New Climate Alliance members
The Climate Alliance Secretariat would like to extend a warm welcome to its new members: from Austria the municipalities of Moosburg, Piberbach and Walding; from Germany the municipality of Ergolding and the cities of Geldern and Homburg as well as from the Netherlands the association Klimaatverbond. Welcome! As of January 2016, Climate Alliance counted 1645 cities, municipalities and districts as well as 61 provinces, NGOs and other organisations from 26 countries as members.
Climate Alliance Board met in The Hague
The Climate Alliance Executive Board meeting on 17 and 18 March was kindly hosted by Climate Alliance member city The Hague and opened by its Mayor Jozias van Aartsen. The topics of the meeting include, among others, the results of the membership survey from last year (see next report). The meeting also provided the perfect opportunity for a meeting of the Executive Boards of the international Climate Alliance and the Dutch Klimaatverbond. The two organisations agreed to closely cooperate into the future again.
Tailoring our services to better match your needs – your feedback counts!
Last month the Executive Board and the National Coordinators of Climate Alliance gathered in The Hague (NL) to discuss the outcomes of the November-December 2015 member survey. Overall the survey results were very positive, with some 304 member municipalities from 10 countries participating - roughly 18% of the Climate Alliance membership. The survey gave a number of insights, showing, for example, that energy, mobility and buildings are the topics that you believe should receive the most attention and that tools and methods as well as communication present themselves as pressing needs for most participating municipalities. A big thank you to participants of the survey! These results are now being further analysed and will continue to feed discussions, especially with your national coordination offices, on improving the alignment between Climate Alliance services and your needs and expectations. Efforts will include but of course not be limited to scaling up the use of existing offerings such as Climate Alliance tools and campaigns, further ensuring opportunities for exchange between members and reinforcing communication and outreach activities. Stay tuned!
New Director in Austria
In April 2016, Markus Hafner-Auinger was named the new director of Climate Alliance Austria. Climate justice and South America have been the main focuses of his work for many years. He also has vast experience as a manager, having worked as an education officer with cities and towns for local climate action. A warm welcome and here’s to fruitful cooperation!
Recommendations for revised EU Renewable Energy Directive
This year, the European Union is to deliver the policies that will turn the Energy Union “with a forward-looking climate policy” into reality. In response to the European Commission’s consultation on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive for the post 2020 period, Climate Alliance has developed a position paper outlining four suggestions to accelerate the transition to a decentralised energy system based completely on renewable sources. Climate Alliance argues that in order to achieve the promises of the Paris Agreement, the EU needs to work towards an energy system that can to integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy and that, in the long term, is based on close to 100 percent RES.
Call for EU climate leadership
Ahead of the March Council meetings, a coalition of European stakeholders asked the decision-makers to live up to their Paris commitments. Climate Alliance co-signed a statement sent to European Environment Ministers and Heads of State and Government by a large coalition of businesses, cities, regions, investors, trade unions and civil society groups. This “Coalition for Higher Ambition” asks EU leaders to set the course for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement in their upcoming meetings.
Climate Alliance begins work with smart metres and near surface geothermal
The Climate Alliance European Secretariat will begin work in two new fields that could contribute to a more sustainable use of energy: smart energy and water meters and near surface geothermal via two new EU projects, Energy Data Innovation Network (EDI-Net) and GRETA.
Via EDI-Net, the Climate Alliance European Secretariat will explore how the smart metering of public buildings can help public authorities implement sustainable energy policy and respond more effectively to energy energy use. Via GRETA, the European Secretariat will investigate the potential for the sustainable production of renewable geothermal energy in the Alpine region, helping to elaborate guidelines and disseminate geothermal potential maps as decision support tools for the integration of near-surface geothermal energy into policy instruments.
Competition for cities and towns
2016 Climate Star – 9 days left to apply!
The application deadline for the 2016 Climate Star has been extended! Local authorities and municipal networks now have until 13 May to enter to win the European competition for the best municipal projects promoting climate action. Use your project or initiative to show the general public the strength of the local level in the fight against climate change and for an energy transition! Winners will be awarded in four categories according to number of inhabitants. The new closing date for applications is 13 May 2016.
