The untold stories of climate change action

The ALDE-CoR delegation at the COP24 in Katowice, Poland raised awareness of the work that cities and regions do in order to fight climate change and urged for a formal recognition of their successful role.Many success stories from the local level in fighting climate change are currently poorly documented or fail to be copied on a larger scale. At a time when the climate commitments of national governments are clearly insufficient to keep temperature down, it’s the local authorities that are stepping up, combating global warming tirelessly in direct and often new & innovative ways. These success stories need to find their way to the decision-making table during global climate discussions. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) showcases some local and regional sustainable initiatives, proving that inclusiveness can lead to bridging the gap between national pledges and local achievements.

No state and no continent should be an isolated island. That is why we have this crucial annual climate conference: we need to act all together

Both Andres Jaadla, a Covenant of Mayors ambassador and Valter Flego, Vice-President of the Committee on Environment, Climate change and Energy in the CoR therefore believe that teaming up with other like-minded institutions and advocates is important to highlight and officialise this important role for subnational authorities and their achievements within the international climate commitments.

At COP24 we urge for a formal recognition of the role of local and regional authorities in the UNFCCC regulatory framework and its decision making progress.

Local representatives also advocate the inclusion of a system of regionally and locally determined contributions that complement nationally determined contributions in the Paris Agreement. This would reduce the current emissions gap and even encourage further climate ambition from the bottom up. When national governments and their contributions under the Paris accord are clearly insufficient, regions and cities must lead the way.

For Flego, this is why this conference is the most important one after Paris in 2015.

The main objective of the COP 24 in Katowice is that the measures taken in Paris have been implemented in practice. This is very important for us in Europe, and especially for us in Croatia, because it coincides with the next financial budget of the European Union from 2021 to 2027. It’s therefore extremely important that, when the European Commission adopts the next financial framework, that the measures contained in the fight against climate change and written in the Paris Agreement are very concrete and financially backed through cohesion funds and the EU budget which regions and cities can use

A tale of cities

Andres Jaadla highlighted his work as Covenant of Mayor ambassador, the world’s largest urban movement aimed at low-carbon and resilient transition. It’s the mainstream European initiative involving local and regional authorities in the fight against climate change and developing a more sustainable energy future for our cities.

It’s role can be crucial: accounting for 70% of world greenhouse gas emissions, cities should be the priority recipients of climate investments for a true bottom up approach. New financial tools such as green bonds and collective guarantees must be multiplied along with capacity development programmes to facilitate access to climate finance for local governments.

During their time at COP 24 in Katowice, both had high-level discussions with for instance Valter Flego discussing climate with the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete, as well as bilateral talks with Igor Čižmek, Croatian Assistant Minister for Climate Activities, Sustainable Development; Roberto Campelli – Mayor of Monsano, Erik Lauritzen Mayor of Sonderborg and Frederic Ximeno, councilor on Environment for the city of Barcelona. Andres Jaadla spoke with the Mayor of Katowice and the Estonian Minister of Environment. 

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Continue reading below the videos for press coverage

Our delegation was featured in their national and in European media:

Interview with Valter Flego in Euractiv Croatia as well as for (see picture below). 

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