Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Andrew Learmonth
19 October 2021
Scotland signs up to climate agreement with 260 state, regional and city governments

Scotland signs up to climate agreement with 260 state, regional and city governments

Nicola Sturgeon has urged the world's national governments to go "further and faster" on climate change, after Scotland spearheaded an agreement with more than 260 state, regional and city governments, to become net-zero in less than 30 years. 

The new memorandum of understanding means that any new members to the Under2 Coalition would need to sign up to net-zero emissions targets by 2050 as a baseline.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is the European co-chair of the coalition, said it was about turning promises into action. 

She said: “COP26 in Glasgow is one of the world’s last chances to deliver on the aims of the Paris Agreement. To achieve that it is essential that countries turn promises into action, and it is crucial that states, regions and devolved governments play our full part.

“Collectively, we share the responsibility for delivering the actions required to achieve over half of the emissions cuts needed at a global level.

"As European co-chair of the Under 2 Coalition, which now represents almost 2 billion people around the world, I urge state, regional and devolved governments to up their ambition. By doing so, we can spur national governments to go further and faster, too.”

Members of the coalition represent more than 1.75 billion people and 50 per cent of the global economy.

They say that between 50 and 80 per cent of the adaptations and mitigations necessary to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees celsius, will need to be implemented at the subnational or local levels.

Gavin Newsom, Governor of California said the tough action was necessary to avert the worst possible impacts of climate change. 

He said: “The climate crisis is on our doorstep and responding to it requires all nations and states to be pulling in the same direction. The Under2 Coalition is a powerful forum for making that happen.

"As a founding member and current co-chair of the Coalition, California welcomes this renewed memorandum of understanding's even more ambitious path toward meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. It is only by working together on these bold actions that we can together avert the worst possible impacts of climate change.”

Lang Banks, director at WWF Scotland said: “Much of the focus to date has been on big emitters, such as the UK, China, and other official parties to the UN climate talks. However, put simply, we won’t be able to successfully address the climate emergency without action by devolved nations, like Scotland, acting alongside states and regional governments globally. 

“We therefore welcome the announcement today that 260 regional, devolved and subnational governments, including our own, have now committed as a group to align with science and the Paris Agreement by achieving net-zero emissions. 

“As well as delivering on its own pledge domestically, we hope the Scottish Government will continue to inspire others by demonstrating climate solutions, help ensure states and regions are included in the UN process and do all it can to ensure this group of governments deliver substantial emissions reductions on time.”

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Miners' Pardon: 'I knew I had done nothing wrong'

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine


Popular reads
Back to top