Regional administrations band together on climate change

By on 13/04/2017 | Updated on 04/02/2022
Scotland has pledged to cut CO2 emissions by four fifths, and is developing an offshore wind farm using turbines that would dwarf Edinburgh’s Scott Monument (Image courtesy: Statoil)

Scotland has joined a global coalition of regional administrations that is pushing for ambitious targets and national action to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Scottish government has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of California – a founding partner in the Under2 Coalition.

It has also pledged to provide expert staff to other administrations in the coalition, to lead working groups, and to help organise a summit in 2018 aimed at persuading national governments to step up their efforts on tackling climate change.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Edmund G Brown, the Governor of California (CA), signed the MoU and discussed how they could work together on cutting emissions and developing offshore wind technology on 2 April in Sacramento, CA.

Construction is set to begin this year on the world’s first deep-water wind park 25km from Scotland’s east coast. Statoil’s Hywind Scotland Pilot Park is pioneering the installation of wind turbines in deep waters.

Sturgeon said after the meeting: “Scotland is making huge progress in delivering our climate change ambitions, but we are not complacent and there is still much to achieve.”

In 2009, Scotland set a target for a cut in emissions of at least 42% by 2020, and went on to exceed the benchmark six years early. The Scottish government’s draft new climate change plan sets out proposals for driving emissions down further, cutting them by two thirds by 2032. It aims to deliver a low-carbon transition that promotes inclusion and sustainable growth.

The Under2 Coalition is a group of 167 regional governments across 33 countries worldwide. All have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by between 80 and 95% of 1990 levels, or to limit emissions to a level equivalent to less than two metric tons per capita, by 2050.

The targets are in line with research findings on the emission levels necessary to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – the goal set by the Paris Agreement on climate change, which took effect in November 2016.

The coalition, which originated in a partnership between California and the German Länder of Baden-Württemberg, maintains that ‘sub-national’ governments are particularly well-placed to tackle climate change because they control many relevant policy areas and can try out innovative policies.

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See also:

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About Liz Heron

Liz Heron is a journalist based in London. She worked on daily newspapers for more than 16 years as an education correspondent, section editor and general news reporter. She was Education Editor of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and has contributed to a wide range of British media including The Independent, The Guardian and the BBC.

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