Regional governments commit to GHG savings greater than US annual emissions
Regional governments from 11 different countries across four continents have pledged to cut their emissions by more than 7.9 gigatonnes through the UN-supported Compact of States and Regions.
Authorities from around the globe, including the Welsh and Scottish governments, have signed up to the Compact, committing them to collective climate targets that would cut more emissions by 2030 than the US generated in all of 2012.
Local governments in California, Quebec, Sao Paulo, Catalonia and South Australia also signed up to the Compact - the first ever global account of GHG reduction targets made by state and regional governments.
In total, the signatories represent over 10% of the global economy and more than 220 million people.
The plans to cut emisssions will revolve around the introduction of renewable energy schemes and efficiency programmes. They aim to achieve a 2 gigatonne reduction by 2020 which would then rise to 7.9 giga tonnes in 2030.
“This proves yet again that the work of state and regional governments is not only supporting a transition to a low carbon economy, but accelerating it," said Philippe Couillard, the North America co-chair of the Climate Group States & Regions Alliance, which helped broker the deal.
“The Compact of States and Regions creates the opportunity for us to accurately and publicly record data against our climate targets. We continue to lead the way, and do so because we know it will not only create a healthier environment for our citizens, but because it is a significant economic opportunity for a more prosperous, sustainable economy.
Over 40 States and Regions have now submitted data in support of their targets and initiatives, which are being verified in time for the COP climate conference in December.
According to data released under the Compact, Scotland currently emits 52.895 million tons CO2e annually, while Wales’ emissions sit at 45.83 million tons.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: “Rapid action to a low carbon economy will benefit everyone. It tackles climate change, supports the development of new technologies and creates new jobs. We want to work closely with partner governments, businesses and non-governmental organisations from around the world to upscale this transition. Platforms like the Compact of States and Regions allow us to lead by example and shows the need and way towards a strong agreement in Paris.”
Scotland’s annual emissions figure is actually falling. The country’s growing renewable energy network displaced almost 12 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2013, according to figures released by UK Energy Minister Amber Rudd.
The Welsh Government has also set a legally-binding target to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050 under a new law to improve the nation's resource management.
The Compact was signed at the start of Climate Week in New York, and the signatories ssaid they hope the agreement inspire similar ambition from national Governments ahead of the Paris conference in December.