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article imageCities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

By AFP     Jul 2, 2015 in Environment

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

In a declaration at the close of a two-day gathering in the French city of Lyon, they committed to doing their part to halt global warming in support of national and international efforts.

But they also asked for money to do so.

"We call on national governments and financial institutions to upscale financial resources dedicated to the fight against climate change," said the document.

It also called for new mechanisms like guarantee facilities, green bonds, third-party financing, "with a view to increasing the capacity of actions."

"We believe it is crucial that local and subnational governments in developing countries get privileged access to international facilities such as the Green Climate Fund.

"Enhancing their ability to set up financially safe projects should be a priority of the international agenda."

The document also called for a mechanism to be explored by which climate funding can be made available directly to sub-national governments.

The declaration was the product of a two-day conference entitled "Climate and Territories" which gathered representatives of cities and regions, NGOs, scientists and social groupings.

Local and regional governments often bear the biggest burden in preparing for, and dealing with, extreme weather events which scientists predict will become more severe and commonplace as the climate changes.

Driven by necessity, many have started putting in place their own measures to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas output -- setting emissions targets and introducing carbon trading markets.

"You've done miracles in your own jurisdictions and coming together here as a group," UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told delegates.

Christiana Figueres  Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chang...
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, pictured in Bonn, western Germany on June 1, 2015
Patrik Stollarz, AFP/File

"You're doing nothing less than creating a new reality for the world, making possible that we're moving toward a low carbon society."

UN member nations are negotiating a new, global climate rescue pact that must be signed at a year-end conference in Paris in December.

It will seek to limit average global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The pact, due to enter into force form 2020, will be supported by a roster of national carbon-curbing pledges -- which on current trends will not be enough to reach the 2C target, according to scientists.

According to the C40 grouping of several dozen cities, about 80 percent of emissions cuts planned by its members have not been included in national plans.

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