Side events during the Glasgow Climate Change Conference showcased state and regional actions that are leading the response to climate change.
An event on just transition highlighted that using a skills agenda is critical, for example, finding ways to use fossil fuel workers' skills in a decarbonized economy.
Closing speakers noted the need for long-term, predictable funding for local-level activities, and said that by 2050 as many as 70% of the world’s population will live in cities.
Side events during the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26) showcased state and regional actions that are leading the response to climate change. The events highlighted below took place during the second week of COP 26 at the Multilevel Action Pavilion, hosted by the Government of Scotland and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.
On 8 November, the Under2: States and Regions for the Climate Decade event showcased state and regional actions that are leading climate ambition. Local and sub-national governments shared their experiences developing policy actions that are moving the needle to halve carbon emissions by 2030. The event launched the ‘Further, Faster, Together: Under2 Net Zero Leaders Action MoU’ and discussed the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration.
Yucatán, São Paulo, and Hawai’i featured their initiatives for climate action.
The Under2 Coalition, a global community of state and regional governments committed to ambitious climate action in line with the Paris Agreement, represents 50% of the global economy and 1.75 billion people across 260 governments. It includes such initiatives as the Future Fund, which empowers subnational governments in developing countries and emerging economies. Governments from the US states of Oregon and Hawai’i spoke, as did representatives from Yucatán, Mexico, São Paulo, Brazil, and the Scottish Government.
On 9 November, an event titled Delivering a Just Transition—The Role of Cities, Regions, and Devolved Governments, considered how each level of government can facilitate a just transition. Panelists representing the UK, US, and EU governments and commissions provided local examples of transitioning coal workers into the new economy, increasing small farmer biodiesel agriculture, and supporting farmers in the transition to an increase in tree planting and a timber economy.
Jim Skea, Just Transition Commission, Scotland, highlighted lessons learned, including that: using a skills agenda is critical, for example, finding ways to use fossil fuel workers’ skills in a decarbonized economy; people in local communities must feel ownership of the transition process; governments should build on lessons about inequalities learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other take-aways from the event included: the need to reinvent governance from the bottom-up, with citizens deciding how money is spent; that smaller-scale funding, through micro-grants and slow-funding, spent locally makes a bigger difference than large sums; and, in addition to the fossil fuel industry, other sectors that traditionally hold a lot of power, like marketing and law, should also be reinvented and push for best practice in light of climate change and a just transition.
During a 10 November event, titled Game On: City Ambitions Towards Future-Proof and Equitable Mobility Systems, participants exchanged experiences on meeting the urgent demand for transformation and establishing healthy, efficient, and inclusive urban transport experiences that simultaneously decarbonize and promote clean economic growth. Also highlighted were ICLEI’s EcoMobility Alliance, which promotes travel in an integrated, socially inclusive, and environmentally-friendly manner, and its EcoLogistics programme, which encourages shortening supply chains through circular and regional economies, while limiting the impact of freight transport. The discussion addressed the need to invest in communications campaigns and sanitation strategies to build public trust in transport in light of COVID-19.
On 11 November, a policy dialogue on Local Government and Municipal Authorities COP 26 Multilevel Partnership brought together senior local elected officials. Main messages from the session included: the vast majority of actions to address climate change must be taken at the local level and all spheres of government; reaching climate change targets is impossible without mobilizing regional and local governments and authorities; and an impressive array of activities are already taking place at the local level, and need to be sustainably financed and scaled up.
The Multilevel Action Pavilion held its closing event on 12 November. The event titled EU Green Deal: From Local to Global highlighted the need to strengthen the level of ambition after COP 26 and the critical role of local and regional authorities. Leaders and representatives from regional and local government assessed the state of play on the final day of COP 26 and discussed the importance of local initiatives to make sufficient progress. Speakers called for greater recognition of local and regional authorities (LRAs) in the COP 26 outcome document.
Closing speakers highlighted the need for: long-term, predictable funding for local-level activities, noting that by 2050 as many as 70% of the world’s population will live in cities; major action regarding transportation systems and energy efficiency for households; and multi-stakeholder cooperation among LRAs, central governments, academia, business, and other groups. [Multilevel Action Pavilion at COP 26] [ENB coverage of pavilion events]