For the first time, cities and local governments have been recognised as key players in the task of meeting greenhouse gas emission-reduction targets.
Barcelona City Council believes that the Paris Agreement is insufficient, although this is the first time that the United Nations has explicitly recognised the need for an energy transition that leaves behind a system and economy based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, opting instead for clean, renewable energy sources.
In the municipal government’s view, the Paris Agreement marks the beginning of a necessary change of direction, but it does not go far enough to stop climate change. The result shows that it is essential to ensure compliance with the Agreement, but also the need to raise the emission-reduction targets in the next few years in order to prevent the Earth’s temperature from increasing by more than 1.5 – 2 degrees centigrade.
There is concern about the non-binding nature of state commitments and financing. Although the agreement is legally binding (all international treaties are), state objectives are not legally binding, and neither are their financial commitments.
In order to tackle the problem of climate change, the municipal government believes that it is essential for states to foster promotional and collaborative programmes with cities, so as to ensure compliance with the agreements.
Spain, which has also lent its support to the Paris Agreement, must initiate regulatory changes in order to comply with its acquired commitments, and reconsider the abolition of renewable-energy incentives, as well as recently-approved measures such as the land tax..
At COP21, MayorAda Colau presented “Barcelona Commitment to Climate” at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders in Paris on 4 December.
Compliance with “Commitment to Climate” features the general public’s involvement, given that it was produced in collaboration with over 800 associations linked to the Barcelona + Sostenible [More Sustainable Barcelona] network.
This framework reflects Barcelona’s ambitious proposed objectives for 2030, including a 40% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions, compared to the figures for 2005, and it also proposes an increase of 1m2 of urban green area for each city resident, based on current population figures.