Initiative Launched to Help Polluting Regions

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A new global initiative called the Energy Transition Platform has been formally launched. The project has been set up to support governments across the world in developing and implementing pioneering energy policies. The project specifically targets carbon intensive and highly industrialised states and regions to help them become cleaner and more sustainable.

The highly industrialised German region of North Rhine-Westphalia has partnered with The Climate Group and Stiftung Mercator to launch the Energy Transition Platform.

Since it was announced earlier this year, partner regions from across Europe, North America and Australia have joined the initiative, including Alberta, the Basque Country, California, Hauts-de-France, Lombardy, Minnesota, Silesia, South Australia, Upper Austria, and Wales.

Speaking at the international dialogue and public launch event in Düsseldorf, Johannes Remmel, Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection from lead government North Rhine-Westphalia, said: “Even as an industry heavy region, we strongly believe that decarbonising and growing our economy go hand-in-hand. There is a clear competitive advantage to be had in driving low carbon growth, and while there are challenges to overcome along the way, there are also significant opportunities to be seized.

“By supporting state and regional governments in developing and sharing innovative clean energy policies, the Energy Transition Platform is an initiative that allows us to address these challenges collaboratively and build strong international partnerships as we do.”

North Rhine-Westphalia, one of the most economically important states of Europe and largest industrial state in Germany where a third of the country’s electrical power is generated and over a third of national emissions are produced has continued its pathway to integrated climate and energy policies. The government initiated its Climate Protection Plan last year to meet binding climate protection targets of reduced emissions by 25% by 2020 and by at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director at The Climate Group, said: “State and regional governments everywhere have – and continue – to drive clean energy investment and transform the energy mix with affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. They are crucial for delivering the actions needed to fulfil the targets of the Paris Agreement and support pre-2020 climate mitigation efforts.

“The Energy Transition Platform is a way for partner regions to develop and implement the most effective and forward-thinking climate and energy policies. These heavy industry economies with high potential for emissions reduction are pivotal in getting more governments involved in collective low carbon growth, and moving us toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050. If they can do it, so can the rest of the world.”

The Energy Transition Platform will analyse successful models in improving energy systems and will facilitate the adoption of emerging policy models by state and regional governments worldwide. It will also demonstrate the need for scaled-up action at the national and international level. The initiative aims to build international partnerships, enable in-depth global peer learning and analyse experiences to accelerate the transition toward a clean energy landscape.

Dr. Lars Grotewold, Director Centre for Climate Change at Stiftung Mercator, said: “State and regional governments are a decisive governance level for the implementation of national policies and international guidelines, and vice versa they can drive the ambition on overarching governance levels.

“Finding and scaling solutions for low carbon growth for highly industrialised regions is pivotal for delivering the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We believe the Energy Transition Platform will be an effective tool for mutual learning and delivering joint efforts for a climate-compatible future.”

The adoption of the Paris Agreement reached at COP21 in December 2015 was made possible, in part, by the effective mobilisation of non-state actors, including state and regional governments who continue to drive and deliver climate action. Their role in global efforts were formally recognised and the Agreement stipulates a need for greater collaboration across different levels of governance to empower sub-national actors to do more.

The Energy Transition Platform is an initiative of the The Climate Group and part of The Climate Group States & Regions Policy Innovation program that addresses the urgent questions and obstacles governments face in delivering ambitious climate targets. The project is funded by Stiftung Mercator.

To find out more on the Energy Transition Platform, visit the website here.