Leading sub-national governments sign Compact of States and Regions

Reading time: 5 minutes
10 December 2014

LIMA: Leading sub-national governments from around the world gathered at COP20 in Lima yesterday to sign a new joint commitment on climate action.

The Compact of States and Regions is a new commitment by sub-national governments to:

  • Adopt an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target.
  • Report their greenhouse gas emissions on an annual basis.

By providing, for the first time, a clear and transparent global picture of sub-national governments' contributions to global efforts to transition to a low carbon world, the Compact of States and Regions aims to support international climate negotiations ahead of Paris 2015.

16 states and regions from across the world have already joined the Compact. Together they represent 142 million people and almost 5% of global GDP. The first signatories accounted, in 2008, for over a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of the emissions of Canada and the UK combined.

The Compact of States and Regions was signed yesterday in Lima, in an event organized by The Climate Group and nrg4SD, by ministers from Europe, Africa and the Americas. Participants included: David Heurtel (Québec, Canada), Ana Oregi (Basque Country, Spain), Mary Polak (British Columbia, Canada), Josep Enric Llebot (Catalonia, Spain), Maria Magdalena Ruiz (Jalisco, Mexico), Nhlanhla Ngidi (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa), Glen Murray (Ontario, Canada), Gian Luca Gurrieri (Lombardy, Italy), Aileen McLeod (Scotland, UK) and Bernard Soulage (Rhône-Alpes, France); and Compact Partners: Nigel Topping, Executive Director of CDP and Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group.

The signatories are committing to bold climate action, a move which many actors hope will inspire national governments to do the same, during the critical year before COP21 in Paris. As Nhlanhla Ngidi, Director-General of KwaZulu-Natal’s Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs explained when signing the Compact: "We must lead by example".

Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, agreed sub-national commitment is crucial to global climate progress, commenting: “Climate change is an issue that demands our immediate attention and action. This compact is one more way states and regions like Ontario are showing global leadership leading up to an international agreement on climate change next year. It also shows a universal commitment to securing a healthier, more vibrant planet for future generations.”

Exemplyfing the leadership of the signatories, Ontario boasts the single largest greenhouse gas reduction initiative in North America, with its elimination of coal-fired electricity this year.

David Heurtel, Québec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, also highlighted how critical the Compact will be to address climate change. He said: “In the face of the worldwide threat from climate change, all levels of government – national and sub-national – as well as cities have a responsibility to speak frankly and act decisively. In joining the Compact of States and Regions, Québec reaffirms its will continue to play a leading role in the international fight against climate change.”

The Compact of States and Regions is led by three of the most influential state and regional government coalitions, The Climate Group States & Regionsnrg4SD, and R20, in partnership with CDP, pioneer of the only global environmental disclosure platform. It was part of the commitments announced at the UN Climate Summit in September in New York. 

The first signatories of the Compact of States and Regions include the Basque Country (Spain), British Columbia (Canada), Catalonia (Spain), Jalisco (Mexico), KwaZulu Natal (South Africa), Lombardy (Italy), Manitoba (Canada), North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), Ontario (Canada), Québec (Canada), Rhône Alpes (France), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Scotland (UK), South Australia (Australia), Tasmania (Australia), Wales (UK). Most of them are members of The Climate Group States and Regions.

Libby Ferguson, The Climate Group States and Regions Director, added: “States and regions have huge potential to effect change at both the local and global level. On average, about 75% of all public expenditure on environmental protection is made by sub-national governments. Many of them have authority over key aspects of climate policy, including energy, transportation and the built environment. As such, state and regional climate strategies have a critical role to play to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. The Compact of States and Regions will help unlock this potential and I hope many other governments will join this initiative.”

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to California Governor Jerry Brown and Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, underlined the importance of a clear reporting framework: “Reporting and transparency are essential to greenhouse gas emission reductions and progress on climate pollution. The Compact moves us well forward.”

Nigel Topping, Executive Director of CDP, presented the results of a new pilot program on emissions reporting and climate change action at the sub-national level, led by CDP and The Climate Group. “Make no mistake,” he said, “state and regional governments that sign the Compact of States and Regions are making a vital commitment. Reporting your emissions and setting targets to reduce them has never been so important. We are on the brink of 2015, a crucial year for decisive climate action, and a year that we simply cannot afford to waste. So join the Compact, join CDP, and amplify your actions as states and regions in preventing dangerous change.”

Explore the Compact of States and Regions

See CDP's states and regions program

Photo gallery

Want to read more about COP? Over the next week The Climate Group is releasing pre and post-COP briefings as well as producing COP20 coverage in news and blogs and on Twitter. Our States & Regions events in Lima can be tracked on hashtag #statesandregions.

And in case you missed it, here's a brief background to the COP20 in Lima and our infographic showing the history of the COP negotiations.

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon