European leaders call on councils to tackle climate change

The President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Markku Markkula, and the European Commission's Vice-President, Maroš Sefčovič, have called on local authorities to cut carbon emissions.

The two European figures have called on local leaders to sign up to the Covenant of Mayors which commits signatories to cutting at least 40% of 1990 levels of carbon emissions by 2030. 

Launched in 2008, the Covenant commits local and regional governments to meet and exceed the EU's climate and energy targets.

It was recently merged with the Mayors Adapt – which supports cities and regions to integrate mitigation and adaptation measures – and set a new 40% carbon-reduction emission target for 2030.

"The current climate proposals lack teeth and won't be enough. But we all have a collective responsibility to tackle climate change,” said Mr Markkula. 

“The Covenant of Mayors is a perfect example of successful multi-level governance in climate policy: it delivers results and surpasses national ambition. It makes everyone work together and pool resources. The globalisation of the Covenant of Mayors is good news for both climate justice and sustainable development."

The European Commission's Vice-President, Maroš Sefčovič, said: “Based on the many meetings I had with local leaders, I am deeply convinced that cities and regions should be at the forefront of climate action. The Covenant of Mayors has proven to be very successful so far, and we have to build on its success. We are therefore committed to reinforcing this network and turn it into a truly global movement, based on a shared long-term vision. Long live the Global Covenant of Mayors!"

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues