The EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives
Brussels, 6 October 2010
Committee of the Regions urges regions and cities to sign up for climate action
The EU's Committee of the Regions (CoR) has urged all sub-national governments to invest more in the fight against climate change. In its Resolution on the Cancun Climate Summit adopted today the CoR appeals to regions and local authorities to sign local climate action pacts setting out concrete measures in the fight against climate change. The appeal follows the signing yesterday of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on climate action by CoR President Mercedes Bresso and Elizabeth B. Kautz, President of the United States Conference of Mayors. The memorandum strives to accelerate local measures on both sides of the Atlantic to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, to promote renewable energy sources and sustainable urban mobility, as well as to change citizens' behaviour.
In its Cancun resolution the CoR reaffirms its call for an international climate change agreement limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2012. "National leaders have a responsibility to the planet to sign an internationally binding agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Cancun." CoR President Mercedes Bresso said.
The CoR reminds regions and local authorities that they have a tremendous role to play when it comes to achieving better resource efficiency and a more climate-friendly economy on the ground. They must raise public awareness, mobilise public political support, business investment and funding sources and motivate producers and consumers to change their behaviour, states the resolution.
In order to fully unlock regional and local potential in the fight against climate change, the CoR recommends organizing training for local and regional authorities on how to tackle climate change at grassroots level as well as running climate change awareness campaigns for citizens. The CoR also recommends strategic public private partnerships, such as alliances between small and medium sized enterprises and local and regional authorities, with a view to further developing and applying low carbon technologies. Regions and cities should conclude local climate action pacts between public and private partners setting out concrete climate action measures to reach the 20-20-20 goal.
The EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, who addressed the Committee of the Regions this week said: "In parallel with the international negotiations, the EU needs to push forward the process of making the European economy climate-friendly. Europe needs to maintain its lead in the low-carbon technologies of the future within a fierce worldwide competition. By doing so we can stimulate green growth, safeguard jobs and strengthen our energy security."
To enhance the financing of local climate action the Committee of the Regions requests that climate change is mainstreamed in budgets at all government levels. Climate action should become a transversal priority in the forthcoming EU Budget, while access to European Investment Bank loans for regions and local authorities should be facilitated. A substantial portion of the revenues from the European emissions trading system should be made available to local and regional authorities for putting climate change mitigation and adaptation measures into effect.
Background info for editors
The 20-20-20 goal
The European Union officially adopted a 20-20-20 Renewable Energy Directive on 17 December 2009 setting climate change reduction goals for the next decade. The targets call for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, a 20 percent cut in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency by 2020 and a 20 percent increase in the use of renewable energy by 2020. In 2005 renewable energy from hydro power, solar, wind, biomass or geothermal sources accounted for less than seven percent of the EU’s total energy consumption.
Visit the CoR's website: www.cor.europa.eu
The Committee of the Regions
The Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. The mission of its 344 members from all 27 EU Member States is to involve regional and local authorities and the communities they represent in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council are obliged to consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. It can appeal to the EU Court of Justice if its rights are infringed or it believes that an EU law violates the subsidiarity principle or fails to respect regional or local powers.
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