Kids on the move for climate action
The first steps for this year’s European-wide ZOOM campaign have been taken by children from the district Bayreuth, thereby kicking-off the 2016 season. Thus far, children in the eight EU countries Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg and Netherlands will be participating in ZOOM for 2016; more are sure to follow. The campaign engages children in sustainable mobility in a playful way, encouraging them to earn special “Green Footprints” for each climate-friendly trip they make. Thomas Brose, Director of Climate Alliance, explained to the children how he will ensure all the Green Footprints they have collected are brought to the politicians at the UN Climate Summit in Marrakech this November. “This shows international climate politicians how keen you are to help save our climate,” he emphasised.
Ecuador drills for oil on edge of pristine rainforest in Yasuní
Ecuador has started drilling for oil on the edge of pristine rainforest inhabited by two of the last tribes in the world living in voluntary isolation. The well platform known as Tiputini C, which is now operational a few kilometres from the Peruvian border in the Yasuní national park, is expected to be the first of nearly 200 wells needed to extract the crude lying below the Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) block. Indigenous people, rainforest campaigners and many Ecuadoreans said that they expect oil exploitation in Yasuní national park to lead to pollution, forest destruction and the decimation of the nomadic Tagaeri and the Taromenane tribes who have chosen to have no contact with the outside world.
Amazonian Women of Ecuador Defend their Rights
Hundreds of indigenous women, standing as representatives of indigenous peoples from the Amazon, staged a demonstration in defence of their culture and their territories. The Sápara, Waorani, Sarayaku, Pacayaku, Kichwa, Shuar, Achuar, Shiwiar peoples were present in the streets of the city of Puyo, marching to reclaim their right to self-determination and reject oil and mining operations. Most of the women came from faraway places, traveling for days in canoes and in the rain. Their decision to bring the message from their communities to the rest of the world led to the organisation of an event to celebrate women’s participation in the struggle to maintain their culture and territory. Climate Alliance has long supported the the Sápara community.
UN should stop mercury poisoning in South America
The unmonitored use of mercury, such as in illegal alluvial gold mining, often takes place on tribal peoples’ lands. Discriminatory attitudes towards tribal peoples mean that little action is taken to control it. In Peru, 80 percent of a Nahua community have tested positive for high levels of mercury poisoning; 63 percent of those affected are children. Symptoms include anaemia and renal failure. In Brazil, new statistics reveal alarming rates of mercury poisoning amongst the Yanomami and Yekuana. In Venezuela, several tribes including the Yekuana, Yanomami, Piaroa, Hoti and Pemon are also being devastated. Nevertheless, the national governments so far do nothing; now the UN should take over at request of Survival International.
Peru oil spill pollutes Amazon rivers
At least 3,000 barrels of crude oil have been spilled into the Chiriaco and Morona rivers in the north-western Amazonian region after leaks from Peru's main oil pipeline. The oil has polluted the two rivers upon which at least eight indigenous communities rely for water, government and indigenous leaders said. Petroperu has promised a full clean-up and is also providing food and water. The company said the first leak was triggered by a landslide but the cause of the second rupture was unclear.
UN climate chief Figueres resigns
The head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, Christiana Figueres, will resign from office on 6 July. Figueres has been active in climate diplomacy for 20 years, culminating last year in the UN Climate Treaty in December 2015 in Paris. “We now move into a phase of urgent implementation.” Figueres states in her resignation letter. “The journey that lies ahead will require continued determination, ingenuity and, above all, our collective sense of humanity and purpose. I know that together you will again rise to the task.”
Annually since 2010, Figueres has received the results of the climate action of children from across Europe and beyond via their participation in Climate Alliance’s ZOOM campaign. Figueres always made clear how important this work is to her. Climate Alliance thanks her sincerely for her hard work. We are happy to have had the pleasure of working with her and wish her all the best for the future!
Nine EU countries achieved the 2020 renewable energy target
In 2014, the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of the European Union reached 16% according to Eurostat data released in February 2016. With respect to the objectives set by the EU 20-20-20 strategy, nine Member states have already reached the level required to meet their national renewable energy targets for 2020: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Finland and Sweden. Denmark and Austria are less than 1 percentage point from their 2020 targets. France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Ireland are the furthest from their renewable energy goals at 8.7 , 8.5, 8.0 and 7.4 percentage point respectively.
Grants and funding programmes
Quick guide to Financing Opportunities now out
The Covenant of Mayors has just released its “Quick Reference Guide on Financing Opportunities for Local Climate & Energy Actions 2014-2020.” The nine page guide gives local authorities a brief overview of ways in which they can finance their action plans on climate and energy. This quick reference, developed by Climate Alliance as part of the Covenant of Mayors Office, is presented as a series of easy to read tables. The document offers information and detailed examples of available financial instruments and provides information on potential beneficiaries and participating counties as well as focus areas and funding mechanism.
