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European and US Local Authorities Agree on Climate Action

5 October 2010: Mercedes Bresso, President of the EU Committee of the Regions, and Elisabeth B. Kautz, President of the US Conference of Mayors, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation on climate action on 5 October 2010.

The MoU strives to accelerate local measures on both sides of the Atlantic to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, promote renewable energy sources and sustainable urban mobility, as well as to influence citizens' behavior. The MoU also aims to mobilize regional and local leaders to voice their demands in the run-up to the Cancun Climate Change Conference.

The EU's Committee of the Regions also adopted a resolution on the Cancun Climate Change Conference, appealing to regions and local authorities to play their role in achieving resource efficiency and a climate-friendly economy on the ground by: raising public awareness; mobilizing public political support, business investment and funding sources; and motivating producers and consumers to change their behavior. In the resolution, the Committee recommends: organizing training for local and regional authorities on how to tackle climate change at the grassroots level, as well as running climate change awareness campaigns for citizens; creating strategic public-private partnerships, such as alliances between small and medium sized enterprises and local and regional authorities, with a view to further developing and applying low-carbon technologies; and concluding local climate action pacts between public and private partners setting out concrete climate action measures.

Finally, the Committee recommended mainstreaming climate change in budgets at all government levels, facilitating access to European Investment Bank (EIB) loans for regions and local authorities, and making available a substantial portion of the revenues from the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS)  to local and regional authorities for putting climate change mitigation and adaptation measures into effect. [EU Press Release on the MoU] [EU-US Mayors MoU] [EU Press Release on the Resolution] [EU Committee of the Region's Resolution]