"We need all levels of government behind a deal" says Quebec Premier at Climate Week NYC

25 September 2009

Speaking alongside UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to launch Climate Week NYC, Premier Jean Charest of Quebec (Canada) said sub-national governments were already committed to ambitious climate action.

The Premier said that because sub-national and local governments together will need to deliver up to 80 per cent of the cuts needed to global greenhouse gas emissions, many cities, states and provinces around the world were already acting on this responsibility.

Premier Charest said: "If some national governments have been wanting in their will, in their vision of how we should deal with this issue, I think it is worth noting that some our states have stepped up and have done a great deal to bring this issue along. 80 per cent of the work in the implementation of what Copenhagen will deliver will be done by us - the sub-national states. We need to involve not only all governments but all levels of government if we are going to effectively implement the policies that will reduce greenhouse gases."

Premier Charest said that sub-national government will play a crucial role in supporting efforts to secure a new climate deal in Copenhagen and delivered a Statement to the UN Secretary General supported by leaders representing hundreds of states and regions from around the world.

Premier Charest was supported by a delegation of sub-national leaders and representatives including Mme Michele Sabban, Vice President of Ile de France and the President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), Thierry Cornillet President of Association International des Regions Francophonie and Georges Stupar, Regional Councilor with the region of Poitou Charentes.

The pioneering work of sub-national governments was highlighted in a special report on regional action in the Financial Times which was distributed to all Heads of State gathered for the General Assembly Summit on Climate Change.

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, quoted in the FT report, said: "Sub-national governments around the world have shown that it is possible to move fast to develop ambitious climate change strategies and policies that will not only protect the environment but will protect jobs and the economy as well. States and regions can play a vital role as laboratories for low carbon development. They are proving to their national counterparts that it is possible to develop popular and practical climate policies that can reduce emissions and can kick-start a robust low carbon economy. Existing regional leadership on climate change should give national governments the confidence they need to make their own bold commitments on climate change in Copenhagen."

Olaf Kjorven, Assistant Secretary General of the UN Development Program, joined the delegation in a meeting to discuss partnerships between developed and developing country regions to exchange best practice. Speaking at The Climate Group's high level round table on electric vehicles (EVs), Quebec Minister Line Beauchamp said sub-national governments must collaborate with the private sector to advance the up-take of low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles, through the right policies, incentives and infrastructure investments. Georges Stupar discussed Poitou Charetes' recent commitment to invest in and subsidize electric vehicles - a plan that will also create 600 jobs in the region.

Michele Sabban, Vice President of Ile de France and President of the Assembly of European Regions said: "The 270 member regions of the European Assembly for which I had the honour of representing at the opening ceremony of the Climate Week NYC have already moved forward on implementing measures to fight climate change ahead of the negotiations in Copenhagen. For some time sub-national governments have had to cope with the effects of climate change. By supporting innovations and low carbon policies, these regions are already pushing for and evidencing the agreement we need in Copenhagen. The Assembly of European Regions invites all decision-makers, looking for solutions to climate change to take confidence from our leadership. It is time for the public, policymakers and business to join forces to implement fair and global solutions. Copenhagen must deliver and we cannot afford any more delay. I sincerely want to thank The Climate Group, the UN Foundation and the City of New York for ensuring the important work happening in our regions and federated states was represented at the highest possible level during Climate Week to try to advance successful negotiations in Copenhagen."


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