Friday, 23 November 2018

Hoping for a good COP24

You probably never really know what the most significant events in your life are till they actually happen. I'm hoping the next few weeks are going to be mine. In early December I will be in Katowice, Poland for a week as part of EU Committee of the Regions Delegation to the COP24 United Nations Climate Change talks. To get to this point has been a three year journey.

My first Climate Change Talks experience was COP21. In the delegates area they were negotiating the historic agreement to limit Greenhouse emissions to 2 degrees above global norms and hopefully 1.5 degrees. I was outside the delegate area in Paris speaking in a room somewhere to probably less than a dozen people. As part of my talk to the folks there I reflected on the fact that UK Local Authorities had received no communications from central Government about helping them reduce emissions to achieve the Paris Climate Goals. Sadly 3 years later this is still the case.This got me thinking, especially when it became clear that the carbon savings identified by national Governments, the 'Nationally Determined Contributions' were not going to be enough to limit emissions to the targets agreed at COP21 in Paris. So why not empower Regional and Local Authorities to play their part in achieving the Paris Climate goals? Why not encourage them to produce their own action plans to reduce emissions? So the concept of Locally Determined Contributions was born. This lead to it being referenced in 3 opinions (policy statements) of the EU Committee of the Regions and also 1 in the European Parliament.

Last year at COP23 in Bonn an agreement to develop Locally Determined Contributions was agreed at the Global Local and Regional Leaders summit. This was not the same as the UNFCCC agreeing it but was without doubt a significant moment and gave LDCs a global stage.

At COP24 in Katovice, for me, it is an opportunity to make a real difference. It is the Climate Summit that agrees the Rulebook for achieving the Paris Climate Goals. How we will actually do it. I am part of the EU Delegation and so Brexit means it could be my last chance to influence global climate change agreements. So its a big deal. There are loads of positives. The European Parliament have referenced and backed Locally Determined Contributions in their position statement going into COP24. In addition the statement from  'Non State Actors' the global groups representing Local Government, Trade Unions, Agriculture and other organisations have also backed LDCs. I am receiving great support from talented and committed staff at the EU Committee of the Regions and from global bodies such as Climate Alliance and ICLEI. All things seem possible at the moment. My diary is filling up for the week and I feel hopeful.

The ambition/hope is that Locally Determined Contributions fill the gap in emissions savings that we need to make to prevent runaway climate change. That 'Think Global Act Local' becomes a tangible reality fostering an enthusiastic international movement focused on creating not just a stable environment but a sustainable better world.

So wish me well. I have a sense of mission and an understanding that this could be a key moment. Like the emissions contributions I mean to achieve I remain determined. My clock is ticking and I have to make the most of every moment in the next few weeks. Here we go!

Here is 'Determined' by Andrison

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Subtle rebrand

Councillor Andrew Cooper
So after 9 years and 592 blogposts my blog is no longer  'Greening Kirklees' but now is the imaginatively titled 'Councillor Andrew Cooper'. This reflects the  fact that though there is still a lot of comment I make on local issues and issues pertaining to Kirklees Council I am also writing about national issues such as energy efficiency and renewables in my role as Green Party Energy Spokesperson. With my involvement in COP  talks I'm also blogging a lot about policies to address global climate change.

I also have the 'rider in my Blog description that says " and anything else I fancy talking about". In the past this has included subjects as diverse as wearing braces, the Sex Pistols and Thunderbirds. Subjects which don't even a tenuous or contrived relationship with 'Greening Kirklees' so my Blog is now the title bestowed on me by the electorate of Newsome and my name.

So here I am from near the beginning of my blogging life, 8 years ago, talking about 'Greening Kirklees' and the joys of Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Greens call for action on illegal fireworks and fires at Castle Hill

Sue Lee-Richards & Cllr Andrew Cooper at Castle Hill

Following fires that set alight large sections of gorse at Castle Hill on November 4th Green Campaigners Sue Lee-Richards and Cllr Andrew Cooper called on Kirklees to enforce the Public Space Protection Order at Castle Hill that banned fireworks, fires, barbecues and flying lanterns. A fine of £75 can be issued to anyone breaking the ban.

Sue said, “What is the point of placing a rule forbidding something and then not following through and enforcing it?”

Councillor Andrew Cooper agreed, “It took Labour nearly 2 years following a successful Green Party motion at Kirklees Council to implement the ban. The lack of any enforcement at all at Castle Hill does not give the public confidence. People love Castle Hill but the authorities need to protect it.”

Andrew and Sue helped local volunteers clear up used fireworks from around Castle Hill after Bonfire Night on the 6th of November

Thursday, 1 November 2018

COP24 - Locally Determined Contributions getting closer

Just to update you on my work on  Locally Determined Contributions to address carbon emissions as part of my role at  the EU Committee of the Regions and as part of their Negotiating Team for COP24 in Katovice in December. This could play a vital role in finding some of the additonal emissions reductions we need to make to ensure we keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees C and maintain a reasonably stable climate.

There have been 2 exciting developments.

The first was a meeting last week of the ‘Non Party Stakeholders’ constituency in Krakow in advance of Katovice COP24 Climate Summit in December where they produced a statement about what they want out of the COP talks. Non Party Stakeholders covers global organisations representing farmers, women and gender NGOs, environmental NGOs, cities and regions, workers and their unions, as well as children and youth.  The ‘Parties’  are national Governments. They have produced a joint statement within which it states

The Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) constituency underscores the
need for collaboration among all levels of government and the importance of positioning
integrated, sustainable urban and territorial development as an important tool to accelerate
the implementation of NDCs. We look forward to having our engagement strengthened
through the Paris Agreement Work Programme. In 2018, cities and regions invited national
governments to fix and list NDCs under the Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues Initiative,
also through the formal recognition of the Locally Determined Contribution. 

The LGMA is the global body representing Local Government interests. The concept of Locally Determined Contribution (LDCs)s to address carbon emissions is something I’ve developed at the EU Committee of the Regions where it is now firmly adopted via an opinion on Climate Governance for which I was the Rapporteur.  So I’ll be using this to push for LDCs to be included in the UNFCCC Declaration coming out of COP24 to provide a defined role for Local and Regional Government internationally to address the gap in the carbon savings we need to make to achieve a minimum of 1.5 degrees rise in global temperatures.

The second piece of good news is  from the European Parliament where in their resolution in advance of COP24 they make the following statement last week.

Calls on the Commission to further intensify its relations with local and regional authorities, to enhance thematic and sectoral cooperation between cities and regions both within and outside the EU, to develop adaptation and resilience initiatives, and to strengthen sustainable development models and emission reduction plans in key sectors such as energy, industry, technology, agriculture and transport in both urban and rural areas, e.g. through twinning programmes, through the International Urban Cooperation programme, through support for platforms such as the Covenant of Mayors and by building new fora for exchanging best practice; calls on the EU and the Member States to support efforts by regional and local actors to introduce regionally and locally determined contributions (similar to NDCs) where climate ambition can be increased through this process;

All exciting stuff, there’s clearly a growing momentum for LDCs for COP24

For a primer on what LDCs is all about here is a link to the subject on my blog click here

There’s lots more on my blog on LDCs just click on the tabs section on the right of my page on 'Locally Determined Contributions' of course!

Here's the COP24 Conference site in Katovice where I'll be seeking to get LDCs adopted by the UNFCCC in December.