Surging momentum, shifting burden and missed opportunities in review of non state climate action

Emission Gap Report chapter on global climate action from non-state actors finds a broad spectrum of commitments with potential to support and ultimately outpace governments in their emissions reductions.

September 10, 2018

Ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit a chapter from the UNEP DTU Partnership and UN Environment Emissions Gap Report on the crucial role of non-state actors in reducing emissions and reaching climate targets is pre-released today.

Ranging from city, state and regional governments to companies, investors, higher education institutions and civil society organizations, non-state actors are increasingly committing to bold climate action.

As most national governments continue to come up short on their promises for better climate policy as pledged in the Paris Agreement, these efforts are increasingly recognized as a key element to achieving global emissions goals.

Download the chapter here.

Historic potential, but governments are needed

The chapter, which will be part of the final Emission Gap Report, published ahead of COP 24 reveals vast potential hindered by limited implementation.

The aggregated review of global commitments shows the scope and pace of climate action from subnational entities has surged to historic proportions in the three years since the Paris agreement. In all, the study examines more than 183 international cooperative initiatives spread across 7,000 cities, 133 countries and carried out by over 6,000 private sector companies.

“Cities, states, civil society and the private sector can be the resource that puts the world over the top in our fight to reduce CO2 emissions,” said head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim.

“For global governments and the policymakers who would support this momentum my message is this: The time for political rhetoric is over. The world urgently needs leaders with the political courage to act. Non-state actors are stepping up, but they need government engagement to bridge the emissions gap. The time is now to put it all together and finally address our new climate reality.”

The chapter discusses the interaction between governments and non-state actors, the importance of government support for non-state action, and the need for non-state actors to follow good practices such as clear target setting and better reporting and monitoring.

Revealing challenges related to monitoring, reporting and coordination, the pre-released chapter calls for governments to play a vital role in supporting non-state actors by providing collaboration platforms, capacity building and technical and financial resources.

Action through networks and coalitions, but transparency is needed

The authors found that where the sector lacks coordinated structure, individual initiatives are increasingly seen as a proving ground for technology development and diffusion.

Non-state actors frequently implement climate action through a range of networks or through broader coalitions at the national or international levels.

The most common sectors addressed by such coalitions of non-state actors correspond with the sectors identified as having high mitigation potential, including the energy, industry, forestry, transport, agriculture and building sectors.

The chapter emphasizes that for non-state actors to succeed and foster credibility, their pledges and the surrounding governance need to follow good practices in climate action: the participants need the capacity to deliver the goals, leadership needs to be effective, the funding sustainable, and the goals well-defined. Finally, transparency is crucial to allow for monitoring effectiveness, efficiency, and credibility.

Part of the Emissions Gap Report

This publication is part of a collaborative series of reports by over 30 organizations released in concert with the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, which showcase the extraordinary action of states, regions, cities, businesses and investors – and assess the opportunity for even greater impact.

The chapter is part of the Emissions Gap Report published by the UN Environment in collaboration with UNEP DTU Partnership in November 2018 leading up to the COP 24 where global leaders and experts will meet in Katowice, Poland.