Speaking at the plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions, Commissioner for Climate Change and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, stated that delivering the EU’s 2030 targets and global commitments will largely depend upon concrete action on the ground.
“Successful implementation relies on Europe’s local actors – we cannot succeed without supporting them” – he stated – “Elected leaders of Europe’s cities and regions have a unique role: by taking action, they lead by example and push other decision-makers to join the low-carbon transition“.
Miguel Arias Cañete further highlighted the Commission’s support for local climate and action through two important bottom-up initiatives: the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and Smart Cities and Communities.
Representing the EPP Group in this debate, Cor Lamers, chair of the CoR’s ENVE commission, stressed three points of great importance for local and regional levels: decarbonisation, delivery and governance: “Nobody should ask the question whether to decarbonise or not, but rather how to do it in a smart way” – he stated, arguing that all agreements or statements in this area need to find daylight and go beyond paper.
“Decarbonisation and the delivery of results cannot be done at one level only. It is a joint venture which requires the involvement of many relevant stakeholders. Regional and local authorities are essential in the planning and implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures” – the CoR ENVE commission chairman stressed. – “The Paris Agreement acknowledged this and the active involvement of regional and local authorities is a pre-requisite for the success of the Energy Union governance“.
Commissioner Cañete underlined the perfect timing of the debate just a few weeks before the next UN climate conference and during the European Week of Regions and Cities, highlighting its three themes – local resilience, taking action and sharing knowledge – are all extremely relevant for climate and energy.