Local responsibility for COP21 goals

Councillor Andrew Cooper wants inclusion of local contributions in measurement of climate progress

The European Committee of the Regions, representing local and regional government on the European stage, has backed an innovative proposal by a UK Green Party councillor which could allow subnational authorities, not just national authorities, to contribute to the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The carbon savings agreed at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference were made up of Nationally Determined Contributions, allowing national governments to decide what level of carbon saving they would be able to commit to. But it has become clear that the agreed reductions are insufficient to limit global temperature rises to 1.5-2°C.

Councillor Andrew Cooper’s proposal involves the establishment of Locally Determined Contributions, enabling regional bodies to contribute to the Paris climate goals with their own carbon reduction plans. This could help to bridge the gap between savings already identified and those needed to keep climate change at a survivable level.

Cooper said: “We can now take this forward and see if we can get it accepted as a global proposal, empowering local and regional governments worldwide to take action on climate change.

“If we can get Locally Determined Contributions adopted as a global concept it will be applicable to the UK, Brexit or no Brexit. The proposal will also allow individual American states to take action despite the Trump presidency’s decision not to ratify the Paris Agreement.

“The EU Committee of the Regions will work with the US Conference of Mayors to ensure local action works for global benefit, despite the opinions of the national government.”