Towns, cities and regions march with youth for the climate
The time for action is now
Joint press release of CEMR, Climate Alliance, EUROCITIES, Energy Cities, FEDARENE and ICLEI
Brussels, 14 March 2019. For the first time in Europe’s history, towns, cities and regions are marching along with young people from around the world in a Global Climate Strike for the Future. Six local government networks inspired by the youth’s call to action will join the strike on 15 March in Brussels. They jointly call on the European Union and national leaders to take the necessary steps to address climate change in a just and timely manner.
Their main demand: to take heed of calls by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global warming to 1.5°C. According to the networks, reaching this overarching goal will mean divestment from fossil fuels, urgently rethinking the EU climate strategy and empowering local and regional governments.
Towns, cities and regions call on the EU to entirely divest from fossil fuels
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has disbursed €12 billion in fossil fuel projects since 2013. To adequately address the climate crisis, towns, cities and regions are calling on the EIB to completely divest from fossil fuels. They also call on the EU to do so with the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), in order to create a transformative transition fund. On top of this, they deem it necessary to make more funding programmes available, to replicate successful initiatives and to raise awareness of the benefits of climate and energy policies. This demand reflects a larger call for a shift in priorities: for the limitations of the Earth and the lives of future generations to take precedence over immediate wants and needs.
Urgency of an EU climate strategy that safeguards the future and steps up present action
According to Europe’s towns, cities and regions, the EU must significantly step up and accelerate the overall energy transition, ensuring that rapid progress is made in decarbonising Europe’s energy system. Additionally, an adequately coordinated, durable, long-term climate strategy must be put into place. The energy transition will also have the added value of acting as a strong driver for European cohesion in the long run.
Empowering local and regional governments as a solution to the climate crisis
Policies cannot be functional if they do not take into account the needs and capacities of the towns, cities and regions who will be implementing and experiencing them on the ground. As the areas that will be most impacted, they are eager to contribute to and co-create solutions. To do so, the consistency of ambitions, needs and support between all levels of government is crucial. Local action remains the best way to meet the global challenge of climate change, as it empowers citizens and bridges the gap between communities and policy-makers. In a similar fashion, the Covenant of Mayors can play a crucial role in climate action on the ground.
Sarah Mekjian, Climate Alliance
+49 69 7171 39 -20 | s.mekjian(at)climatealliance.org
Photo: Gustave Deghilage