The Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) had a double objective: to show how states, regions cities, businesses and civil society are delivering on climate action and to demonstrate to national governments their firm intention to pursue and even upgrade their commitments to reverse global warming.
Cor Lamers (NL/EPP), Mayor of Schiedam and Chair of the Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE), represented the European Committee of the Regions in San Francisco. Cor Lamers participated in the GCAS official opening as well as in numerous plenary sessions. He also opened one of the Summit's side events devoted to sustainable urban development, jointly organised by the International Urban Cooperation Programme, the CoR and the UN Habitat.
ENVE Chair Cor Lamers declared: 'Local and regional leaders deliver on climate change not only by setting ambitions but through real actions on the ground. About a third of the members of the European Committee of the Regions will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 20% and 39% by 2020, while 16 others will reach reductions of 40% or more by 2020. Climate action is global but cities and regions are its driving force. National governments cannot afford to ignore the ambitions of local and regional governments to limit climate change, we need to break the silos and act together.'
New climate commitments were announced and confirmed at the Global Climate Action Summit. According to organisers, over 70 big cities, home to some 425 million citizens, newly committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, leading to a 2.5 percent cut of annual global greenhouse gas emissions and the avoidance of 12 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050. A further 9,100 cities representing 800 million citizens committed to city-wide climate action plans, potentially leading to reductions of more than 60 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent between now and 2050.
Mayor of Rotterdam and CoR member Ahmed Aboutaleb (NL/PES) was present in San Francisco to take part in the event Transitioning to a Circular Economy: Food Waste and Plastics in the Circular City. Best practices of San Francisco and Rotterdam. Mayor Aboutaleb presented the Resilient Rotterdam Programme and highlighted the key role local governments' play in water management, climate adaptation, waste management and the circular economy. Rotterdam won the C40 Cities Award in 2015 in the 'adaptation planning and assessment' category.
The CoR will participate in the UNFCCC COP24 in Katowice and call for the formal recognition of local and regional authorities as democratically elected non-party stakeholders in the global climate decision-making process. In Katowice, the CoR will defend that Nationally Determined Contributions – a country's pledge on reducing Co2 emissions, must include an aggregation of the achievements and commitments made by cities and regions in dropping emissions, said Cor Lamers in San Francisco.
The position of the European Committee of the Regions on global climate governance is defined in the opinion Climate governance after 2020: a European and global perspective – a contribution to the UNFCCC COP24, adopted last July 2018 and led by rapporteur Andrew Cooper (UK/EA), member of Kirklees Council.
Read here the CoR's latest Press Release on 'Climate change: more ambition and new governance needed to deliver the Paris agreement.'
The outcome of the Global Climate Action Summit can be read here.
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