Global climate talks have been stalled for years, but regional efforts are moving forward – often in tandem with each other. Here’s a look at some of the programs that are emerging – and merging – around the world.
7 May 2013 | The hula-hoop first caught on in the US state of California, as did crack cocaine. For better or worse, that’s where trends originate before they sweep the nation and, often, the world. So it’s apropos that California is closely engaging with the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) , which links the state up with 18 other “sub-national” governments, from Illinois in the US to Chiapas in Mexico to Cross River in Nigeria. But the GCF isn’t the only one. California belongs to a whopping six climate associations around the world, including the Climate Group’s States and Regions Program , which promotes low-carbon leadership and shared best practices among sub-national governments and the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP), which provides a forum for public authorities who are actively pursuing carbon markets through cap-and-trade systems.
As with the hula-hoop, other states are following suit – in part because domestic and/or sub-national efforts don’t face the same levels of bureaucracy and resistance as global agreements do, but also because they are typically closer to their constituencies.
While policy focus and membership vary across climate alliances, a common denominator persists – dynamic collaboration among members towards a shared vision of reduced environmental degradation and an aspiration to set climate-related precedents for the future.
What types of partnerships and associations exist?
Here’s the skinny on some of the world’s most active government climate partnerships supporting market-based or quasi-market-based climate solutions:
Headquarters Location and Administrative Body: The main bodies of ICAP are the Plenary and the Steering Committee, supported by the ICAP Secretariat in Berlin, Germany.
Sectoral/Policy focus: Providing a forum to share knowledge and experiences regarding the design and implementation of cap-and-trade-systems. This includes examining design compatibility issues which helps to make possible future linking of trading programs.
Scope: Public authorities and governments that have established or are actively pursuing carbon markets through mandatory cap and trade systems with an absolute cap.
Geography: 29 members hail from the European Union (11), the Western Climate Initiative (9), the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (5), Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and Tokyo Metropolitan Government, in addition to Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, and Ukraine (observer states)
Membership requirements: Open to public authorities and governments that have established or are pursuing mandatory cap-and-trade systems and also as an observer status for governments and authorities interested in carbon markets. Membership is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Developments/features: This year, ICAP launched an interactive ETS map , reflecting developments of cap-and-trade systems and allowing users to visually comprehend the status of global ETS’
Founding: Established by 10 founding Governors following the November 2008 Governors’ Global Climate Summit in California
Headquarters Location and Administrative Body: The GCF Secretariat is based in Boulder, Colorado; governed by elected GCF Chair state/province (rotates on an annual basis); Country Coordinators in Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico
Sectoral/Policy focus: Advancement of jurisdictional programs for reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD+) and land use and their potential linkage with emerging GHG compliance regimes and other market and non-market pay-for performance opportunities
Geographic Scope: States and provinces
Geography: Concentrated in developing countries with the largest number of members in Latin America. Members include: California, Illinois (United States); Campeche, Chiapas (Mexico); Madre de Dios (Peru), Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Tocantins (Brazil); Catalonia (Spain); Cross River State (Nigeria); Aceh, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Papua, West Kalimantan, and West Papua (Indonesia)
Membership requirements: Membership process and criteria, no membership fee required
Developments/features: GCF member states California, Acre, and Chiapas have been working to advance incorporation of REDD into GHG compliance systems through the REDD Offsets Working Group (latest here )
North America 2050 (NA2050)
Headquarters Location and Administrative Body: No headquarters, facilitated by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Georgetown Climate Center, Pace Energy and Climate Center and World Resources Institute
Sectoral/Policy focus: Design and implementation of policies to reduce emissions, benefit regional economies, protect public health and the environment and demonstrate climate leadership
Scope: States and provinces
Geography: US States (16) and Canadian Provinces (4)
Membership requirements: No membership fee required
Developments/features: The Offsets Working Group, one of five NA2050 initiatives, encourages offset projects and strives to promote regulatory and voluntary carbon markets. No recent developments reported, but stay tuned!
Headquarters Location and Administrative Body: London, England; governed by Co-chairs Quebec (Americas), Basque Country (Europe), and South Australia (Australia/Asia) and assisted by a Steering Group
Sectoral/Policy focus: Energy efficiency, transport, and renewable energy
Scope: States and regions
Geography: 23 sub-national members located primarily in developed countries in Europe (13), North America (6), South America (2), Africa (1), and Oceania (1), +30 Affiliates (signed up to the Montreal Declaration)
Membership requirements: Scaled membership fee; funding primarily comes from foundations
Developments/features: Establishment of a “Joint Emissions Reporting Platform,” a system for regional governments to report their emissions and low-carbon policies
Headquarters Location and Administrative Body: Geneva, Switzerland; governed by the R20 Governing Board
Sectoral/Policy focus: Reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions projects developed in collaboration with sub-national technology holders and financiers
Scope: Sub-national governments
Geography: Through its 35 Members – states and provinces from developing and developed nations in Africa (10), North America (9), Europe (7), South America (6), and Asia & Oceania (3), 43 Partners and 2 Observers, the R20’s activities connect more than 560 sub-national and local governments around the world
Membership requirements: Annual membership fee on a sliding scale based on annual GDP per capita Developments/features: R20 signed an MOU with the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to develop clean public lighting mechanisms
Headquarters Location and Administrative Body: London, England; governed by the elected Chair (currently New York’s mayor Michael R. Bloomberg) in collaboration with the board of directors and the Steering Committee
Sectoral/Policy focus: Greenhouse gas emissions and climate risk mitigation initiatives
Geography: 63 municipal members, originating from developed and developing nations in Europe (18), Asia & Oceania (17), North America (14), South America (8), and Africa (4)
Membership requirements: No membership fee required, invitation only (membership guidelines here ) Developments/features: In January of this year, C40 established a partnership with the World Resources Institute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from urban transportation
Headquarters Location and Administrative Body: Brussels, Belgium; governed by a General Assembly
Sectoral/Policy focus: Sustainable development including climate change, biodiversity, water resources and sanitation. On the climate agenda, nrg4SD creates a platform for sharing experiences and establishing joint policy papers to be presented at international events like the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties
Scope: State, provincial and regional governments and associations of governments
Geography: 39 members come from both developed and developing nations in Europe (13), Africa (12), Latin America (9), Asia (4), and North America (1) in addition to 9 associations of sub-national governments
Membership requirements: Annual membership fee determined by regions’ population and GDP
Developments/features: Nrg4SD participated in the UN framework for the post-Rio+20 processes primarily through the Open Work Group (OWG) to define a set of Sustainable Development Goals within the post-2015 Development Agenda
Taylor Clayton is the Carbon Program Research Assistant at Ecosystem Marketplace. She can be reached at email@example.com