After their failure to influence the Lima conference last year, towns and cities are working to make their voices heard on the climate action agenda, a parallel initiative to the official Paris agreement. EURACTIV France reports.
The mobilisation of regional authorities has lost none of its momentum since the start of the COP21. They hope to leave their mark on the action agenda, an unofficial list of actions aimed at making the ecological transition more effective, drafted by the non-state actors involved in the climate negotiations.
Lima-Paris Action Agenda
Non-state actors want to deepen their involvement in the management of this agenda, which is known as the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) and largely funded by contributions from local authorities. “We call upon the national governments to make this agenda durable and strengthen it by opening its governance to the networks representing these non-Party stakeholders,” a group of declared on 2 December.
“The role of local authorities cannot be allowed to become a stumbling block for these negotiations, as it did in Lima. Our commitments should complement those of the states, or even become an integral part of them,” said Bernard Soulage, the vice-president of France’s Rhône-Alpes region and a member of the Committee of the Regions.
Commitments made at a regional level often outstrip those of national governments. In Canada, whose national contribution is among the weakest at the climate negotiations, the federal states have shown a far more ambition.
“The state of Quebec has promised to reduce its CO2 emissions by 37.5%. This is the highest commitment in Canada. The federal states are showing real leadership,” said David Heurtel, Quebec’s minister for the environment.
“No country will fulfil its commitments without the efforts of the regions,” the French Senator Ronan Dantec warned.
Lack of local funding
The question of finance is another potential stumbling block. “Since the Lyon conference, we have all seen that the finances available are insufficient. We have to double or even triple the financial flows to local authorities to make towns and cities more resilient,” one participant said.
The question of access to finance is even more urgent in the Global South. Here, local authorities count on the support of developed countries to implement their climate change mitigation projects.
And they currently have no way to access the climate finance destined for developing countries, which is entirely absorbed by national governments. “Today, the aim is to massively expand the Green Climate Fund. But there are many adaptation projects that should be carried out at regional level,” said Nicolas Imbert, the executive director of Green Cross France.
“Finance is at the heart of the response, and it has to get to the Global South,” Dantec stressed.
Aiming for 1.5°C
In their declaration, the regional representatives called for the level of ambition of the agreement to be raised. “We want to remind the international community of its obligation to keep global warming below +2°C in the 21st century as compared to pre-industrial levels, while keeping in perspective the adequacy of a +1.5°C target,” the declaration stated.
This call for a +1.5°C limit was backed by 106 countries at the COP21, including the Philippines, Bangladesh and many of the small island states, like Kiribati.
So far, the various national contributions submitted by countries should limit the global temperature rise to +2.8°C, a trajectory that would have irreversible consequences for the environments in the most vulnerable countries.