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Local and regional authorities' contributions to tackling climate change need to be measured, included and valued under the Paris Agreement  

The European Committee of the Regions sets out its positions on the climate a few months before COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held from 1 to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow

While the climate emergency is still very much a pressing matter, the path towards carbon neutrality must take into account the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and the specific features of each region. Against this backdrop, rapporteur and Mayor of Autun Vincent Chauvet presented an opinion in today's plenary session that sets out the European Committee of the Regions' positions and demands regarding climate change in view of COP26, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which will take place in November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) fully supports the European Union's objective of "at least a 55% reduction" in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Nevertheless, local and regional authorities must be actively involved in developing climate policies and should be given the necessary tools to do so. This is one of the main messages of the opinion on Stepping up Europe's 2030 climate ambition towards COP26.

At the plenary session, Mr Chauvet (FR/Renew Europe) said: "The EU will not be able to achieve its climate goals without involving local and regional authorities and giving them the necessary means to implement measures to combat climate change. To that end, we must make the process of accessing funding less complex and provide technical engineering assistance. We also need to take into account the specific features of each region to ensure a just transition that is acceptable to all Europeans . In connection with the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference, we call for the climate contributions of local and regional authorities to be measured, included and valued in national contributions."

The Committee renews its call for a European regional scoreboard to be launched to provide concrete data on climate progress at local and regional level. In this connection, the Committee reiterates its support for a system of Regionally and Locally Determined Contributions (RLDCs) to formally acknowledge, monitor and encourage the reduction of carbon emissions by cities, local governments and regions globally. The assembly calls on the European Commission to work with the CoR to formally recognise RLDCs as complementary to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Climate Agreement.

The CoR therefore requests that local and regional authorities be given a prominent role in COP26 and suggests repeating the Edinburgh Declaration on Biodiversity process in order to consolidate the recognition, commitment and accountability of local and regional governments under the Paris Agreement and throughout the United Nations' process to combat global warming.

The Committee calls on the partners of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to enhance the vertical integration of climate action and establish a memorandum of understanding with the CoR as the institutional representative of European cities and regions.

The EU's assembly of local and regional representatives urges the European Commission to jointly organise a thematic day on local climate action in the EU during COP26. To boost citizen engagement, the CoR calls on all its members to organise local and regional COPs in their communities before COP26.

Mr Chauvet's opinion draws attention to the lack of resources available to local and regional authorities for the implementation of measures to combat global warming. The Committee urges the European Commission to set up a platform, through the European Climate Pact , to promote the integration and complementarity of EU funding initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Committee suggests that the Joint Research Centre conduct a study on the capacity of local and regional authorities and businesses to absorb the new funds made available under the Green Deal and the Recovery Plan.

The Committee stresses the importance of active subsidiarity for climate policies and emphasises that multilevel governance and subsidiarity are key to ensuring climate neutrality and involving EU citizens in the process. With this in mind, the Committee reiterates its support for the Covenant of Mayors as an accelerator of the green transition at local and regional level. The Committee is part of the Covenant's Political Board and promotes this initiative through 27 of its members who make up the Chamber of National Ambassadors of the Covenant of Mayors .

Furthermore, the Committee stresses the crucial importance of ensuring appropriate pricing of fossil emissions through emissions trading and taxation, which should be addressed as part of a review of the EU emissions trading system and the EU Energy Taxation Directive.

The assembly expresses its concern about the stagnation or even increase in emissions in the European agricultural sector and calls on the European Commission to take into account the investments required for the agricultural sector's transition towards carbon neutrality under the common agricultural policy.

The CoR stresses that, in the energy sector, the deployment of renewables requires both large-scale and decentralised infrastructure planning. The Committee also points out that, in the pursuit of its climate objectives, the EU must take into account the different circumstances in its regions in terms of climate, geography, infrastructure and energy systems.

Further information:

Vincent Chauvet is a member of the European Committee of the Regions' Green Deal Going Local working group.

The EU's assembly of local and regional representatives points out that local and regional authorities implement 70% of all EU legislation, 70% of climate change mitigation measures and 90% of climate change adaptation policies.

According to information published by NewClimate Institute in December 2020, European cities and regions for which net-zero emissions targets have been set now cover more than 162 million people (36% of the EU's population).

Contact:

David Crous

david.crous@cor.europa.eu

+32 (0) 470 88 10 37


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