Québec Premier Jean Charest took the floor during the Climate Leaders Summit convened by The Climate Group on December 15 in Copenhagen. The Summit was the largest meeting of heads of federated states and regions ever held during a Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP). The participants, who also included industry leaders, all agreed on the need to implement a global agreement on climate change.
“Sub-national governments are already getting on with implementing initiatives to transform their economies and make the real changes required. Today we signed a statement that commits us to leading on policies and programs to expand low carbon technologies and to build further partnerships and networks between developed and developing country regions to tackle climate change together,” said Premier Charest.
Premier Rann of South Australia, who chairs The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance, pointed out that “50 to 80% of emissions cuts agreed under a global deal will be achieved through the actions of sub-national governments according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).”
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond were also invited to speak to the 60-odd leaders and ministers in attendance. The high-profile audience included Saõ Paulo Governor José Serra, President of Catalonia José Montilla, London Mayor Boris Johnson, President of Île-de-France Jean-Paul Huchon, First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.
The participants agreed to apply a range of measures to combat climate change, such as adopting ambitious renewable energy targets, rolling out smart meters, closing coal-fired power stations and investing in solar energy.
The Climate Group took advantage of the Climate Leaders Summit to announce the creation of cross-sector working groups that will promote the adoption of low carbon technologies. An initiative called “EV20,” for example, is aimed at bringing together leaders from 20 cities, states and nations with auto manufacturers, fleet owners and financiers who invest in electric vehicle R&D, in order to speed up the development of this market. Premier Charest confirmed Québec’s participation in EV20.
The Summit also featured the launch of the Planetary Skin Institute (PSI), which will develop a mechanism for almost real-time monitoring of global environmental conditions. The PSI will facilitate decisions about actions required to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Another international program, called LightSavers was formally launched during the Summit. It is aimed at generalizing the use of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and smart controls. LightSavers has deployed a global trial to test outdoor LEDs in close to a dozen cities around the world.
Agreements with developing countries
The Summit was an opportunity to sign cooperation agreements aimed at helping developing countries deploy strategies to combat and adapt to climate change. Certain states have also promised to establish partnerships within the specific framework of the UNDP’s Territorial Approach to Climate Change. A partnership of this type already exists between Québec and Algeria, and it will allow the Algerian province of Tizi Ouzou to tap into Québec expertise and technology in order to prepare a strategy for fighting climate change.
Press release - The Climate Group
Québec at Copenhagen: Moving to a Greener Economy