The European Commission has announced that 100 cities will take part in a programme to rapidly cut emissions in urban areas – with the aim of reaching climate neutrality by 2030.
The 100 cities come from all 27 member states, and an additional 12 cities from countries outside the bloc have also been selected to take part.
A total of €360 million (US$378 million) will be allocated to kickstart the project in 2022 and 2023, and it is hoped this will spur further investments from the private sector.
“The green transition is making its way all over Europe right now, but there’s always a need for trailblazers, who set themselves even higher goals,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
“These cities are showing us the way to a healthier future, [and] we will support them on this. Let’s begin the work today.”
The initiative received more than 370 applications, with cities chosen based on the strength of their plans and their enthusiasm to achieve the target.
Actions include a drive towards clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and the possibility to build joint initiatives and ramp up collaborations with other EU programmes.
A wide range of cities were selected for the initiative, from large cities like Paris and Madrid to smaller regional municipalities and non-EU member cities such as Glasgow and Bristol.
The Commission will invite the 100 selected cities to develop ‘Climate City Contracts’, which will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across sectors such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport, together with related investment plans.
This process will involve citizens, research organisations and the private sector. Although they are not legally binding, the contracts are intended to serve as highly visible commitments.
The Commission is also putting support in place for cities that were not selected, including through the Mission Platform website and funding opportunities under the Cities Mission Work Programme of Horizon Europe.
“Cities are at the forefront of the fight against the climate crisis,” said EU Green Deal Chief Frans Timmermans. “Whether it’s greening urban spaces, tackling air pollution, reducing energy consumption in buildings, or advancing clean mobility solutions: cities are often the hub of the changes Europe needs to succeed in our transition to climate neutrality.”
Image: Viv Lynch (Flickr)
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