(26 November 2015) – Ahead of COP21, EU cities and regions are seeking a bigger role and an expanded toolbox to implement any climate agreement reached in Paris.
No matter what agreement is ultimately reached, EU regions claim it won’t be effectively implemented without an enhanced role for local authorities. “Cities and regions are called upon to turn climate policy into a reality. It’s worth remembering that they are responsible for 70% of climate change reduction and up to 90% of climate change adaptation measures,” Committee of the Regions (CoR) President, Markku Markkula, told EurActiv.
Mr Markkula stressed that regions are on the frontline of climate action and play a key role in decisions related to road traffic, smart transport systems and energy savings in buildings. He pointed out, though, that all legal, technical and financial barriers need to be removed in order for regions to play their full part.
“For instance a city could choose to provide its schools and public canteens with local sustainable food, but under current procurement rules it is nearly impossible as it could breach EU competition law. It is, therefore, crucial that cities and regions help shape the UN agreement to make it as effective as possible,” Markkula said.
The active participation of local communities is also key, he claimed. “If regions and cities do not have their citizens and communities on board, their climate policy will stay ineffective,” Markkula stressed. “This is why the CoR is mobilising the bottom-up movement with cities and regions as drivers of action,” he said, adding that only a clear dialogue with all stakeholders can create a climate awareness culture. (EurActiv)