Press Release - COP21. Local and Subnational Governments “Ready to Act” on Climate Change Will Be the Key Message at the Cities & Regions Pavilion – TAP2015
[BONN, 9 November 2015] In three weeks, COP21 - the highly anticipated 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference - will kick off in Paris. Though only national governments can be negotiating parties, cities and regions will play a crucial role in setting the tone for ambitious climate action. Indeed, cities and regions are coming to COP21 to say “We are ready to act now”, committing to scale up their already significant efforts on climate.
While Nations – the negotiating “Parties” at COP21 discuss the details of an agreement that is yet to be reached, cities and regions, and their many partners, will gather at the Cities & Regions Pavilion – TAP2015 (#weareready, #TAP2015) to discuss how to mobilize resources and implement commitments that immediately and concretely raise global climate ambitions. The Pavilion will be hosted by Paris and Bristol European Green Capital 2015 and facilitated by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability with the support of over 40 partners.
At COP21, nations are expected to agree on a new climate regime from 2020 that will apply to all countries, as well as to adopt specific decisions on some immediate actions to be implemented right after COP21. After the failure of the Copenhagen conference in 2009, the negotiation process has become more bottom-up, with each nation defining its targets through an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). However, the current level of ambition in the submitted INDCs is likely to fall short of the global target: according to the most recent estimates by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), current pledges will curb the trajectory of growth in greenhouse gas emissions, but will still mean a 2.7-degree Celsius rise in global temperatures. This is well over the 2-degree Celsius threshold that scientists consider acceptable to avoid the worst case scenarios.
Local and subnational governments will be key in trying to bridge this gap. In fact, cities and regions have long been pioneers of climate action - often with a higher level of ambition than their national counterparts: the 568 local and regional jurisdictions reporting to the carbonn Climate Registry have committed to reducing one gigaton of CO2 equivalent by 2020, as much as the entire European Union reduced in its first period of commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.
More importantly, local and subnational governments are ready to scale up their efforts. The Cities & Regions Pavilion – TAP2015 will showcase this potential, making clear to national leaders how much cities and regions can offer if they receive adequate support.
Throughout the two weeks of COP21, the Pavilion will host debates, presentations and meetings to showcase the crucial contribution of cities and regions to climate action. Sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including climate finance, energy, ecomobility, smart cities, strategies for low carbon development, city-business partnerships, resilience and adaptation.
Over 120 projects from 88 cities and regions in 42 countries will be presented and on display at the Pavilion, as part of the Transformative Actions Program (TAP). This new 10-year initiative aims to identify the most ambitious, cross-cutting and inclusive local projects with the potential to transform the lives of citizens. The critical next step is to ensure these projects receive adequate financial resources for implementation, to address urgent and evolving local needs while raising global climate ambitions.
“While the negotiations in Paris will hopefully deliver a meaningful agreement, the TAP projects and discussions around the Pavilion represent an important constant: cities and regions will move forward now, regardless of whether there is a universal agreement” said Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General.
By convening governors, municipal leaders, civil society leaders, businesses, financiers and over 100 mayors, the Pavilion provides a forum for mobilizing resources and building partnerships that support the implementation of TAP. It is an important milestone in a larger effort to strengthen local and regional governments as crucial agents of positive and long-term climate action.
A central point of the TAP is the TAP Platform, an online database and one-stop-shop for funders and all interested parties to easily compare projects and see how these initiatives can be immediately launched to support the achievement of the 2°C target.
The TAP Platform is also an invaluable repository of stories, showing how cities and regions everywhere are tackling climate change and how they can transform many dimensions of urban life by implementing low-carbon and resilient solutions.
However, local and subnational governments’ activities at COP21 will not be confined to the Pavilion. A Climate Summit for Local Leaders will be hosted at Paris City Hall on the 4th of December. It will be the largest global convening of mayors, governors and local leaders focused on climate change. Major climate initiatives supported by local and subnational governments will be introduced and have a presence at the Summit. The meeting will also highlight and build on the efforts of the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress transparently.
For further information about the Cities & Regions Pavilion and the TAP project, check cities-and-regions.org/media