On May 19, the Catalan Government signed a pioneering Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the fight against climate change with 11 other sub-national governments to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050. With this commitment, the signatory governments aim to limit global temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius and provide the world community with a vigorous template for combating climate change in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris this December.
Catalonia’s Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Santi Vila, signed the “Under 2 MOU” on behalf of President Artur Mas during yesterday’s official ceremony in the California state capital of Sacramento. Minister Vila heralded the agreement as “an example of how pioneering governments in the fight against climate change, who truly believe that global warming must be one of the main concerns of the international community, are able to join efforts, take the lead and foster an ambitious agreement, which we believe may be also extended to other regions and nations”.
The agreement’s signatories, representing state and regional governments from three continents, have committed not only to reducing GHG emissions in their own territories, but also to strengthening cooperation between them in the form of exchanging best practices, working together on sustainable infrastructure, and sharing innovative financing models to support these goals.
Catalonia itself has long been one of the world’s most active regions in the fight against climate change. The Catalan Government currently co-chairs the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD) and is a member of The Climate Group, the first global organization exclusively dedicated to finding solutions to climate change. In December 2014, Catalonia also became a signatory of the Compact of States and Regions, an agreement between sub-national governments to establish GHG emission reduction targets and annually report actual emissions.
With an eye towards the future, Minister Vila yesterday voiced the Catalan Government’s conviction that “what we need is to continue on implementing ambitious environmental policies to protect future generations”.
Aside from Catalonia and California, other signatories of the Under2 MOU agreement include the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington and Vermont; Baden-Württemberg, Germany; British Columbia and Ontario, Canada; Wales, the U.K.; Baja California and Jalisco, Mexico; and Acre, Brazil, which together represent the world’s fourth-largest economy and 100 million people.