COP17: States and Regions accelerating prosperous low carbon development

6 December 2011
DURBAN: On Sunday December 4, The Climate Group hosted a Panel with its State and Regions Alliance government members at the World Climate Ltd Summit, moderated by Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, where it was clear that the sub-national governments are already accelerating low carbon development across the world.
Attendees included: Dr Zweli Mkhize, Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, Stewart Stevenson, Minister, Scotland, Dominique Ramard, Vice President, Brittany, Marta Marin, Head of the Basque Country delegation to the EU, Oswaldo Lucon, Senior Advisor to Secretary for Environment, The State of Sao Paulo and David Cadman Former Councillor, Vancouver, as a respondent from the city perspective.
Speaking first, Dr Zweli Mkhize outlined strong actions already being taken in the Province of Kwazulu-Natal and linked poverty reduction with green economy opportunities. He also spoke of the strong sharing platform that the States and Regions Alliance offers, before calling for more action from sub-national governments on collaboration with partners to support cities, and said not to wait for an international agreement.

Stewart Stevenson spoke next, stating that Scotland’s target for 100% electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2020 is ultimately going to be financed by private low carbon investment. He emphasized that technological solutions have to go together with policies and 'efforts on behavior'. He drew on the importance of a low carbon investment conference which was held in Edinburgh last September, as a chance for this crucial public-private engagement to take place. 

The renewable energy sector now accounts for 10% of Scottish GDP and with a current 27.6% reduction from 1990 levels, Scotland is right on track for 42% by 2020. 

Dominique Ramard, Vice President, Brittany then drew attention to a big scale marine energy project with EDF which has received investment in the millions of euros, as well as the numerous windfarm projects that Brittany also boasts. He affirmed that working with new financing models is crucial, and announced that on December 9, 2011, in collaboration with Caisse des Depots, Brittany will launch a regional carbon fund. He asserted that great potential for carbon reductions in Brittany lies in agriculture and public buildings, and called for a joint demonstration of the Clean Revolution.

Next to speak was Marta Marin, Head of the Basque Country delegation to the EU, who said that scarcity of resources in her region is ‘a driver for renewable energy and energy efficiency’, although social resistance to wind farms is still an issue.

Marin hinted at crossparty support for climate action in parliament - as a climate bill was recently unanimously adopted in Parliament which will lead to more business opportunities - but the transport and building sector are still the biggest challenges.

Oswaldo Lucon, Senior Advisor to Secretary for Environment, The State of Sao Paulo began by testifying that his state is the 'industrial powerhouse' of Brazil. He said there is currently a challenge to choose between fully harvesting the recently discovered offshore oil reserves on the one hand, and investment in innovations to tackle climate change on the other.

Lucon maintained that the parliament has sent a clear signal by adopting a 20% reduction target from 2005 levels by 2020, which is a first in its kind in developing countries, and considers it, ‘the best metric to keep on track, but also a clear message to international negotiators emphasing it can be done’.

The city perspective was highligted by David Cadman, Former Councilor, Vancouver. One innovative initiative he pointed out is the climate registry, which was adopted by hundreds of cities around the world to report on jointly.

Overall, the panel offered a clear summary of the shared need for collaboration and exchange from all government levels as well as the corporate sector.

Luc Bas, Director for International States and Regions, The Climate Group, who co-hosted the event, added: “The international community can learn a lot from what is being done at the sub-national government level, which is clearly distinct from the city level that has enjoyed far more attention until now. Government members of The Climate Group recently formalized its States and Regions Alliance, and a priority is to share these actions for a Clean Revolution among themselves, but even more so with all the other international actors.”

See our States and Regions' Alliance key commitments

Learn more about The Clean Revolution

Further reading

Damian Ryan, Senior Policy Manager, The Climate Group, is writing news and analysis throughout COP17, and providing a more in-depth post-COP Briefing after the events. Keep up to date on our website and by following him on Twitter during COP17.

Our international policy teams are have also commented on key regional positions in the lead-up to Durban; read about AustraliaChina,EuropeIndia and the US.

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