Global states, regions and businesses gather in Beijing to confirm commitment to Paris Agreement

Reading time: 7 minutes
7 June 2017

BEIJING: States, regions and business leaders from around the world gathered today in Beijing to confirm their commitment to climate action.

The Under2 Clean Energy Forum – a side event of the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial – explored through a series of high-level roundtables and keynotes, how sub-national governments and businesses can work together to deliver the Paris Agreement, following the announcement of the US intention to withdraw.

The event brought together high level delegates from across the world, including Governor Edmund. G Brown, State of California, Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All, Katie Hill, Head of Global Supplier Clean Energy Program, Apple, and many others.

Global Ambassador for the Under2 Coalition

During the event, Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and Convenor of Mission 2020, was announced as Global Ambassador of the Under2 Coalition - a leading network of international sub-national governments that are working together to find shared solutions to climate change.

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, and Convenor of Mission 2020, was announced as the Under2 Coalition Global Ambassador

Christiana Figueres said: “I’m delighted to have been named as Global Ambassador for the Under2 Coalition. It has never been more important for states and regions to work together to help promote clean energy economies and limit global temperature rises. To give us the best chance of staying below two degrees of warming, we will need to bend the curve of emissions by 2020, so I look forward to playing an active role in raising awareness of the Coalition’s ambitions.”

Set up in 2015 by the States of California and Baden-Württemberg to galvanize sub-national leadership on climate change, the Coalition now encompasses 175 governments, spanning six continents and 35 countries, comprising over 1.2 billion people and more than US$28.8 trillion of the global economy. Coalition signatories are committed to either reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 80% to 95% below 1990 levels or limit emissions to less than two metric tons per capita annually by 2050.

Governor Edmund G. Brown from the State of California, and a founder of the Coalition added: "Christiana Figueres has been a strong ally in the global effort to curb carbon pollution and we welcome her work to expand our Under2 Coalition to even more cities, states, regions and countries throughout the world."

New commitments

Also at the event, states and regions reaffirmed their commitment to climate action. Five new endorsers and signatories to the Under2 Coalition were announced, including Denmark, the State of Chhattisgarh (India), Region of Brittany (France) and South African Provinces KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “While the Trump administration is talking about the credibility of Paris, the rest of the world is moving on to action and delivery. States, regions and businesses are leading actions to limit warming and they are already seeing the economic and health benefits.

“Today’s announcement of the continued growth of the Under2 Coalition, with new signatories and Christiana as Global Ambassador demonstrates the continued momentum.”

Ulla Tørnæs, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, said: “I am pleased that Denmark now formally is an endorsing partner of the Under2 Coalition. Achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement will require strong action at all levels – not least at local and regional levels. Regions have a decisive role to play in moving the political ambitions from Paris into real action. The Under2 Coalition has already built a strong coalition of regions behind this work, which I very much welcome, especially in light of recent developments. The need for strong alliances working to achieve the climate targets are more needed than ever.”

Mahesh Gagda, Minister of Forests, Law and Legal Affairs, Government of Chhattisgarh, said: “Today our world is facing the big challenge of climate change and we all bear the burden of sharing the responsibility of addressing it. A challenge of this magnitude cannot be fought only at the national level. I am of the firm belief that sub-national collaborations between state governments and provinces, provides a great opportunity to further bridge the gap between nations, their people and culture. Chhattisgarh State will undertake all possible efforts to fulfill India’s NDC commitment. Let us all resolve to contribute our bit in the fight against climate change.”

Dominique Ramard, Vice President, Brittany, said: “Brittany, as a French and European region is deeply committed to climate protection. It is an engagement for the planet as well as a robust business strategy that provides guidelines for the transition to a more sustainable society."

Anton Bredell, Provincial Minister for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape, said: “The decision to join the Under2 Coalition of global provinces, states and regions committed to driving ambitious climate action was not a difficult one as it aligns with the Western Cape Government’s aspiration of being a low carbon province.”

T W Mchunu, Premier, KwaZulu-Natal, said: “The signing of this Under2 MoU signals our commitment in implementing the Paris Agreement as signed by our national government. Work that led to this Paris Agreement began in our very own city of Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal in 2011 when we hosted COP17.”

The Under2 Clean Energy Forum was hosted by The Climate Group, in partnership with the State of California, the People’s Government of Sichuan Province and the Energy Foundation.


For further information, please contact:

Nazneen Nawaz, Head of Media and Corporate Communications, The Climate Group / 020 7960 2716


Notes to editors

About The Climate Group

The Climate Group works internationally with leading businesses, states and regions to deliver a world of net zero greenhouse gas emissions and greater prosperity for all. We are at the forefront of ambitious climate action. Our focus is on collaborative programs with corporate and government partners that deliver impact on a global scale. The Climate Group stimulates action by businesses, states and regions, bringing them together to develop and implement the policies that make change happen. We also communicate their achievements to secure global public acceptance of, and even greater ambition for, a prosperous, net-zero future for all. The Climate Group is an international non-profit with offices in Beijing, London, New Delhi and New York. | @ClimateGroup

About Under2 Coalition

The Climate Group acts as Secretariat to the Under2 Coalition and works directly with government signatories and partners of the Under2 MoU to drive net-zero ambition and action. The Under2 MoU is a commitment by sub-national governments to reduce their GHG emissions toward net-zero by 2050. Central to this is the public commitment by all signatories to reduce their GHG emissions by 80-95% on 1990 levels, or two metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent per capita, by 2050.

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