-state Actor Zone for Climate Action platform, an online tool developed with the governments of France and Peru at and after COP20 in Lima. Through NAZCA, 2,763 climate initiatives have already been shared by businesses, cities, regions, and investors around the world.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, sees regions, states, and territories taking part to ”make this wave of climate action unstoppable for generations to come.” Jean-Jack Queyranne, President of the Rhône-Alpes Region, which hosted the World Summit Climate and Territories, adds:

“The history of our climate now writes itself at the subnational level. Countries sign treaties, but it is local governments who, through their actions and contributions, play a major role each day to tackle climate change.”

The following governments have submitted climate data to the first round of reporting: British Columbia, California, Ontario, Oregon, Quebec, New York, and Washington in North America; Jalisco, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo in Central and South America; Basque Country, Catalonia, Lombardy, Rhone-Alpes, Scotland, and Wales in Europe; and Australian Capital Territory and South Australia.

See city, state, and regional data in detail here, as well as an infographic mapping out the governments and explaining the data.

 
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Written By

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

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