The next decade is when the climate challenge becomes unavoidable. If we want to avert the worst impacts of global temperature rises, scientists say we must cut global carbon emissions in half by 2030, making the next 10 years crucial. By now you might have heard our CEO Helen Clarkson speak of the ‘Climate Decade’. As we head into it, we want to showcase how action by state and regional governments can deliver the leadership that is needed.
Here are some responses from our partners on what the Climate Decade means to them:
Roseanna Cunningham, Climate Change Secretary, Scottish Government
“In Scotland we’ve already almost halved greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, and now we are picking up the pace still further. The next decade is absolutely crucial, and we will use it to deliver three interconnected priorities.
“Firstly, we are setting out our pathway to end our contribution to climate change, definitively, within a generation. We will do this through a fair and just transition: no-one will be left behind. That means getting everyone across Scotland involved. This has to be a truly national endeavour.
“Secondly, we have to lay the groundwork, including by bringing a zero carbon focus to our future infrastructure investments, that will help to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 at the latest.
“And thirdly, we are doing everything in our power to reduce emissions immediately. We have a statutory target to reduce emissions by 56% by 2020, and 75% by 2030, and there’s a target for every year in between. That means bold action now to reshape our economy so that climate-neutral living becomes the norm.
“We also recognize that the need for international co-operation on climate change is also greater than ever, and will be working with partners such as the Under 2 Coalition to respond to the global climate emergency.”
Baden-Württemberg – Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector
“The race against climate change is a race which will only have been won when every single country and every single region has reached the zero-emissions-line.
“The next decade is crucial not only for the agreement of climate targets but also for the implementation of the necessary measures. To be successful, we need to enlist the support of all those involved – citizens, businesses, emerging economies and developed economies. This is the big challenge I see for the next 10 years.
“The Under2 Coalition as a worldwide network of states and regions committed to climate action can play a vital role in this process. We connect national governments and local communities and businesses.
“We are at the forefront of developing and implementing pragmatic climate protection policies. The Under2 Coalition can help to forge a shared commitment to climate action and heal existing rifts.”
Damià Calvet, Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Government of Catalonia
“The development and implementation of the provisions established by the Catalan Climate Change Law – carbon budgets, CO2 taxes, a Climate Fund, a Climate Change Committee of Experts and a Climate Change Social Conference – will in effect be the leapfrog to accelerate the transition to a carbon neutral society.
“During the next decade, Catalonia needs to face the greatest disruption ever in terms of energy transition, mobility decarbonization and the circular economy in order to become carbon neutral, a major shift that must be driven by all sectors, governments and citizens.
“Meanwhile, we will continue to tackle climate effects within our territories aiming at reducing vulnerability in the planning and implementation of all Government-owned sectoral policies, whereas successfully involving private sector as an active adaptation agent.
“At this very decisive time, we as society are bound with the same vision and we are working towards the same neutrality objective.”
Scott Glenn, Chief Energy Officer, Government of Hawaii
“Hawaiʻi is often described as the most isolated place on earth, but it’s also at the center of the blue continent-the ocean connects us to everywhere else. We feel the same responsibility as others for our Island Earth. Like other members of the Under2 Coalition, Hawaiʻi is committed to ambitious climate action in line with the Paris Agreement.
Hawaiʻi was the first state to adopt a 100% renewable electricity target by 2045. We also were the first state to commit to the Paris Agreement by statute and to commit to a carbon negative standard. We know our destination, and now is the time to implement.
During this climate decade, there will be formidable challenges, but Hawaiʻi remains steadfast in its commitment to mitigating the disastrous effects of climate change by pursing its carbon negative goal as quickly as practicable in an equitable way.”
Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of Natural Resources, Government of California
“For California, the past two decades were already climate decades, as we passed groundbreaking policies to price carbon, drive low-carbon fuel and technologies, and focus investments on our most vulnerable communities. We now need to ramp up even more quickly, while also recognizing the reality that climate impacts are hitting our state today.
“We pledge to spend the next ten years reducing climate risk while achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. We pledge to focus most intently on the areas where we need to make the most progress: transportation and land use. We will do this not by viewing climate as an environmental issue only, but as something we must consider across every one of our policies and investments.
“Like globalization and automation, climate change is a macroeconomic force that brings both risks and opportunities. We pledge to reduce the risks and seize the opportunities, and to continue showing the world what’s possible.”
Camilo Romero, Governor of Nariño
“In Nariño, we consider the 2020s to be a huge opportunity to strengthen climate work at the subnational level and to increase ambition.
“For local governments in diverse states, such as Nariño, nature-based solutions and low-emission sector development are the way to close the gaps and reach carbon-neutral economies.
“The climate decade is perhaps one of the last opportunities we have as human beings to claim against life and this common house that belongs to all of us.”
Sayda Melina Rodríguez Gómez, State Secretary of Sustainable Development, Government of Yucatán
“We are living now with the effects of climate change, each day and each year that goes by is getting more notorious. That is why it is time for action and partnership, ambitious emissions reduction goals will not be achieved by themselves, they have to be approached from different angles and involve multidisciplinary actors.
“Our climate reality urges for action, and one of the ways of combatting the challenge is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy, just as the SDG’s state.
“From Yucatán, to the Yucatán Peninsula, to México and the world, we must ensure a sustainable future for our children, and for that we must work together.”
Virginia Avila, Deputy Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Tucumán Government
“Tucumán Government is engaging in climate change with a multi-disciplinary approach. In collaboration with the academic and the private sector we are investigating how to restructure our economic-productive matrix around sustainable growth.
“During the next decade we plan to increase our production in an environmentally friendly way. As a first step, 13 provincial companies have pledged to reduce 3% until the first semester of 2020.
“We believe the modernization of the energy sector, necessary to transform waste into resources, is fundamental to the environmental struggle. We therefore promote the reuse of waste from our largest productive sources – sugarcane and lemon – by converting it into biofuel (biogas, bioethanol).
“We will work to continue advancing in the matter, always taking advantage of international initiatives such as the Under2 Coalition; we recognize the value of these spaces, since we consider climate change a global problem. And global problems need global solutions.”