A briefing note on Locally Determined Contributuion by Councillor Andrew Cooper – Green Party Councillor on Kirklees Council , Member of the UK Delegation to the EU Committee of the Regions and Green Party of England Wales Energy Spokesperson.
There is an opportunity at the COP23 Climate Talks in November to bring action on climate change closer to Local and Regional Governments around the world and closer to the communities that they serve.
At COP21 in Paris 2 years ago National Governments expressed their efforts to achieve carbon emission reduction targets as ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ - NDCs. In the case of the UK our NDC made no reference to the work being undertaken by Local Authorities to reduce emissions. Efforts at the local level to improve building standards beyond building regulation, install LED street lights, plant trees to sequester carbon etc were simply not measured or taken into account in those national contributions.
At the International level it is acknowledged that there is a shortfall between the agreed NDCs and the savings required to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C. This reality requires fresh ideas to address this gap.
The growing momentum for Locally Determined Contributions to address Climate Change
There is a growing momentum behind the concept of Locally Determined Contributions where Local and Regional Government can set out their own plans to reduce carbon emissions. The idea was originally conceived by Cllr Andrew Cooper from the UK in his role as a member of the UK Delegation to the EU Committee of the Regions. There is a strong reference in the Opinion he is Rapporteur for on the EU’s Environmental Implementation Review. Another Opinion on Climate Finance by Italian member Marco Dus also makes reference to LDC’s. Both these Opinions will be going forward for approval at the EU Committee of the Regions Session on the 10th and 11th of October. In addition LDC’s are now included in a European Parliament Opinion being led by the Rapporteur French MEP Gilles Pargeneaux on ‘The Role of Regions and Cities in the implementation of the Climate Change Agreement’. His Opinion calls for,
"the creation of a system of Locally Determined Contributions to be implemented in direct and complementary to Nationally Determined Contributions"
Valuing action on Climate Change at the local level
Establishing a system of Locally Determined Contributions, to complement those that are determined by National Governments, could spur action at a local level. We are often asked to ‘Think Global and Act Local’ and by mirroring the terminology of ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ this helps stress the importance of action at the local level.
It is said of many things that if something isn’t measured it isn’t valued. An International system of Locally Determined Contributions would provide a platform for the valuable and vital action by Local and Regional actors to reduce carbon emissions and thereby be a spur to greater action to reduce carbon emissions.
Fostering International Cooperation on Climate Change at the local level
Locally Determined Contributions could help foster international cooperation between Local and Regional Authorities whereby best practice could be shared and peer support provided to those areas needing assistance where it may not be available within their country or from their National Government.
Ensuring the additionality of local action on Climate Change is recognised
Ensuring additionality should be a key feature of Locally Determined Contributions. Some countries are good at linking their NDCs with local action others are not. Being clear about which LDCs are additional and which are contributing to NDCs is important. Both should be measured to ensure local action is valued but it is important to be clear about what is additional, and what is not.
Existing mechanisms such as the Global Covenant of Mayors should be recognised as approved methods of demonstrating compliance as a Locally Determined Contribution. Robust existing methods of demonstrating carbon reductions should not have to go through additional hoops.
Providing a valid platform for local and State Government involvement in climate action in the USA
With the announcement by the current US President of their intention to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement this puts greater emphasis on action in the US at the level of individual State and lower levels of Governments. The US Conference of Mayors has indicated its intention to honour the COP21 Paris Agreement and LDC’s can provide a new structure that enables this involvement on action at the state level.
Accessibility for both large and small municipalities
Local and Regional Government can range from areas representing millions of people to just a few hundred. It is important that Locally Determined Contributions enable participation from Local and Regional Governments from the very small to the those Regional bodies that are larger than some nation states
Bringing COP and Climate Change action closer to local people and communities
The introduction of LDCs/RDCs at the lowest tier of Government will give a new opportunity for engagement with communities and non-governmental organisations. The strong links Local and Regional Authorities have with Community Leaders and key local agencies makes them ideally placed to drive local action on climate change. Establishing Local Partnerships to deliver LDCs and RDCs could provide a new impetus and focus for climate mitigation actions on the ground. LDC’s could provide the same basis for global community involvement at a local level that Local Agenda 21 provided.
Locally Determined Contributions and Brexit
The UK has stated that it will honour its current Nationally Determined Contributions which were part of the EU negotiated total. Though LDCs/RDCs have come out of EU Institutions if they are agreed at COP23 they will become part of an International Agreement and the UK will still be able to engage with them when/if Brexit finally comes into effect.
Councillor Andrew Cooper
Email - Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org
Moble - + 44 (0) 7721 348619