New report – Multilevel climate action: The path to 1.5 degrees

ICLEI just released Multilevel climate action: The path to 1.5 degreesour 2018 analysis of data from the carbonClimate Registry. This post captures the key findings. For more, read the full report here.

The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, released in October 2018, is unequivocal on a few key fronts: first, human activities have used up nearly all of the global carbon budget, and second, current national climate action plans—known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)—are not nearly ambitious enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The IPCC Special Report also projects substantial climate-related impacts will occur even if we do limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees.

What needs to be done is clear: quickly ratchet up emissions reductions to align with a 1.5-degree warming scenario, while dedicating much needed time and attention to adapt to current, and projected, climate change impacts. How this can be done is also clear. Achieving the 1.5-degree target requires the right combination of capacities, nancial resources and data, supported by a strong enabling environment to boost action.

To create an enabling environment for climate action aligned with 1.5 degrees, multilevel governmental collaboration and data-sharing needs to be a key part of climate planning in every country.

In other words, local, regional and national governments need to be well aligned and coordinated, both vertically and horizontally to connect corresponding levels of government. This includes two-way, free-flow of data, information and knowledge across levels. It also requires co-designed, evidence-based national policies that enable local climate action.

Data from the carbonn Climate Registry (cCR), provided by 1,060 subnational governments in 89 countries, demonstrates the insights that subnational climate data offers. This includes where subnational governments stand on mitigation targets, as well as the specific hazards and risks they face.

Subnational data sheds light on where national governments can scale up and strengthen climate action country-wide and raise the bar on national commitments ahead of 2020.

When drilling down into subnational commitments, it becomes clear that although few subnational governments have as yet set commitments that align with the 1.5-degree target, far more have made commitments more ambitious than their respective NDC. Additionally, a few subnational governments are outperforming expectations and are on track to stay within the per capita emissions allowance of the 1.5-target although this is not necessarily reflected in their local target.

cCR data provides a granular picture of how climate hazards manifest at the subnational level.

Through the cCR, subnational governments can report on the specific climate-related hazards they experience, such as such as drought, heat waves and rain storms, as well as the assets, systems and services most affected by these hazards. This granular picture should inform National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and NDCs.

Subnational reporting shows how climate action supports broader sustainable development objectives.

Local and regional governments have a direct mandate to serve their communities. When they plan climate action, emissions reduction is not the only outcome in mind. They also look at where and how to improve urban infrastructure and services, and achieve broader development objectives.

cCR data from 2018 shows that subnational governments are taking action to provide their communities with access to sustainable energy, mobility and better air quality. Data reported to the cCR help identify these, and other co-benefits, many of which are directly relevant to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To move ahead with multilevel climate action, we need integrated data and coordination systems as well as two-way dialogue.

National governments have an opportunity in front of them: they can review and revise their NDCs to reflect the emissions reductions potential across all levels and sectors, and address real adaptation needs.

With input from subnational governments, along with data-driven insight into the mitigation potential and adaptation needs across the country, national governments will be better positioned to align NDCs with the 1.5-degree target and lay out more targeted adaptation plans.

This requires a multilevel approach to climate action, with political buy-in to set up mechanisms for national-subnational knowledge-sharing, collaboration and policy alignment, as well as reporting mechanisms which create a holistic, granular picture of climate action country-wide.

Multilevel approaches to climate action are taking root worldwide. The Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues, launched in early 2018, have kicked off discussions across all levels of government, and a cross-section of climate stakeholders.

Another critical piece of the multilevel action puzzle is integrated Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), enabled through systems, such as the cCR, which allow data to be connected and compared, forming a robust picture of what is happening across different jurisdictions and levels of government. This holistic knowledge and information is critical to climate planning across levels as nations set their sights on 1.5 degrees.

Read more in Multilevel climate action: The path to 1.5 degrees.