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COP21: What next for Greater Manchester?

The world arrived in Paris in December for a much-anticipated conference on Climate Change.

The occasion was lauded as being ‘our last chance to do something about halting (our destruction) of this planet.’ 

After 12 days and nights of passionate discussion, leaders came to a momentous, legally binding agreement to work together to reduce climate change. 

The Governments of the world united in action on climate change by adopting the Paris Agreement – the world’s first universal climate change agreement. 

It is hoped that this agreement, made by 185 nations, will stimulate a transformation of global growth and development and open the door to a stable, more sustainable future.

Major cities, regions, companies and investors from around the globe promised to quickly and effectively help implement the universal climate change agreement and accelerate the transformative changes needed to meet the climate change challenge.

This landmark pledge is a signal that the message sent by the negotiations has been received loud and clear and that all supporters are now ready and willing to stand shoulder to shoulder, alongside governments, to implement the terms of the agreement.

This is our best opportunity to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, with the intent to pursue a 1.5 degree target, and raise ambition even before the agreement takes effect in 2020.

"City voices joining together to influence world leaders - this is exactly how Greater Manchester played its part in Paris"

The pledge is supported by the COP21 French Presidency and comprises a diverse range of organisations that are already committed to quickly mitigating emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

These groups include: members of the Under 2 MOU; White House Act on Climate Pledge; Montreal Carbon Pledge; the PSI Insurance Network; the We Mean Business ‘Road to Paris’ initiatives; the Paris City Hall Declaration and many more.

How Greater Manchester joined forces at COP21

Greater Manchester Mayor, Tony Lloyd, attended a variety of events over two days of the conference in a bid to raise awareness of GM’s pledge commitments and of the success already achieved by the city. Events included:

  • Press call of Compact of Mayors (Friday) 
  • ‘First Movers’ feedback conference (Saturday)
  • Local Leaders Climate Summit
  • ICLEI AGORA: UCCRN Report Launch
  • Speaking at GM Carbon Literacy event – awarded Transformational Action Programme (TAP) status
  • Catalysing commitments, panellist and speaker
  • Taking the right actions on climate, panellist and speaker

As well as the region’s predefined goal of achieving a 48% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 (taken from a 1990 baseline) Greater Manchester has also committed to the following pledges prior to and as a result of the Paris conference:

Integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

City voices joining together to influence world leaders - this is exactly how Greater Manchester played its part in Paris. 

Prior to COP21, Tony Lloyd and other council leaders signed and committed to the new Integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, Europe’s largest urban climate and energy initiative, a system of multi-level governance to tackle climate change, from the bottom up.

Since 2009, over 6,500 local authorities have already committed to the Covenant of Mayor’s 2020 CO2 reduction objective.  

As part of the Integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, signatory cities pledge action to support the implementation of the new 2030 EU targets, a joint approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change and the extension of the initiative globally.  

The Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt (the Covenant of Mayors’ initiative on climate change adaptation), are now merged into the new and integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

The Under 2 MOU - Memorandum of Understanding

Greater Manchester has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Sub-national Global Climate Leadership.

Cities and regions are coming together in this agreement to further the action being taken by jurisdictions around the world and promote greater levels of ambition on climate change. 

57 jurisdictions from 19 countries and five continents have now signed or endorsed the Under 2 MOU, collectively representing more than $17.5 trillion in GDP and 572 million people.

Each signatory commits to limit emissions to below eighty to ninety-five percent below 1990 levels, or below two metric tons per capita, by 2050 – the level of emission reduction believed necessary to limit global warming to less than 2°C by the end of this century. 

The MOU will not introduce new legal constraints on participating jurisdictions but will demonstrate a clear and lasting commitment to reduce emissions in the decades to come.

"Climate Change has been brought to the world’s stage and this has helped significantly to raise the profile of low carbon work in Greater Manchester"

The Compact of Mayors

GM Mayor Tony Lloyd also spoke about the region’s commitment to the Compact of Mayors at COP21, which contributes to global urban emission reductions by 2030.

The Compact of Mayors is a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress transparently. Greater Manchester has been a fundamental signatory since September 2015.

How will GM achieve its promises and meet its targets?

Climate Change has been brought to the world’s stage and this has helped significantly to raise the profile of low carbon work in Greater Manchester.

There will hopefully continue to be a greater understanding of what individuals, businesses and groups can do to pledge their support and join forces, like taking part in the Green Growth Pledge for businesses and supporting a potential wide-reaching campaign from the Mayor’s Office this year about what individuals can do to play their part in galvanizing action on climate change.  

Existing reporting frameworks are being brought into line with the recently signed Integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

The GM Low Carbon Hub will be integrating all existing GM data into line with the reporting requirements and commitments of the Covenant and for the previously signed Compact of Mayors.  

The revised data collection will be completed in time for the release of the final version of the GM Climate Change and Low Emissions Implementation Plan refresh in Spring 2016.  

This new plan will strengthen action and commitment which aims to achieve a 48% reduction in CO2 by 2020.  It will be brave, ambitious and more specific in partnership delivery. It will also establish new targets for 2020+.

The plan is not just about local government; Greater Manchester’s private sector is also keen that their activity and contributions towards carbon reduction are included.  

The need to integrate low carbon behaviour into our culture is a priority for the present, not the future.

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