A group of more than 30 leaders of state and regional governments from across the world today committed to step up their climate policy action ahead of next year's UN climate change talks in Copenhagen as part of a concerted attempt to pressurise their national counterparts to follow suit.
The group, which was brought together by green NGO The Climate Group and also includes representatives from many multinational firms, presented an "action statement" to the UN's top climate change official Yvo de Boer at the sidelines of the UN's talks in Poznan, Poland.
The action statement offers no cast-iron goals, but commits the signatories, including California, South Australia and the Welsh and Scottish governments, to the setting of undisclosed but "substantial" renewable energy, energy efficiency and emissions targets in advance of next year's Copenhagen talks.
Speaking via video link to the Climate Group's States and Regions Summit in Poland, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he hoped that the examples set by regional and provincial governments would be followed by "our federal counterparts".
De Boer said the efforts of regional governments would be welcomed by national governments as they finalise their negotiating positions for next year. "Any agreement in Copenhagen in a year's time has to have its foundation in reality, credibility and willingness," he explained. "Effective state legislation provides international negotiators with a critical underpinning - a critical reality check - to be able to move forward at the international level. "
Speaking earlier today at a separate event hosted by venture capital firm Intel Capital, Richard Youngman, European managing director of research and advisory firm Cleantech Group, said the climate policies adopted by regional governments such as California was one of the key reasons why the medium to long-term outlook for clean tech firms remained upbeat regardless of whether or not a deal is delivered in Copenhagen.
He argued that the experience in the US over the past five years provided evidence that clean tech firms could still prosper without a clear federal and international climate change policy.
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