The newly released 2015-2016 carbonn Climate Registry Digest shows that local and subnational governments in the ICLEI Network – from small communities, megacities and large subnational states – are well positioned to contribute to and even raise the ambitions of national climate commitments over the long and short term.
Here are the key numbers:
Out of the 726 entities accounted for in this carbonn Climate Registry analysis, 86 cities and regions have made 116 long-term energy and climate commitments spanning to 2050. Nearly half of these cities are from the United States. This planning horizon is well beyond the typical 2025 or 2030 timeframe established in national commitments and points to the potential for long term visionary local and subnational planning that long outlives a shifting national political climate.
Over the short term, the 726 local and subnational governments reporting to the carbonn Climate Registry have already committed to reducing their emissions by more than 1 gigaton of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2020. This is a potentially substantial contribution to existing national commitments, which are collectively not yet on track to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. We currently know, based on UNFCCC analyses, that in 2030, global emissions will be 22 GtCO2e higher than the level needed to stay on track towards the 1.5-degree target and 15 GtCO2e higher than the level needed for the 2-degree scenario.
What we need now:
ICLEI calls for further action by nations and the international community to capitalize on and multiply these commitments. If all nations formally recognize and incorporate subnational commitments into national action plans, they may see immediate opportunities to raise national targets, given the level of progress already anticipated at the subnational level.
ICLEI also calls for strong frameworks that directly support local and subnational governments. Proper financial and capacity building support are now essential to ensure that a growing number of cities, towns and regions can follow a longer term climate action planning horizon.
The carbonn Climate Registry is the central reporting platform for the Compact of Mayors, a 600-strong coalition of cities and towns that are projected to make a strong dent in global greenhouse gas emissions - 11.6 GtCO2e between 2010 and 2030.
Local and subnational governments are better positioning themselves to push for stronger framework conditions by reporting and aggregating their commitments through coalitions like the Compact, which recently merged with the European Covenant of Mayors to form the new Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.