Local governments boost climate action

 

Following President Trump’s announcement of the US’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change, subnational authorities, including federal states and cities, made ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction pledges consistent with the Paris Agreement goals. Over the past weeks, Australian local governments, California, US and Spain’s autonomous community of Catalonia undertook mitigation actions through GHG emissions reductions and emissions trading, among others.


Thirty-five Australian local councils, including Canberra, Alice Springs, Newcastle, North Sydney, Kur-ring-gai and Penrith, committed to develop green and climate-resilient communities, switching to renewables and building green transport infrastructure. As part of the Cities Power Partnership launched by Australia’s Climate Council, the initiative encourages participating councils to choose five specific actions ranging from energy-efficient street lighting, setting minimum energy efficiency standards for planning applications, ensuring that new developments maximize public transport use and setting renewable energy or GHG emissions reduction targets. The councils are expected to report on their progress after six months. [Climate Action Press Release]

California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill extending the state’s cap-and-trade program by 10 years until 2030 to ensure that California continues to meet its climate change goals. The law also introduces a number of improvements, including cutting the use of out-of-state carbon offsets, decreasing free carbon allowances and prioritising cap-and-trade spending. The bill passed in both the California State Senate and Assembly with support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers as well as over 150 environmental, climate, public health, clean energy and technology, agriculture, food processing, business, labor, local government, community and utility leaders; researchers and economists; and newspaper editorial boards from across the state.


Catalonia’s Parliament passed a climate change law, pledging to reduce the region’s GHG emissions by 40% by 2030, by 65% by 2040 and by 100% by 2050. The law also introduces new and reinforces existing taxes on carbon emissions from industry and transport and on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ships.

This article first appeared on the International Institute for Sustainable Development on 2 August 2017 here

 

 

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