Landmark Climate Action Statement Strengthens Collaboration Across the Americas

Twenty-two states and regions have signed the first-ever Pan-American action statement on climate change. The Climate Action Statement highlights the urgency of combatting climate change, affirms that state, provincial and municipal governments are leaders in achieving impactful global climate action and acknowledges the need to work together to continue reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

The signing took place today in Toronto, Ontario at the Climate Summit of the Americas. Signatories include representatives of states and regions from across the Americas, including Brazil, Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.

The statement builds on recent agreements, including California’s Under 2 Memorandum of Understanding, which stresses the need for immediate action to limit global warming to 2°C, and the Compact of States and Regions, which commits partner jurisdictions to annual public reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. The statement calls for greater national action at the United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris, and support for regional measures.

The parties make the following commitments:

“So alongside the intended nationally determined contributions (INDC) being put forward by national governments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), today we, the leaders of State/Provincial and Municipal governments across the Americas, put forward our own climate commitments.

These commitments allow flexibility for locally determined actions and approaches, and we support them by agreeing to undertake or participate in one or more of:

  1. GHG emission reduction targets or other quantitative commitments recently made by signatories that contribute to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) objective of limiting the increase in global temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, recognizing that developed and developing jurisdictions may set different targets.
  2. Commitments by governments to join the Compact of States and Regions and the Compact of Mayors and publicly report on progress to reduce emissions, demonstrating continued progress. (Appendix I: Compact of States and Regions and Compact of Mayors)
  3. Commitments by governments to join the Under 2 MOU and undertake concrete actions across sectors such as energy and transportation. (Appendix II: Under 2 MOU)
  4. Support for carbon pricing as an effective way of encouraging emission reductions, including identifying opportunities for linking systems as much as possible. Additionally, today governments commit to join the World Bank Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition and endorse the World Bank’s “Put a Price on Carbon Statement”. (Appendix III: Putting a Price on Carbon Statement)

We invite other state, regional and municipal governments to join us in this effort. We also call on national leaders to: learn from and build on these actions, work with us to support and expand low-carbon opportunities, develop ambitious INDCS, and finalize a global agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year in line with the goal of avoiding dangerous climate change.”

Former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore had this to say about the statement,

Around the world, people are calling on their leaders to take climate action and the elected officials represented here are demonstrating the bold leadership we need. The Climate Action Statement will not only reduce emissions in the regions represented, but will inspire stronger federal action and bolster a historic agreement in Paris. I’m more convinced than ever that we will solve the climate crisis. Today’s agreement, and the continued leadership of subnational leaders everywhere, is a crucial part of the solution.

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Manning Environmental Law is a Canadian law firm  based in Toronto, Ontario. Our practice is focussed on environmental law, energy law and aboriginal law. 

Paul Manning is a certified specialist in environmental law. He has been named as one of Canada’s leading Environmental Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal: Canada and ranked by Lexpert as one of Canada’s Leading Energy Lawyers.

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