Climate change: EU regions and cities look to cooperate across borders to deliver the Paris Agreement  
Climate change: EU regions and cities look to cooperate across borders to deliver the Paris Agreement

Commissioner Arias Cañete reaffirms EU leadership for upcoming UN climate talks as local governments adopt position on climate finance

One month ahead of the COP23, cities and regions call Europe to keep up leadership in the fight against global warming with upgraded ambition and new financing initiatives for local climate action. In a push to deliver the Paris Agreement, members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) – the EU's assembly of local and regional governments – called for adequate mechanisms for climate finance, reiterated the importance of involving all levels of government and said they would continue to strengthen relations with cities and regions outside Europe's borders to push the climate agenda forward.

Speaking in Brussels, the president of the European Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz said: “the CoR is committed to strengthening relations with local and regional governments across the world. Having recently formalised cooperation agreements with ICLEI and Climate Alliance , the CoR is now hoping to reach out to the US Conference of Mayors and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. President Lambertz added: "climate change is a threat to all of us, which will only be overcome through cooperation. Across the globe, local and regional governments are showing a level of conviction on climate change that often surpasses national ambition. Europe's local and regional governments stand ready to build ties with cities and regions across the Atlantic and beyond to share experiences, work together and ensure global temperatures are kept well below the 2 degree threshold set in Paris."

The EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate, Miguel Arias Cañete said: “we must make good progress on the implementation of the Paris agreement and reach a consensus on its work programme by the 2018 deadline. The world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership. We will work with all our partners to ensure COP23 is a success, including the many cities, regions and businesses that continue with ambitious climate action.” Commissioner Arias Cañete referred to America’s Pledge, a coalition of 227 cities and counties, nine states and about 1,650 businesses and investors from the US that are “moving to uphold the United States’ commitments under the Paris deal.”

Members of EU's assembly of cities and regions adopted its official COP23 position on Climate finance . Rapporteur Marco Dus (IT/PES) said: "It is not political will that European cities and regions are lacking but tailored financing mechanisms and the technical capacity to access them". Marco Dus calls for creating new ways – for example green bonds and collective guarantees - to finance climate action locally. The member of the Vittorio Veneto Municipal Council in Treviso added: "Along with the need for additional financial mechanisms tailored to local governments, it is essential that subsidies to economic activities with high environmental impact are gradually phased out and disappear completely by 2035."

Andrew Cooper (UK/EA), rapporteur of the opinion on how to better implement environmental law in Europe , said: "the reduction of CO2 emissions achieved by local governments needs to be measured, valued and encouraged. A system of Locally Determined Contributions (LDC) needs to be established in addition to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to help bridge the emissions gap.”

The Kirklees Councilor says "Locally Determined Contributions” will help limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. It would also allow us to set up higher yet remaining achievable targets." Andrew Cooper's LDC's initiative is in line and has the support of the adopted opinion by Marco Dus (IT/PES) on climate finance.

UN's COP23 will take place in Bonn from 6 to 17 November 2017. On 13 November, the CoR will organise a Transatlantic Dialogue on Climate Change together with the European Commission and the Covenant of Mayors and closely involving the US Conference of Mayors and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

While the CoR continues to champion the Global Covenant of Mayors initiative within and beyond EU borders, it applauds the America's Pledge initiative whereby an unprecedented number of U.S. states, cities, businesses, and colleges and universities reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement. The CoR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Conference of Mayors US in 2010 and is exploring ways to work with Canadian municipalities to forge a new transatlantic coalition on climate.

 

Note for editors:

· EU's assembly of cities and regions has recently commissioned a report on climate finance. It identifies existing schemes at the EU and international levels, draws faced obstacles and ways to overcome them. Access the full report on 'Financing climate action: opportunities and challenges for local and regional authorities' . Under the current budget period, the EU is committed to deploy 20% of the EU budget for the 2014-2020 period to climate action.

· Reducing the impact of climate change is the subject of a conference co-organised by the CoR and the United Nations on 12 October. Robert Glasser, the United Nations Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, will address the conference the evening of the International Day for Disaster Reduction .

More information on the CoR at COP22 in Marrakesh

 

CoR adopted opinions related to climate:

Contact: David Crous | +32 (0) 470 88 10 37 | david.crous@cor.europa.eu