Global climate action from cities, regions and businesses: impact of individual actors and cooperative initiatives on global and national emissions

Kuramochi, Takeshi / Swithin Lui / Niklas Höhne / Sybrig Smit / Maria Jose de Villafranca Casas / Frederic Hans / Leonardo Nascimento / Paola Tanguy / Angel Hsu / Amy Weinfurte / Zhi Yi Yeo / Yunsoo Kim / Mia Raghavan / Claire Inciong Krummenacher / Yihao
Books (2019)

Cologne: New Climate Institute (Edition 2/2019)


Cities, regions, and business are vital for achieving national and global climate change goals. Their climate action helps countries deliver and in some cases over-achieve current national pledges under the Paris Agreement. Globally, existing initiatives by these actors, in partnership with national governments, could put the world on track to limit global warming to 2°C, if they deliver their stated goals. While not yet sufficient to stay below the 1.5°C limit, climate action by cities, regions, and business allows national governments to raise their commitments and helps keep global limits within reach.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 special report on warming of 1.5 °C (SR1.5) emphasised the need for all actors — state, sub-national, and non-state — to strengthen climate action, and highlighted cooperation between actors as a critical mechanism for halving emissions by 2030 in order to meet the 1.5°C goal. In addition to helping achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, climate action by cities, regions and business can support the delivery of other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Given the increasing attention to synergies and potentially negative impacts between climate action and other SDGs, cities, regions and business can help ensure that global climate efforts are implemented in a way that supports, rather than hinders, local sustainable development.
This report is the second global analysis of local and regional government and corporate climate contributions, updating “Global Climate Action from Cities, Regions, and Companies” launched at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit. The 2018 report established the strong potential of subnational and non-state actors to help avoid climate change. This year, we aim to inform the September 2019 UN Climate Action Summit on how mitigation by cities, regions and companies could help national governments boost their ambition beyond their current targets, to come in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals. This report aggregates the climate mitigation commitments reported to some of the world’s largest voluntary pledging and reporting platforms for city, region, and company climate commitments.
The analysis was conducted at a global level as well as for ten major emitting economies: Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union (EU), India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the United States (US). In addition, the report features the following new components: An updated assessment of international cooperative initiatives (ICIs) and whether their outputs are consistent with their main functions; An updated assessment of synergies and trade-offs between non-state international initiatives and SDGs.

About the author

Chan, Sander

Transnational and international environmental politics and governance


Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Breuer, Anita

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Dick, Eva

Sociologist and Spatial Planner 

Dippel, Beatrice


Donnelly, Aiveen

Politcal Science 

Ekoh, Susan S.

Environmental Research 

El-Haddad, Amirah


Fasold, Maximilian

Political Economy 

Goedeking, Nicholas

Comparative Political Economy 

Haldenwang, Christian von

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Houdret, Annabelle

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Lehmann, Ina

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Leininger, Julia

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Malerba, Daniele


Mathis, Okka Lou

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Morare, Ditebogo Modiegi

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Never, Babette

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Nowack, Daniel

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Pegels, Anna


Roll, Michael


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist