The key role of state and regional governments in global climate action and the opportunities for Indian states

Reading time: 5 minutes
2 November 2016

With COP22 taking place in Marrakech from November 7-18, Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group, analyzes the crucial role of state and regional governments in global climate action and the opportunities for Indian states.

We are at a crucial juncture in the global effort to combat climate change. The Paris Agreement will enter into force on November 4 – much earlier than predicted. However, at the same time, the national emissions reduction commitments submitted last year at COP21 are not sufficient to keep global temperature rises to well below 2 degrees Celsius and currently put us closer to a 3 degrees scenario. Further ambition and urgent action is required to empower all global actors and engage all political, social, economic and financial resources. There is a clear opportunity for nations to work with their state and regional counterparts to drive more aggressive emissions reductions and progressive economies.

Since 2005, The Climate Group has worked with these governments to deliver and promote their bold climate actions through the States & Regions Alliance - a global network of 35 state and regional governments from across Europe, the Americas, South Asia, Australia and Africa. They collectively account for 354 million people, 12% of global GDP, and 2.9 gigatons of CO2 emissions. The States & Regions Alliance brings together subnational government leaders from around the world in a powerful, high-profile network that shares expertise, demonstrates impact and influences the international climate dialogue.

A new era of climate leaders

Last year, The Climate Group was also announced as the Secretariat for the Under2 Coalition which has a shared goal of limiting greenhouse gas emissions to 2 tons per capita, or 80-95% below 1990 level by 2050. The large number of signatories to the Under2 MOU (currently 135 jurisdictions) represents a great opportunity to expand the reach and influence of subnational climate action. Governors, Premiers and regional Presidents from state and provincial governments are part of a new era of climate leaders, driven less by global politics and more by local realities. These leaders have the power to act on key areas of climate and energy policy and have the political will to get the job done.

India is an important player in the international climate debate and a number of Indian states are already spearheading key initiatives to take this agenda to the next level. One of the states that is leading such initiative is the Government of Gujarat which joined the States & Regions Alliance in 2012 under the aegis of Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi (Gujarat’s Chief Minister at that time). Gujarat is an active participant in our global States & Regions Alliance and The Climate Group has been working closely with the Climate Change Department, to deliver on clean economy goals. The Climate Group supported Gujarat’s State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC), accelerating its leadership and igniting a low carbon ‘clean revolution’ by scaling-up clean energy technologies that drive long-term economic growth and prosperity. Through the States & Regions Alliance, The Climate Group has been able to give a global voice for the Government of Gujarat on climate change, support its policy learning and facilitate the adoption of new climate models.

A number of other Indian states are amplifying renewable energy ambitions, doubling energy productivity and efficiency, promoting adaptation measures and committing to long-term emissions reductions through the Under2 MOU. Earlier this year, we announced Telangana as the first Indian State to sign up to this ambitious commitment and we hope to announce more Indian signatories before the end of the year.

The Climate Group is aiming to work with other states in India to help realize their climate and energy goals, as outlined in their SAPCC and welcomes them to join The Climate Group. There is a huge opportunity to align state and regional leadership across different jurisdictions, let’s join hands and seize the opportunity for a cleaner and more prosperous future for all!

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