Regional governments support the delivery of a European Green Deal

Reading time: 4 minutes
7 October 2019

European members of the Under2 Coalition have today convened in Brussels to agree how best to collaborate and showcase their climate ambition over the next 12 months.

With a new European Commission entering office in November, there is a major opportunity for European regions of the Under2 Coalition to support and work proactively with the administration to deliver a comprehensive European Green Deal to guide Europe in becoming the first climate-neutral continent.

As the most ambitious group of regional governments delivering climate action in Europe, the Under2 Coalition offers a platform to generate momentum behind crucial decisions for the implementation of EU climate and clean energy laws. European members are stepping up concrete action in key policy areas such as clean transportation, energy efficiency in buildings and industry transition and they have committed to ambitious mid-century GHG emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement.

With 42 regional governments and 12 EU Member States endorsers, Europe is the largest constituency of the Under2 Coalition. The 42 European regional governments represent a population of 179 million and GDP of $6.8 trillion which is equivalent to 35% and 36% of the EU population and economy respectively.

To achieve a world of no more than 1.5°C of global warming all actors must play their part and regional governments in Europe are developing, testing and implementing the climate policies needed for this transformational shift.

A total of 860 climate actions were reported by European members last year and the top 3 actions reported to reduce carbon footprints were: the switch to electric/hybrid vehicles in cars, taxis and government fleets, adoption of solar power technologies and instalment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This year, 34 European governments from the Coalition have disclosed their climate action and targets through our Annual Disclosure initiative, 10 of which have reported every year since 2015. 

Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, opened the meeting and reinforced the message that regional governments are in a unique position to drive forward innovative and ambitious climate action:

“Although hopes for increased action by national governments weren’t met at the UN Climate Action Summit, the collective energy and drive displayed by state and regional governments at Climate Week NYC tells a different story.

“Climate has risen to the top of the political agenda in Europe and, representing over a third of Europe’s GDP, European members of the Under2 Coalition will support the new EU administration in increasing its ambition ahead of COP26 when countries are due to submit increased emissions reduction plans for post 2020.” 

Virginia Bagnoli, European Government Relations Manager, commented:

“European regions of the Under2 Coalition here today are delivering on climate action in Europe. Their actions are testament to how implementation at the regional level can make a difference in supporting countries to comply with EU climate legislation.

“They are raising awareness, setting ambitious goals, disclosing their actions and targets annually, and cooperating with each other to share policies that work.”

Climate action features prominently in the political guidelines of the Commission President-Elect Ursula von der Leyen as part of the proposal for a European Green Deal, with this portfolio now assigned to Vice President Mr Timmermans who will have the task of solidifying the long-term objective of climate neutrality by 2050 in binding legislation.

We are entering a new climate change culture in the European Union, one where climate is at the top of the political agenda. Through the Under2 Coalition, European regions can provide the European Commission and Parliament the confidence they need to be bolder, supporting the delivery of a European Green Deal in line with the Paris Agreement, while often going the extra mile in empowering local municipalities, civil society and industry to act.

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