Development Education and Awareness Raising
The new EU call on development education and awareness raising (DEAR) has been released. It is contains three sections for civil society organisations and one for local authorities. All proposals must focus on interdependencies between developing countries and the EU and must seek to build public understanding of global public goods and challenges (such as renewable energies, food security, human development, and sustainable agriculture). A particular emphasis is placed on issues related to migration, climate change, and gender equality. Concept notes must be submitted by 1 June 2016; accepted projects would then start in spring 2017.
Europe for Citizens funding programme
With the Europe for Citizens funding program, the EU wants to foster European citizenship and improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at the EU level, encouraging democratic participation of citizens and supporting concrete participation in the EU policy-making processes. Funding is provided to municipalities and associations working together on a common theme with a long term perspective, and wishing to develop networks of towns to make their cooperation more sustainable. Applications must be submitted by 1 September 2016.
Brochure on REDD+ and indigenous strategies for forest protection
With UNREDDY, a 34 page brochure prepared within the scope of the EU project From Overconsumption to Solidarity, Climate Alliance wants to take a critical look at the development of the REDD+ instrument and to present alternative approaches of indigenous peoples of Amazonia. While these alternatives also require financial support for their implementation, financing via the compensation market is not ruled out. Examples from Colombia and Peru, where Climate Alliance member municipalities have committed to helping protect the rainforest, show that these approaches are not merely theoretical.
New edition of Buying Green! handbook published
The European Commission published a fully revised version of “Buying Green! - A handbook on green public procurement” in April 2016. The handbook is the European Commission's main guidance document to help public authorities buy goods and services with a lower environmental impact. It is also a useful reference for policy makers and companies responding to green tenders.
European Global Learning Database – ENGLOB
The creation of a free quadrilingual (English, German, French and Spanish) online database – a digital network for global learning – is unique in Europe. By registering, you will become part of a European Network on Global Learning. This database makes it possible to share your experiences as well as establish partnerships for learning on a local, regional, national, and especially on a European level. It contains information on more than a thousand private, intermediary, and governmental organisations as well as on EU institutions and EFTA member states.
From pledges to action – Different levels of government working together
19 May 2016 in Bonn, Germany
Following the submission of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) or national climate action plans ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, this event, organised by the Climate Alliance European Secretariat and Climate Alliance Austria in the framework of the UN Climate Change Conference (SB44), explores the interplay between local and national governments in achieving and going beyond INDCs. Speakers will highlight local low carbon policies that go beyond national policies as well as barriers to their deployment.
International Climate Alliance Conference
A culture of local climate action - Mainstreaming good practice
5 - 8 October 2016 in Krems an der Donau, Austria
This year's International Climate Alliance Annual Conference and General Assembly is set to take place from 5 - 8 October in Krems an der Donau. A special highlight will be the 2016 Climate Star award ceremony and gala on the evening of 6 October, held on invitation of the Federal State of Lower Austria in Schloss Grafenegg.
Energy Savings Summit - brighter, better, bolder
25 May 2016 in Brussels
2016 is the year for the implementation of the Energy Union, and the European Commission has promised to deliver high ambition on energy efficiency. How will the EU put energy efficiency first in its climate and energy plans? How will the extension of the energy efficiency framework boost energy efficiency markets and investments? The 2016 Energy Savings Summit is the leading conference dedicated to energy efficiency in Brussels ahead of the adoption of proposals by the European Commission. Organiser of the event is the Coalition for Energy Savings; Climate Alliance will be presented at the event by Simone Rosskop, Climate Alliance Executive Board member and Councillor and Head of the Department for Building and Environment of the City of Essen, Germany. Climate Alliance is a member of the Coalition which represents more than 400 associations and 150 companies.
30 May - 1 June 2016 in Brussels and whole Europe
The 2016 edition of Green Week, the biggest annual occasion to debate and discuss European environment policy, will focus on the theme “Investing for a greener future”. Investing is about more than money. It's about creating jobs and taking people out of unemployment. It's about ensuring our children breathe cleaner air on their way to school, it's about using raw materials and resources more efficiently, it's about preventing waste, and much more besides.