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23 May 2008 / EN

Change Climate Change!

Valencia Declaration

The EPP Group in the CoR:

  1. stresses that climate change is both a global and a local problem requiring action at the local, regional, national, European and worldwide levels;
  2. recalls that it is a common and shared responsibility to reduce the negative impact of and thereby change climate change;
  3. reminds that local and regional authorities contribute valuable work to finding solutions for better air quality, renewable energy and sustainable transport;
  4. acknowledges the need to undertake both mitigation as well as adaptation measures to protect public health, strengthen infrastructure, implement appropriate urban and regional development plans and also to advance economic development;
  5. underlines that adaptation to climate change goes hand in hand with a more efficient and intelligent use of our limited resources by ensuring their sustainable use;
  6. agrees with the results of the Stern Review, which stresses that adaptation to climate change will be costly but manageable, whereas delay would be dangerous and generate even higher expenses. Local and regional politicians are willing to accept their responsibility by taking the lead in making climate change adaptation a priority in the cities and regions of the European Union;
  7. believes that early adaptation presents an opportunity to create sustainable communities for more prosperity and better health for citizens. At the same time it enhances new areas of expertise and employment opportunities;
  8. urges that our local and regional authorities integrate measures to combat climate change in their official policies, work programmes, action plans, and strategies;
  9. calls on national governments and the EU to use their cities’ and regions’ experiences to improve global policies for climate change, and to fully involve them when making any long-term and strategic decisions on climate change policies;
  10. furthermore calls on national governments to ensure that local and regional authorities can participate in emissions trading in accordance with evolving domestic and international trading schemes;
  11. encourages local and regional authorities to improve and advance the exchange of data, monitoring, skills, technologies, methods, tools, public education and experiences to achieve emissions reductions, and encourages them to achieve or even exceed targets for reducing CO2 emissions in line with the Covenant of Mayors;
  12. encourages any exchange of information about the impacts and repercussions of measures taken by a region on other regions, within or outside of the specific Member State. Decisions by one local authority should not impact negatively on neighbouring or cross border authorities. This particularly applies to issues including the efficient use of
    water, renewable energy and other natural resources;
  13. stresses the importance of networking and the exchange of experiences between local and regional authorities at global level through the competent agencies and organisations, in order to ensure that global agendas are better prepared to respond to their needs and to take advantage of urban and regional strengths;
  14. calls for support and cooperation from partners at all levels so that the future actions in cities and regions, which are envisaged to reduce emissions, are an integral part of the global efforts to reduce climate change;
  15. commends the attempts to reduce the demand for energy and an increased generation of renewable energy, coupled with a cut in the dependence on fossil fuel energy notably through improved public transport and energy efficiency policies;
  16. is aware that the supply of oil and gas is decreasing and that, in view of the negative environmental impacts from its use, Member States have to invest in renewable resources with – if possible and economically reasonable – the lowest impact on the environment. Therefore encourages international efforts to reduce the overall costs of
    meeting the targets on renewable energy;
  17. stresses the importance of regional flexibility in achieving the efficiency and renewable energy targets, given that regional flexibility reduces the overall cost of climate policy;
  18. believes it is essential to strengthen cooperation in management capacity and measures for natural disaster risks, which have increased due to climate variability and change, in conjunction with the development of adaptation strategies;
  19. echoes the regions’ and local authorities’ concern about the problems observed around the Mediterranean and in central and western Europe caused by droughts and phenomena including unusually dry years, empty reservoirs, difficulties with groundwater tables, problems with brackish water in coastal water tables, reductions in groundwater levels, changes in the hydrological regime owing to inadequate planning, changes in the normal rainfall patterns and water pressures resulting from natural causes or human action;
  20. Supports the guidelines of the opinion on “addressing the challenge of drought and water scarcity in the European union” adopted by the Committee of the Regions in its plenary session of 10 April 2008 on the Communication of the European Commission of 18 July 2007 on this matter; therefore pleads for a coherent water planning policy in Member States and the regions, for more regional, national and EU investments in infrastructure with the aim of conserving water, preserving uplands and wetlands, regenerating forested areas, water-saving and efficiency and reallocating water between uses, transferring water between systems and alleviating situations caused by severe drought or water scarcity, by providing water transfers and other additional means of water supply;
  21. calls for EU policy programmes and key legislation to be revised in the light of the changing parameters, which are brought about by climate change and calls for mitigation and adaptation to climate change to be treated as priorities in the debate of the EU Budget Review; Furthermore, complementarity between territorial cohesion and climate change should be sought, notably through the use of existing financial instruments;
  22. encourages, where appropriate and possible, the use of local financing powers to support sustainable business growth, and to the same extent, calls for publicly funded projects to conform with climate change goals;
  23. supports the deployment of clean technology and recalls that local and regional government can accelerate the application and accessibility of climate-conscious products and services in the marketplace through their buying power;
  24. supports the development of new technologies for storing and transporting renewable
    energy;
  25. is convinced that the basic political principles of the European People’s Party – responsibility, subsidiarity, and solidarity – are the basic pillars for political action and would lead to joint efforts by citizens and politicians at all levels, whilst going hand in hand with actions emphasising respect for the next generations and for the earth;
  26. Pleads for Europe’s local and regional authorities to promote public awareness of the impacts of climate change and to enhance the participation of citizens in efforts to mitigate and to adapt to the effects of climate change.