Zero Emissions Byron Mayor among Mayors, Ministers and Chief Ministers signing on to 80% by 2050 at Paris Local Leaders Climate Summit

DECEMBER 5 , 2015,  Beyond Zero Emissions

(PARIS) Yesterday Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson was one of several Australian leaders and one of hundreds present at the Paris City Hall at the historic "Climate Summit for Local Leaders".

Blogging after the event Mr. Richardson said "I'm very privileged to be invited to attend this international event showcasing councils from around the world taking action to transition to zero emissions.

"Communities from around the world are already making the transition to zero emissions. The Zero Emissions Byron project is just one implementing zero emissions solutions on the ground.  As part of this network of climate leaders we can learn from what others are doing, as well as share our experience.

The event was also a launch of a committment or 'declaration' by 57 leaders present to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emisisons by or before 2050, a committment looking unlikely to be reflected in the COP21 deal.

Zero Emissions Byron Program Manager Tiffany Harrison says the Byron project is unique in its level of ambition covering all sectors in a 10 year timeframe.

"Zero Emissions Byron is merging the scientific and technical underpinning of the Zero Carbon Australia research with local experts hand in hand with the community and getting it done regardless of the lack of a matching global or national agreement."


Links and statements from the Climate Summit for Local Leaders event:

4 December 2015 – Proven innovative policies and mechanisms are unlocking investment for much-needed climate-smart infrastructure in cities, according to a new report launched today at Paris City Hall by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and international partners.


“Your efforts enable your citizens to reduce their carbon footprint, breathe cleaner air and live more healthy lives,” Mr. Ban told mayors and local leaders from all regions of the world during an event of the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, taking place on the margins of the UN climate change conference (COP21).

Celebrities attending the event included Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Redford and Sean Penn, advocates for climate action who support UN efforts towards building a sustainable future.

Since the beginning of the week, governments have been meeting to adopt what is hoped will be an ambitious global climate change agreement to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius. The UN chief said mayors and local leaders “are essential to this effort.”

“You know, from the ground up, how important it is to translate words into action,” he told them. “Your example can inspire national governments to act more boldly.”

The UN chief is also underlining that the recommendations of The State of City Climate Finance can help unlock the capital needed to make major investments for climate action in cities: “We know these solutions can work – they just need to be scaled up. I urge governments, banks and the international community to act on these practical recommendations.”

The report makes five recommendations for mobilizing investment in low-emission, climate-resilient urban infrastructure. It analyzes the obstacles that many cities face in obtaining the financing they need, including uncertainty over regulatory and tax policies, lack of expertise in project development, lack of control over infrastructure planning, high transaction costs and lack of proven funding models at the city and regional level.

According to the UN, urban areas account for over 70 per cent of energy-related CO2 emissions, and the world’s cities produce almost half of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Cities are also on the front lines of climate impacts and urgently need to build resilience, with more than 80 per cent of the overall annual global costs of adaption to climate change estimated to be borne by urban areas, according to the World Bank.

“There is no way that we get to two degrees or to 1.5 degrees without building and living in, and transporting ourselves around cities in a very different way than we do today,” Rachel Kyte, the World Bank Group’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, told the UN News Centre in an interview.

“At the same time cities are growing. In the next 30 years another two billion people will move into cities, and so we have to find a way to help cities get the financing necessary to become livable, green, clean, competitive, job-rich cities,” she added.

The study, which led to the report, was issued by the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, a coalition of over 40 banks, governments and civil society organizations launched by Mr. Ban at the Climate Summit he convened in September 2014 in New York.

The aim of the Alliance is to accelerate investment in low-emission, climate resilient infrastructure in cities, and to close the investment gap in urban areas over the next fifteen years. Alliance members are now reportedly working on a plan to help translate the report recommendations into action.

Earlier today, the Secretary-General gave opening remarks at a “Compact of States and Regions” event, a group which was also launched just over a year ago. Mr. Ban said the world needs “more Governors, Premiers and Chief Ministers to invest in low-emission and climate-resilient development.”

“Today, the Compact is launching a new global initiative called Regions Adapt in which its members commit to develop climate adaptation plans and report on their progress,” he explained. “Then there is the Under2MOU. In this, 57 state and regional leaders have raised the bar still further. They are committing to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.”

Mr. Ban noted that “it could be a game changer” and described this commitment as one of the most ambitious ones made to date from states and provinces worldwide.


We, cities and regions’ leaders from the five continents, gathered at the City Hall of Paris on Friday, December the 4th, reaffirm our commitment to tackle climate disruption.

We declare solemnly that climate change is our common challenge and that advancing climate solutions is a shared responsibility, and a matter of rights, equality and social justice. An effective, global response to climate change presents one of the greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century, will protect public health, and strengthen sustainable development mindful of human rights and women’s empowerment.

We recognize that human-caused climate change already harms millions of citizens and its impact will last for decades.

Continuing on the same high greenhouse gas emissions trajectory will result in disaster for our children, the environment and global biodiversity. Climate change action is the only path forward. Given that cities around the world are home to half the global population and their activities generate 2/3 of global greenhouse gas emissions, local and regional leaders have an increasingly important role to play in charting the course to a low carbon future.

We — the undersigned mayors, governors, premiers, and other local government leaders — commit collectively to:

• Advance and exceed the expected goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement to be reached at COP 21 to the full extent of our authorities;

• Produce and implement participatory resilience strategies and action plans to adapt to the rising incidence of climaterelated hazards by 2020;

• Deliver up to 3.7 gigatons of urban greenhouse gas emissions reductions annually by 2030 — the equivalent of up to 30 % of the difference between current national commitments and the 2 degree emissions reduction pathway identified by the scientific community;

• Support ambitious long-term climate goals such as a transition to 100 % renewable energy in our communities, or a 80 % greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050;

• Engage in partnerships among ourselves and with global organizations, national governments, the private sector, and civil society to enhance cooperation and capacity-building programs, scale-up climate change solutions, develop metrics and promote innovative finance mechanisms and investments in low-emission projects across the world.

To reach these ambitious goals, we look forward to supporting a COP21 Paris Pledge for Action and will strengthen the ongoing initiatives of cities and regions’ networks, in particular the Compact of Mayors, the Covenant of Mayors, and the Compact of States and Regions.

We will support the UN NAZCA platform and the Local Government Climate Roadmap to ensure the visibility of these initiatives. Additionally, we recognize that our jurisdictions require increased access to climate finance, budget authority, and stronger legislative capacity to maximize climate change action, and we call for the empowerment of each level of government to make its maximum potential contribution toward climate change progress.

Under the Lima Paris Action Agenda and in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we will coordinate our climate action over the coming year to prepare the HABITAT III Conference. Together, we join with global organizations,national governments, the private sector, and civil society to deliver a common response to climate change that will protect our planet.