ICLEI Report Highlights Need for Multilevel Climate Action
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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A report by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability finds that subnational entities are commonly going beyond the ambition of their respective countries’ nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Data analyzed offer a detailed view of how climate impacts will manifest at subnational level, and enable a comprehensive view of initiatives on sustainable energy, mobility and air quality.

The report’s review of efforts on monitoring, reporting and verification describes the carbonn Climate Registry’s integrated platform, where subnational peers can submit and compare data.

5 December 2018: A report by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability calls for alignment of and data sharing between local, regional and national governments in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The report analyzes data from the carbonn Climate Registry (cCR), which covers 1,060 subnational governments in 89 countries, to demonstrate the value of subnational climate data.

Titled, ‘Multilevel Climate Action: The Path to 1.5 Degrees,’ the publication references the October 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which highlights the urgency of climate action. Even in a 1.5°C warming scenario, ICLEI recalls, up to 15 percent of the global population could be exposed to severe heat and up to 69 million people to flooding. Cities, which ICLEI notes produce up to 70 percent of global energy-related emissions, represent a major player in terms of both environmental footprint of and social impact from climate change.

ICLEI’s report finds that, although there are few subnational commitments on a 1.5°C warming target, subnational governments are commonly going beyond the ambition of their respective countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Subnational reporting, the report highlights, shows where and how subnational governments are taking climate action.

NDCs do not necessarily reflect the emission reduction potential in cities and regions.

The cCR data analyzed offer a detailed view of how climate impacts will manifest at subnational level. They also enable a comprehensive view of initiatives on sustainable energy, mobility and air quality, each of which contribute to the SDGs and yield further co-benefits for society. Emphasizing growth in reporting rates, entities and reductions submitted to the cCR, ICLEI’s analysis shows a “broad-scale, growing ambition among local and regional governments, as well as increasing capacity to manage and report climate data.”

In a context of enhancing capacity, ICLEI’s analysis finds that, out of 392 reported community-scale climate mitigation targets, 184 are more ambitious than their respective NDC, but only 14 align with a 1.5°C target. Mapping the subnational trends aligned with a 1.5°C scenario shows that these are primarily in northern Europe, southern and eastern Asia, and several cities in South Africa and North America, – many in countries whose NDCs do not align with 1.5°C, or even 2°C, of warming. Thus, the analysis shows that NDCs do not necessarily reflect the emission reduction potential in cities and regions.

The report’s review of efforts on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) flags the cCR’s integrated platform where subnational peers can submit and compare data. Describing the benefits of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) developed by ICLEI, C40 and the World Resources Institute (WRI), the report underscores the importance of common measurements that enable consistent accounting of emissions, a better understanding of trajectories, and more effective, coordinated action by subnational entities.

Subnational data and the report’s analyses, an ICLEI blog notes, provides insight into the mitigation potential and adaptation needs of countries, enabling national governments to better align NDCs with the 1.5°C target and lay out more targeted adaptation plans. However, the blog recalls that such planning demands a multilevel approach, with political buy-in to set up mechanisms for national-subnational knowledge sharing, collaboration and policy alignment as well as holistic reporting mechanisms.

The report was launched during the Katowice Climate Change Conference that took place in Poland from 2-14 December. [Publication: Multilevel Climate Action: The Path to 1.5 Degrees] [ICLEI Blog Post] [carbonn Climate Registry (cCR)]


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