The report finds that in 2016, cities, regions, and companies covered 40% of the EU’s GHG emissions with short- to mid-term targets (2020-2030) and, as of October 2020, 36% of the EU’s population lived in cities or regions with net zero emissions targets.
The report reviews the actions of the 130 international cooperative initiatives in the EU, and flags upcoming improvements to the methodology of tracking specific emissions reduction goals by subnational and non-state actors.
The New Climate Institute has published an overview of subnational and non-state climate action in the EU, interactions between EU policy making and subnational and non-state actors, the potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions that can be achieved in addition to the reductions under national policies, and progress achieved by EU subnational and non-state actors towards their own short- and mid-term targets and long-term goals.
Commissioned by the European Commission, the report titled, ‘Subnational and Non-state Climate Action in the EU,’ reviews findings from recent literature on the current landscape, emissions reduction potential, and implementation of climate actions by subnational and non-state actors.
The report finds that in 2016, quantifiable commitments by cities, regions, and companies in the EU covered 1.5 GtCO2e per year, representing 40% of the EU’s GHG emissions, with short- to mid-term targets (2020-2030). Additionally, as of October 2020, 36% of the EU’s population, or 162 million people, now live in cities or regions with net zero emissions targets.
According to the report, 130 international cooperative initiatives (ICIs), or partnerships of subnational and non-state actors, national governments, and/or international organizations in the EU focus on reducing GHG emissions across all sectors. While the majority of Europe’s ICIs focus on indirect targets, such as knowledge dissemination, consulting governments, and lobbying, some also aim for direct emissions reduction impacts, typically with more ambitious targets than those generated by national or EU policy.
The report notes that the methodology and breadth of publicly available information does not yet exist to clearly track progress in terms of achieving specific emissions reduction goals by subnational and non-state actors. The UNFCCC Global Climate Action Portal has been developing a list of indicators that would more effectively track this progress, and more assessments are expected in the near future. The report concludes that these early results prove that subnational and non-state actors have the potential to make significant contributions to GHG emissions reduction in the EU if realized in coordination with national and EU-level policies.
The report contributes to the European Climate Pact, a platform for knowledge and action collaboration, founded in December 2020 as part of the European Green Deal with the goal of developing solutions and building networks focused on addressing the challenges of climate change. [Publication: Subnational and Non-state Climate Action in the EU] [EU Press Release]
By Gabriel Gordon-Harper, Thematic Expert on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy