Climate Alliance commitments
Climate Alliance members have committed themselves to the continuous reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions, pledging to cut emissions by 10 percent every 5 years, equivalent
to a halving of per capita emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels. Each member has also signed
up to the long term goal of levelling off at 2.5 tonnes CO2 per person and year. By comparison, the European Environment Agency estimates that the average European emitted about 9 tonnes of CO2 in 2012. Clearly there is much to be done.
Climate Alliance cities undertake a wide array of measures to close this emissions gap, mostly focusing on a mix of energy conservation, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies.
The power of the local level
Local governments are luckily in a relatively influential position when it comes to the ability to provoke positive change. They can implement urban planning and transport policy that promote climate-friendly mobility. They can give incentives and shape building codes to encourage energy efficiency in the building sector, not to mention the potential they have to serve as role models with their own public buildings stock. They can shape their emissions through targeted, climate-conscious public procurement, water use and waste disposal strategies, and they also hold sway in terms of agriculture, forestry and tourism. Finally, municipalities can engage their residents to contribute to the fight against climate change in their everyday lives, be it in terms of consumption patterns, lifestyle choices or ways of doing business.
Of course, the local level cannot act in a vacuum – reaching ambitious targets will also require concerted efforts on the international, national and regional levels. By getting off to a head start locally, however, Climate Alliance members are leading by example.