LONDON ― The Compact of States and Regions today reveals, in its annual report, that the vision set out in the Paris Agreement is within reach. Delivering on all disclosed 2020 targets in time would result in savings that put these governments on track to stay below the critical warming threshold of 2˚C above pre-industrial levels. The report provides valuable insights to support national governments heading into the ‘2018 facilitative dialogue’, aimed at raising ambition in the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and shows how many disclosing states and regions are ahead of schedule.
Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in the report’s foreword: “The report is powerful evidence how these governments continue to go the extra mile in bold climate policies and action. It is particularly heartening to see that some states and regions are already targeting net zero emissions. The [Paris] Agreement’s strength rests not just on central government action but the unprecedented support and growing enthusiasm of business, investors, citizens, cities, states, provinces, and regions.”
The Compact of State and Regions urges governments to step up their long-term ambition to match the required rate of decarbonization and complement their goals with deep de-carbonization pathways. At the same time, the report also highlights that governments of six major states and regions have already met or exceeded their 2020 targets, four years ahead of schedule, including: Scotland, Catalonia, Lombardy, Carinthia, Connecticut, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Many others are on the verge of doing so; 65% of governments disclosing a base-year emissions reduction goal are currently below their base-year emissions.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP, secretary for environment, climate, and land reform for the Scottish government, said: “I am pleased to say that Scotland has achieved it emissions reduction target of 42% by 2020 six years early with emissions down by 45.8% between 1990 and 2014. We are proud of the progress we have made but we know we can go further. In 2017, the Scottish government will bring forward a package of measures to ensure that Scotland continues to cut emissions.”
The Compact, which is a collaborative initiative between The Climate Group and CDP, has grown significantly since it was launched in 2014. The number of governments taking part has increased by 41% this year, reaching a total of 62 states, provinces and regions by the time of COP22 in Marrakech. These governments are responsible for a collective total of over 3 GtCO₂e, more than the total combined emissions of India and Canada, and $12.9 trillion in GDP – or 17% of the global GDP.
New members have joined from around the globe, including Gujarat, Cross River State, Minnesota, Hidalgo, and Veneto.
Dr Alice Ekwu, commissioner for climate change and forestry, Cross River State, Nigeria, said: “The Compact of States and Regions provides the much needed platform for state and regional governments to share their success and challenges in one common pursuit to commit to GHG emission reductions and make the world a better and more prosperous place.”
The report shows that states and regions across the world are currently on the right trajectory to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the immediate future. The size and scale of the governments involved in the Compact shows that whatever happens at the national level, these governments will continue to play a key role in hitting the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
Damian Ryan, the acting CEO of The Climate Group said: “The high level of action that we have seen from state, provincial and regional governments over the past two years has taken place against the remarkable backdrop of the signing and ratification of the landmark Paris Agreement. The work by these states and regions show that as the world becomes more uncertain at national level, governments of states and regions are in the vanguard for driving climate action forward.”
The report also highlights that states and regions are backing up their climate goals with a variety of specific climate actions. This year alone, 1,299 individual climate actions were disclosed across ten economic sectors. Many governments, including California, Jalisco, New York State, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Sardinia, and Oppland indicated that tackling short-lived climate pollutants (i.e. methane, black carbon O3, HFCs) is one of their key priorities in the next two years.
Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, said: “We have seen Compact governments double down on cutting their region-wide GHG emissions and setting more reduction targets. We call on more governments to join the Compact, reduce their emissions and commit to transparent annual disclosure. Our journey has only just begun.”