The European Commission (EC) on Thursday announced the participation of 100 cities in the European Union’s mission to make cities climate-neutral and smart by 2030.
100 cities are located in all 27 member states, and 12 more cities are located in or likely to be associated with Horizon Europe, the European Union’s research and innovation program (2021–2027).
“The ecological transition is currently making its way across Europe, but there is always a need for pioneers who set even higher goals. These cities show us the way to a healthier future,” said Ursula Vaughan, head of European executive Der Leyen said.
According to the Electoral Commission, the urban area is home to 75% of EU citizens. Globally, urban areas consume more than 65% of the energy produced, accounting for more than 70% of CO2 emissions. It is therefore of importance for these cities to “act as an ecosystem of experimentation and innovation to help all others in their transition to climate neutrality by 2050”.
Selected cities will receive €360 million in funding under Horizon Europe for the period 2022-23 to begin the innovation trajectory towards climate neutrality by 2030. Research and innovation will focus on clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and will offer the possibility to establish joint initiatives and strengthen cooperation in synergy with other EU programmes.
Cities will benefit from mentorship and support, additional financing solutions and the ability to partner with major innovation initiatives and pilot projects through a dedicated mission implementation platform managed by NetZeroCities, among other benefits. The mission also provides opportunities for networking, exchange of good practices between cities and support for citizens’ involvement in the mission.
The commission has invited 100 selected cities to prepare a Climate City Agreement, which will include a comprehensive plan for climate neutrality in all sectors such as energy, building, waste management and transportation, as well as investments related to the plans. Citizens, research organizations and the private sector will be involved in this process. Clear and visible commitments made by cities within the framework of Climate City Contracts enable them to communicate with European, national and regional authorities, and above all their own citizens, to achieve this ambitious goal.
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