Building momentum: state and regional climate action in 2019

Author: Tim Ash Vie
28 February 2019

Tim Ash Vie, Director of the Under2 Coalition Secretariat at The Climate Group, looks to the key milestones for state and regional climate action in 2019, and how they will build momentum in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Summit and Climate Week NYC in September.

The warnings of last year’s IPCC Special Report couldn’t be clearer – levels of global warming must not exceed 1.5˚C, or we risk catastrophic and irreversible impacts to the planet and everyone on it. This essentially moved the goalposts, as the world’s top scientists declared that the Paris Agreement’s pledge of 2015 to limit global warming to under 2˚C was simply not enough – we must be more ambitious.

Already this year we have seen climate change affecting communities across the globe with extreme and unexpected weather conditions, demonstrating the urgency and speed of climate action required across all levels of society, government and business.

We are fast approaching 2020 – the year that countries need to review, update and strengthen their national climate action plans as part of the first formal ‘ratchet’ moment under the Paris Agreement. These are known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs – and they will be the blueprints for each country to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Simply put, these NDCs need to be as ambitious as possible, to match the urgency of the challenge ahead.

UN Climate Summit

In September 2019, exactly one year ahead of the deadline for national governments to set their ambitious NDCs, the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres will convene a climate summit in New York to inspire stronger commitments from global leaders. This will be a critical moment for action and held during our annual Climate Week NYC, set to be the biggest yet.

For national governments to raise their ambition in 2020, they need complete mobilization and collaboration across states, regions, businesses, cities and civil society. 

State and regional governments in the Under2 Coalition have recognized this and pledged that 2019 will be the year to collaborate and accelerate the pace of climate action to help propel national governments onto the right course of action.

Key milestones

Throughout 2019 a number of regional events will act as milestones in the run up to the UN Climate Summit. States and regions will come together to collaborate, raise ambition, and demonstrate their commitment to tackling climate change to the international community.

Change the Change

In March 2019 Under2 Coalition member The Basque Country will be hosting ‘Change the Change’, a climate change conference, where international experts will gather to present success stories, new business models and solutions to the challenge we face. This event will be attended by regional governments from the Under2 Coalition who will showcase their climate plans across different sectors.

The International Conference on Climate Action (ICCA)

In May, the German state government and co-chair of the Under2 Coalition Baden-Württemberg will host the International Conference on Climate Action 2019. The focus will be scaling up coordinated and integrated climate action across all levels of government – identifying the levers that matter in key sectors and the solutions that make a difference.  

The conference will bring together states, regions and cities as well as stakeholders and experts from around the world. As Secretariat of the Under2 Coalition, The Climate Group will be convening a workshop on Governance with a focus on regional climate action.

Climate Action in Queensland

In June, Australian subnational governments will meet in Queensland to collaborate on climate action, to support increased ambition in the Australian national government. The event will also bring together Pacific Island nations – those at the front line of impacts of climate change – to exchange experiences and ideas with their peers and showcase their commitments and actions to the international climate community.

New York, New York

All eyes will be on the city in September as both the UN Climate Summit and Climate Week NYC will raise the profile and urgency of the biggest global challenge of our time. States and regions need to take the opportunity of Climate Week NYC to come together and demonstrate their climate leadership on the international stage at this crucial time.

These key milestones throughout 2019 will act as driving forces to amplify the actions and ambitions of states and regions worldwide.

States and regions need to raise their voices, showcase the action they are already driving forward, and demonstrate that they have the necessary political momentum to act on climate change now.

This will help build the case for national governments to strengthen their NDCs, and act with the urgency required to speed up their climate action.

Find out more about the Under2 Coalition

Please contact:
Nehmat Kaur, Head of Government Relations, The Climate Group
+44 (0) 207 960 2970
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