Research report

Global climate action of regions, states and businesses

Individual actors, collective initiatives and their impact on global greenhouse gas emissions

5 Sep 2018
Description

Since the Paris Climate Agreement solidified an “all hands on deck” approach to climate change, cities, regions and businesses have become key contributors to mitigation, adaptation and finance efforts. These actors are pledging a range of actions, from directly reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions footprints, to building capacity for climate adaptation and resilience to providing private finance. They are also working together to collectively deliver systemic impacts across sectors and economies. This report aims to inform the Sept. 2018 Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco, which convenes city, region, business and civil society representatives from around the world to discuss their contributions to global climate action. The conclusions and recommendations we provide in the report are broader, however, and could also inform international discussions such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Talanoa Dialogue which, among others, seeks to include non-Party stakeholders such as regions, states, cities and business in global climate governance.

In this report, we evaluate individual climate mitigation commitments made by nearly 6,000 cities, states, and regions representing 7 percent of the global population and more than 2,000 companies with a combined revenue of over 21 trillion USD – nearly the size of the U.S. economy. This report quantifies for the first time the combined impact of these actors’ recorded and quantifiable greenhouse gas mitigation pledges on global greenhouse emissions in 2030, focusing on 9 high-emitting countries – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and the United States – and the European Union. The individual efforts of the evaluated states, cities and businesses, however, represent only a snapshot of the full picture of non-state and subnational climate action occurring globally. We also evaluate international cooperative initiatives, where regions, states, cities, businesses – frequently in partnership with national governments and civil society – collectively commit to climate goals.

Implications for national governments. The level of ambition from some cities, regions and businesses as found in our analysis is encouraging and could accelerate or increase implementation of national policies and national climate proposals under the Paris Agreement, particularly in the United States. International cooperative initiatives’ climate goals are encouraging and illustrate the potential for deeper emissions cuts when national governments partner with non-state and subnational actors. Their full implementation would narrow, and perhaps even close, the gap between the world’s current emissions pathway and the emissions reductions needed to reach the long- term goals of the Paris Agreement. Delivering on this promise requires the implementation of individual actors’ commitments and the cooperative initiatives’ goals.

Project team: Angel Hsu, Amy Weinfurter, Andrew Feierman, Yihao Xie, Zhi Yi Yeo, Katharina Lütkehermöller, Takeshi Kuramochi, Swithin Lui, Niklas Höhne, Mark Roelfsema

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2018
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