COP25 a "chance to recognise cities' role in tackling climate change"

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) says it is looking forward to the COP25 climate summit in Madrid as an opportunity to formally acknowledge the key role of the EU’s cities and regions in strategic climate governance, and ensure their adequate engagement in reducing greenhouse emissions. 

First Vice-President Markku Markkula will lead the CoR delegation in Madrid along with the ENVE Commission chairs Cor Lamers (EPP/NL) and Jean-Noël Verfaillie (RE/FR). Members of the CoR's Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) also outlined that the local and regional level is key to the success of the European Green Deal.

In a high-level debate with MEP Marie Toussaint (FR, Greens/EFA), Janez Potočnik, co-chair of United Nations' International Resource Panel, and Diederik Samsom, new Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Frans Timmermans, ENVE members exchanged views on how the European Green Deal proposed by the European Commission's president-elect Ursula von der Leyen should be implemented in partnership with local and regional authorities. 

The CoR will adopt a resolution on the European Green Deal in its next plenary session on 4-5 December. It has also invited a delegation of young elected politicians from across EU to Brussels to learn and exchange views on how to accelerate climate action locally.

 "We very much welcome the European Green Deal, which for the first time puts sustainability at the heart of all EU policies. The Deal must follow a place-based approach to ensure that the challenges faced by our cities and regions are addressed with the right tools, resources and funding. Given our competences and our closeness to the citizens, we are committed to shaping the policies under the Green Deal and to delivering these on the ground for the benefit of our planet and our people", ENVE chair Cor Lamers stated.

The COP25 summit, which has been moved from Santiago de Chile to Madrid, will take place between 2 and 13 December 2019. The CoR will be represented in Madrid by First Vice-President Markku Markkula (EPP/FI), ENVE chair Cor Lamers (EPP/NL; Mayor of Schiedam), ENVE vice-chair Jean-Noël Verfaillie (RE/FR; Member of the Nord Departmental Council), Benedetta Brighenti (PES/IT; Member of Castelnuovo Rangone Municipal Council), Andries Gryffroy (EA/BE; Member of the Flemish Parliament) and Tjisse Stelpstra (ECR/NL; Member of the Executive Council of the Province of Drenthe). The delegation was announced at the ENVE Commission meeting on 21 November where Jacob Werksman, the EU Chief negotiator for the UNFCCC COP25 in Madrid, presented the state of the negotiations between the Parties of the Paris Agreement.

ENVE chair Cor Lamers said: "The climate emergency and the need for urgent decarbonisation of the economy have become crucial issues in the political agenda around the world. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires immediate action and a broad transition across sectors to a sustainable, low-emission energy system. This requires a completely new approach. Integrated solutions and close cooperation across all levels of government and civil society are a must in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, the objectives of the Paris Agreement as well as the biodiversity targets. Cities and regions have committed to ambitious climate targets and take responsibility in reducing greenhouse emissions for example via the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy initiative."

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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