Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia redoubles commitment to EU clean revolution

1 March 2011

DÜSSELDORF, 1 March 2011: The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) reconfirmed its commitment to ambitious climate action today and made new commitments to support the roll-out of electric vehicles in Europe and European forests by joining two of The Climate Group’s global initiatives.

NRW’s Environment Minister Johannes Remmel joined The Climate Group’s CEO Mark Kenber to formally sign the Cancun Statement endorsed by many of the world’s leading sub-national governments at the most recent UN climate talks (COP16) hosted in Mexico in December 2010.

Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia has been a leading member of The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance since 2009 which brings together over 60 states and regions worldwide, to promote a clean industrial revolution. The alliance works to promote energy efficiency, support the transition to a low carbon transport system and encourage renewable energy generation.

North-Rhine Westphalia is bidding to be a national leader in promoting electric vehicles and wants to see 250,000 electric hybrid vehicles on its roads by 2020.  In support of this ambition, NRW today joined The Climate Group’s “EV20” working group bringing together key stakeholders to work together to accelerate the global deployment and market transformation of plug-in electric vehicles in the next three years.

North-Rhine Westphalia also joined The Climate Group’s “billion trees initiative” and committed to plant three million trees by 2015.

Johannes Remmel, North-Rhine Westphalia’s Environment Minister said: “The international conference in Cancun has shown how difficult negotiations are at the international level. Therefore it is all the more important to take concrete action at the regional level. We want to develop North-Rhine Westphalia into a leading State in climate protection, a technology leader in renewable energy, an industrial state with a sustainable perspective. Our climate protection law with fixed climate protection objectives will make an important contribution to this.”

Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group said: “Regional governments have a vital role to play in supporting the policies and clean technologies such as electric vehicles that we need to cut emissions and unlock a low carbon economy. North-Rhine Westphalia is one of Europe’s economic power-houses, so their leadership as a low carbon laboratory is hugely symbolic. More and more of Europe’s regional governments are not only showing their national counterparts that a clean industrial revolution is possible, but that it is already underway.”

North-Rhine Westphalia has already pledged to become an international front runner in the testing and market introduction of clean energy solutions. A new climate protection law currently passed in the State Parliament aims to adopt binding GHG emissions reduction targets of at least 25% by 2020 and 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels by increasing energy efficiency, energy savings and the development of renewable energy sources.

Established in 2005, The Climate Group’s influential alliance of sub-national government members represents over $10 trillion in GDP and includes California, New York, Quebec, São Paulo, and South Australia. Many of these governments represent globally significant economies in their own right and have a key role to play in tackling climate change.

A dynamic exchange of knowledge, strategies and technologies across this growing alliance of states and regions is advancing practical policy development on climate change and acting as a compelling model for their national counterparts.

European members of The Climate Group’s growing States and Regions Alliance include the Basque Country, Bavaria, Brittany, Catalonia, Île-de-France, Greater London Authority, North-Rhine Westphalia, Rhône-Alpes, Scotland, South Holland, Upper Austria and Wales.

Building on the Cancun Statement, further sectoral actions will be developed by the States and Regions Alliances over the next few months, and progress reported in a global flagship during the 17th Conference of Parties in Durban in November 2011.

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