Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Climate and energy transition

Climate - 07.11.2008

Local and regional authorities engage in climate change policy
At their joint meeting on 6 and 7 November in Edinburgh, CEMR's working groups on energy and environment (35 participants from 15 countries) exchanged experience and views on climate change. Many local and regional authorities take measures to adapt to the changes (e.g. heavy rain falls in some areas, droughts in others, rise in temperatures and sea level, erosions, etc.).
Given the current economic and financial crises, the newly elected Chairs, Councillor Alison Hay, UK (environment) and former MEP Alexander de Roo, NL (energy) raised their concerns that the significance of climate change might be watered down on the political agenda. They stressed the importance of national governments and the EU continuing to invest in adaptation and mitigation measures: 'We welcome the example of the German government, which in 2008 has approved a € 50 billion investment programme, which also provides financial incentives for local authorities and will help them to finance initiatives for climate adaptation and mitigation measures and encourage the implementation of renewable energies."
They also expect major initiatives from the newly elected American President, Barack Obama, who has announced his intention that the US will invest in new environmentally friendly technologies and CO2 reductions: 'The return of the USA as a partner of the EU in the UN climate negotiations is most welcome in light of the increasing CO2 emissions worldwide."
Local and regional authorities are ready to take measures, but adequate funding is crucial. Members of the working groups agreed that national governments should allocate a significant part of the income from emission trading, which will come into effect in 2013, to climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, including funding local and regional authorities to be more effective on climate change.
CEMR supports the initiative of the international local government representative bodies, UCLG (United Cities and Local Government) and ICLEI, that local and regional authorities should be involved in the United Nations Climate Summit in Poznan (COP 14: 1 - 12 December 2008) and Copenhagen (COP 15: December 2009) and their role be recognised in the post-Kyoto climate agreement.
We also invite local and regional politicians to participate in the Local Government Climate Change Leadership Summit on 2 - 4 June 2009 in Copenhagen, co-organised by the Danish Local Government Association. Prior to the COP 15 conference and in its host city, we aim to prepare and deliver a strong message to the negotiating parties and the national governments. CEMR will strengthen its activities in the area of climate change and hold a debate during its General Assembly in April 2009 in Malmo.
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