Cities, the transport sector and ocean advocates today announced a number of new initiatives to push for further, faster climate action, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany.

These announcements were made under the auspices of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, created last year to spur action by state and non-state sectors to help implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.

New Transport Decarbonisation Alliance

In a major new partnership, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Costa Rica and the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC) launched the Transport Decarbonisation Allianceto stimulate greater political leadership in the sector.

Transport contributes about one quarter of all energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and about 15-17 per cent of the entire spread of human CO2 emissions.

“More ambitious and coordinated action on transport is required to deliver on the Paris Agreement,” said José Mendes, Deputy Minister for Environment of Portugal.

Six new voluntary sector initiatives were also introduced in Bonn to address specific aspects of transport and climate change. These include: the ‘below50’ (expanding the global market for the world’s most sustainable fuels); the EcoMobility Alliance (cities committed to sustainable transport); EV100 (accelerating the transition to electro-mobility); Walk 21 (valuing and delivering more walkable communities); the Global Strategy for Cleaner Fuels and Vehicles; and the Transforming Urban Mobility Initiative (accelerating implementation of sustainable urban transport development and mitigation of climate change).

Cities and communities speed coordinated climate action

Similarly, global cities and communities also announced new efforts Saturday to coordinate their climate action commitments to deliver bigger and faster results together.

“Local and regional governments are making commitments that will help national Governments close the gap between current national commitments and the emissions reductions needed to achieve the Paris Agreement targets”, said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, a global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions working together for sustainable development.

Urban areas account for around two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global energy use. Their overall contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions is estimated at between 37 and 49 per cent globally, depending on base assumptions of data used.

Also at a press conference at COP 23, the Mayor of city of Pittsburgh (in the United States), William Peduto, announced that 367 American mayors have agreed to be “part of the Paris Agreement no matter what our Federal Government did”.

“It’s going to happen at the local level”, he said.

The new initiatives announced include efforts ICLEI and the global NDC Partnership (a coalition of countries and institutions working to mobilize support for climate goals and enhancing sustainable development) to design, implement and align climate action strategies across all levels of governments.

Similarly, the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (a group of some 40 organizations working to mobilize investment in low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure in cities and urban areas internationally) is mapping available finance to match known infrastructure projects – a critical requirement to help local governments identify funding.

Threat of ocean warming and ocean acidification

Also Saturday at COP 23, a new declaration was signed to strengthen global response to climate change impacts on oceans and coastal zones.

Oceans are the planet’s largest carbon sink, a major regulating force of global climate, and fundamental to the survival and well-being of humanity.

“Oceans have featured little in the UN climate negotiations to date, and yet they are not only important for planetary survival but also offer great opportunities for innovation towards a low-carbon blue economy”, said Biliana Cicin-Sain, President of the Global Ocean Forum.

Isabel Torres de Noronha, Executive Secretary of the Future Ocean Alliance, a non-governmental organization, in an interview with UN News, underscored that ocean acidification “might put at risk not only ecosystems but also many economic activities and food security of coastal populations.”

Among initiatives at national level, she highlighted one from Viet Nam about strengthening the coastline by planting forests of mangroves.

Read more COP23 coverage.