Commitments to climate actions made by more than 9,000 cities: UN yearbook

Commitments to climate actions have been made by more than 9,000 cities from 128 countries, around 240 states and regions from over 40 countries and more than 6,000 businesses in 120 countries representing $36 trillion, says a UN yearbook for 2018.

Making commitments is only the first step towards the transformations necessary to achieve the Paris climate goals, says “Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2018” released by the UN Climate Change secretariat on the margins of the just concluded UN climate change conference in Poland, known as COP24.

It takes stock of progress — from all levels of government, the private sector and civil society — towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

With the Trump administration rolling out its proposal for scrapping former President Barack Obama’s climate change regulations, many non-party stake-holders have taken a leadership role and made new or renewed commitments on climate change, says the yearbook.

The impact of these individual commitments alone is significant compared to current national (party) policies, potentially reducing emissions to at least halfway to meeting the original US commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

In India, current national policies have set the country on a path to achieving nationally determined contributions or NDCs. So, full implementation of commitments by non-party stake-holders in India could bring emissions below the levels mentioned in the country’s NDC, it says.

The additional impacts of individual commitments in China, EU, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and South Africa are small compared to the current national policies scenario.

In Russia, no cities, regions or companies have reported quantifiable individual commitments.

In China, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa, emission reductions from cooperative initiatives would bring emissions in 2030 to below the NDC trajectory for each country.

If the cooperative initiatives are fully implemented in the EU, emissions would be close to the EU’s NDC target.

Participation in cooperative agreements could bring emission levels in each of Indonesia, Mexico and Japan to approximately meet their NDC target.

Praising the non-party stake-holders in stepping up climate actions, the yearbook says many individual cities, regions and companies have made new or more ambitious commitments, covering areas such as greenhouse gas emission reductions; purchasing renewable energy or electric vehicles; and divesting from or stopping coal investments.

The number of corporations committing to use 100 per cent renewable power has continued to grow, with Sony, Grupo Bimbo and Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India among the more than 150 companies now signed up to RE 100.

The total renewables demand from these companies is now equivalent to the power needed by a medium-sized country such as Thailand.

The EV100 initiative has expanded geographically, now bringing together more than 20 companies in China, Europe, India, Japan, Oceania and North America committed to making electric transport the new normal.

The EP100 initiative has also seen substantial growth, with more than 30 companies now committed to making smarter use of energy.

This includes new joiners from heavy-emitting sectors, such as Ultratech Cement, Sasol and Mahindra Heavy Engines Ltd.

“Climate change remains a growing, existential threat. We were given stark warnings of this in 2018 from scientists in the Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius report of the International Panel on Climate Change and from nature in the form of record-breaking temperatures and extreme weather events,” says UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

“Are we doing enough? The answer is clearly, no. We need to commit to urgent, increasingly ambitious global climate action,” she said in her foreword.

Source: IANS