A new report published today by The Climate Group, CDP, and PwC UK reveals that leading states and regions across the globe have committed to decarbonizing at a rate of 6.2% per year, 3.2% faster than G20 governments and just short of the rate necessary to align with a 2°C pathway.
Published just days before the COP24 UN climate change talks to be held in Katowice, Poland, the new report — the 2018 Global States & Regions Annual Disclosure — reveals what many have suspected to be true for some time: state and regional governments are responding to the threat of climate change faster than their national counterparts.
Specifically, 120 states and regions from 32 countries which disclosed their climate action and targets to The Climate Group and CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) — which represent 21% of the global economy and 627 million people — were found to be more ambitious in their decarbonization plans than the NDC targets set by G20 nations. States and regions analyzed in the report have hit a decarbonization rate of 6.2%, just shy of the 6.4% rate necessary to align with a 2°C pathway.
“This report shows that leading states and regions are already taking tangible steps to get to a world under 2°C warming,” explained Tim Ash-Vie, Director of the Under2 Coalition Secretariat at The Climate Group. “In light of the recent IPCC Special Report, we need to listen to the warnings from the scientific community and even these climate leaders will need to take stock of the progress that they have already made, consider where they might increase their ambition further still, and adjust their sights to the 1.5°C challenge. Continued disclosure to track our progress will be vital for this process.”
Across the 120 state and regional governments, 40% are already reporting actions across both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in December of 2015, the number of adaptation actions reported by state and regional governments has increased by 74%.
In all, governments have disclosed a total of 265 targets for emissions reductions, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. Unsurprisingly, 80% of these targets have been made by governments that are part of the Under2 Coalition, the largest global coalition of states and regions committed to acting on climate change. In all, there were 142 emissions reduction targets announced, with 114 from Under2 Coalition countries, 66 renewable energy targets with 52 from Under2 nations, and 57 energy efficiency targets with 45 from Coalition members.
“States and regions are already feeling the physical impacts of climate change, with 40% now acting on both adaptation and mitigation,” said Kyra Appleby, Global Director, Cities, States and Regions at CDP. “Many disclosing states and regions are strong on decarbonization, with those in the US, Germany, Mexico, Spain and UK having more ambitious targets to 2030 than their national governments. To limit the impacts of climate change, states and regions worldwide must sustain and step up their action to reduce emissions, playing their part to limit warming to 1.5°C.”
States and regions have also been making steady progress towards achieving overarching greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. According to the report, of the 56 governments that disclosed their latest greenhouse gas inventories, 70% of them are currently, on average, 20% below their base year emissions. Across all governments, average greenhouse gas emissions reduction is 9% since base year.
In total, there are 44 states and regions which have set reduction targets to be achieved between 2020 and 2030, and only six regions which have already met or exceeded their 2020 targets, and a further three which are very close to doing so.
“There are a number of leading states and regions which have committed to strong decarbonization pathways,” added Celine Herweijer, Global Climate Change Leader at PwC UK. “Their ambitions will need to translate into three key areas of focus: developing robust policies on the ground, scaling up and making use of tech innovations such as smart mobility and smart distributed energy grids, and shifting finance away from high carbon activities to clean investments. And these goals will need to be met within the coming decade.”
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