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NRW-Programme COP23

International Networks

North-Rhine Westphalia´s international commitment for more climate protection

Climate protection is a global topic as CO2-emissions do not stop at national borders. Decisions taken in Bejing or Washington have an influence on our climate in Germany, just like the decisions coming from Berlin or Paris. Every decision has a global dimension. Climate protection is therefore a common task for all levels of government, businesses and industry and civil society.

In 2015, the Paris Agreement was determined; it came into force 4th November 2016. It provides ambitious aims for climate protection – aim is to keep “the increase in the global average temperature well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial level and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees”. This enormous task will take strongest efforts.

Not only the national governments, who are also parties to the Paris Agreement and the ones who negotiate these kinds of international agreements, have to make a significant contribution to reach the 2 degree aim. Also the contribution of North Rhine – Westphalia and other subnational governments around the globe play an important role for reaching this target. Very often, subnational governments are forerunners in climate action and pave the way with new ideas and strategies. North Rhine – Westphalia is happy to pass on climate protection know-how and experience to other governments and at the same time we are interested to learn from other international forerunners!

Active role in the Climate Group

To foster exchange of know-how and peer learning, the Government of North Rhine – Westphalia has joined “The Climate Group”, a leading international network for climate protection on subnational level. This organization brings together subnational governments in the so called “States & Regions Alliance” – a network with 39 regions from Europe, the Americas, South Asia, Australia and Africa. Together these regions represent more than 368 million people and 12 % of the global GDP. Aim of the Alliance is to enable exactly the exchange of experience NRW was looking for and – at least as important as that – make the voice of regions heard in international negotiations and dialogues on climate issues.

Exchange for energy transition: Energy Transition Platform

Central element of the international climate protection activities of the government is the project Energy Transition Platform, which is supported by Stiftung Mercator and implemented by the Climate Group. NRW is lead government, another ten regions of the world are part of the project.

Partner regions of the Energy Transition Platform:

  • Canada: Alberta
  • Spain: Basque Country
  • USA: California and Minnesota
  • France: Hauts-de-France,
  • Italy: Lombardy
  • Germany: North-Rhine Westphalia
  • Austria: Upper Austria
  • Poland: Silesia
  • Australia: South Australia
  • Great Britain: Wales

The Energy Transition Platform is part of The Climate Group's States & Regions Policy Innovation program. It is designed to support state and regional governments in developing and implementing innovative clean energy policies.

Launched in early 2016 the project aims to connect highly industrialized, carbon intensive states and regions to:

  • Analyze energy transition experiences;
  • Enable in-depth global peer learning on energy transition policies and initiatives;
  • Overcome barriers to energy transition challenges and adopt innovative models.

The Energy Transition Platform facilitates the adoption of emerging innovative policy models by states and regions, but also demonstrates the need for scaled-up action at the national and international level. Innovative and successful policy instruments will be published in case studies throughout the project´s duration at the website of the Climate Group.

Under2Coalition: International self-commitment for climate protection

To boost the international negotiations at the world climate conference in Paris in 2015, the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and California have initiated the Under2Coalition in July 2015.  

A total of 187 jurisdictions representing 38 countries and six continents have signed or endorsed the underlying self-committing Memorandum of Understanding, the “Under2MOU”. This agreement identifies action being taken by jurisdictions around the world and promotes ambitious action on climate change.

Together, they form the Under2 Coalition and represent more than 1.2 billion people and $28.8 trillion in GDP, equivalent to 16 percent of the global population and 39 percent of the global economy (last updated August 2017).

Each signatory commits to limit emissions to below 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels, or below two metric tons per capita, by 2050 – the level of emission reduction believed necessary to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.  The Under2 MOU will not introduce new legal constraints on participating jurisdictions, but will demonstrate clear and lasting commitment to reduce emissions in the decades to come. The government of North Rhine – Westphalia signed the Under2MoU in October 2015 and actively contributes to shaping and sharpening the Coalition.

NRW and its networks at COP23

Each year, the UN Climate Conference offers a good platform to bring together the members of our international networks to reflect on work and achievements as well as making decisions on the way forward. These internal meetings will also take place in Bonn this year. Moreover, there is mutual support of members and networks for activities planned at COP23. In the case of North-Rhine Westphalia, the Under2Coalition endorses the NRW Climate Lounge  and the Conference on deep decarbonization taking place on the 10th of November. The Climate Group agreed to moderate the NRW Climate Lounge Event on 13th November “non-Party-action – subnational stakeholders engaging in global climate protection”, at which we will also welcome a speaker from Baden-Wuerttemberg, which again was an initiator of the Under2Coalition.


Herr Rainer van Loon
Beratung nationaler und internationaler Klimaschutz
Phone: 0211 86642287

You can contact the EnergyAgency.NRW additionally on weekdays between 8am and 6pm by calling our hotline on: +49 211 - 8371930