100 European cities have pledged to be climate-neutral by 2030

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At the present time, the importance of green transition for European countries seem to be more important than ever. Working their way towards climate-neutrality has become an absolute priority for European cities. Because the majority of the European population lives in urban areas, cities are naturally determined to lead the journey towards climate-neutrality and towards a more sustainable future.

The European Union provides valuable support to European cities in reaching their climate goals. Thanks to numerous initiatives and projects, significant resources are allocated to cities to step up their climate game and accelerate their transformation into more sustainable and environmentally-friendly societies. One of such initiatives is the so-called Cities Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030.

EU Missions are a new feature of Horizon Europe’s research and innovation program, which runs from 2021 to 2027. They are a novel approach of bringing actual solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Local governments, individuals, businesses, investors, and regional and national governments will all be involved in the Cities Mission, which aims to provide 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. Eventually, the other EU cities are meant to utilize the experience gained by the pioneer cities in this project, and also become climate-neutral by 2050.

The Commission issued a Call for Expressions of Interest to cities, which was open from November 25, 2021 until January 31, 2022. Cities were then able to express their interest in joining the initiative and submit information on their current condition and future intentions regarding climate-neutrality. A total of 377 cities from all around Europe applied to take part. Eventually, 100 cities from the 27 EU member states were selected to participate in the Mission. Furthermore, twelve additional cities from non-EU countries that are associated with the Horizon Europe programme were also chosen.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said in a press release published by the European Commission: “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. These cities are showing us the way to a healthier future. We will support them on this! Let’s begin the work today.”

And that is exactly what each of the 100 cities is determined to achieve. From Portugal to Estonia, from Ireland to Greece, this outstanding list includes some of Europe’s most ambitious cities regarding climate action. These are the cities that have already made significant progress towards becoming climate-neutral and can therefore successfully lead other cities and regions towards becoming more eco-friendly and sustainable. Furthermore, these are the cities which are currently carrying out important climate-related projects and activities. By giving them an extra push, the EU makes sure that the rest of the continent can soon follow the same suite. By promoting teamwork and cooperation, the EU seeks to make the dream of climate-neutral Europe a reality.

Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, for the European Green Deal, said: “Cities are at the forefront of the fight against the climate crisis. 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.’’

‘’My congratulations to the cities selected today, I look forward to the solutions you will develop to guide your inhabitants and businesses towards a greener future,” Timmermans further stated.

In the upcoming period, the European Commission is set to motivate the 100 selected cities to prepare Climate City Contracts, which will include a comprehensive strategy for achieving climate neutrality across all sectors. Citizens, research organizations, and the private sector will all be involved in this process.

The 100 EU cities that were picked to participate together constitute 12% of the EU’s population. When it comes to individual member states, France is most represented, with 10 cities in total taking part in the programme. Italy and Germany, with 9 cities both, are tied in second place. 7 cities from Sweden and Spain respectively have also made it to the list of 100 cities which are meant to be at the forefront of Europe’s transformation in the years to come. (photo credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)