Cities are leading the way on efficient emissions reduction. At a signing ceremony today in Genoa, 12 big European cities committed to at least 40% carbon emissions reduction by 2030 and adaptation to climate change, in line with the EU climate objectives.
Many EU countries still have to publish their commitments and develop national plans, yet cities are proving to be climate champions.
Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement needs action at the local level – where the vast majority of climate legislation must be implemented. By stepping up to these commitments and developing local climate action plans, many cities are showing a higher level of ambition than their national and EU level counterparts.
The 12 cities pledged to match these commitments by upgrading their commitment under the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which today gathers more than 8,800 local and regional authorities across 57 countries.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned of dire outcomes if the planet does not commit to minimising the temperature rise set out in the Paris Agreement. The difference between a 1.5 and 2.0-degree rise has much worse consequences than previously understood.
The signing ceremony took place at EUROCITIES Environment Forum, which is being hosted by the city of Genoa. The more than 120 city representatives assembled also launched EUROCITIES position paper on climate change ambition, which calls on the European Commission to:
- Urgently revise the EU 2030 GHG reduction target to ensure that it is consistent with the IPCC recommendations
- Give cities a seat at the table negotiating and developing global, EU and national climate mitigation and adaptation policies
- Commit to an ambitious EU long-term strategy that commits Europe to accelerating the energy transition and achieving zero carbon by 2050 at the latest
Anna Lisa Boni, secretary general, EUROCITIES, said:
“By committing to strong actions on climate change, cities are showing that the local level can lead the way. We know the value to our citizens of having cleaner air, less polluting cars in our cities and wasting less. Just look at the fast growing support for the climate marches and people’s desire for cleaner, greener spaces. Now we need national and European leaders to recognise this and step up their long term commitments towards a climate neutral Europe in 2050.”
Filipe Araujo, chair of EUROCITIES Environment Forum and vice president for innovation and environment, city of Porto, said:
“Cities have many tools at their disposal to combat climate change – from making use of our public procurement power, to influencing value chains and supporting local stakeholders. Through EUROCITIES and the Covenant of Mayors cities are able to work together to pick up best practice examples to help make this a reality. We need European leaders to recognise these efforts and give cities a seat at the negotiating table when discussing future climate actions.”
Matteo Campora, deputy mayor for environment, city of Genoa, said:
“I am proud to be able to renew our commitment with respect to the Covenant of Mayors and to add Genoa to this list of signatory cities. The local level is an essential partner for the EU and communication is key to sharing and better understanding each partners’ needs to be able to progress with our shared climate ambitions. Through organisations like EUROCITIES we can show the power of cities and push for a more ambitious EU commitment on the global stage.”
Notes to the editor
1. EUROCITIES is the political platform for major European cities. We network the local governments of over 140 of Europe’s largest cities and more than 40 partner cities that between them govern some 130 million citizens across 39 countries. www.eurocities.eu
2. The following cities and mayors were represented:
Matteo Campora, Deputy Mayor for Environment, City of Genoa; Filipe Araujo, Vice President for Innovation and Environment, City of Porto; Chiara Appendino, Mayor, City of Turin; Erion Veliaj, Mayor, City of Tirana; Valentina Orioli, Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning, Real Estate, Environment, Preservation and Redevelopment of the Historical City, City of Bologna; Christel Kohler, Deputy Mayor for the Environment, City of Strasbourg; Ilaria Segala, Councillor for Urban planning, Economic and popular construction, Environment, City of Verona; Anna-Kaisa Heinämäki, Deputy Mayor of Growth, Innovation and Competitiveness sector, City of Tampere; Daniel Rees, Political Advisor to Vice Mayor for Urban Development, City of Oslo; Agnes Schönfelder, Head of Climate Change Strategy Office, City of Mannheim; Tajana Jukić Neznanović, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, City of Rijeka; Gloria Zavatta, Sole Administrator, City of Milan
3. The Covenant of Mayors was launched in 2008 in Europe with the ambition to gather local governments voluntarily committed to achieving and exceeding the EU climate and energy targets. The initiative now gathers 8,800+ local and regional authorities across 57 countries drawing on the strengths of a worldwide multi-stakeholder movement and the technical and methodological support offered by dedicated offices. https://www.covenantofmayors.eu/en/
Alex Godson: +32 495 298 594 // firstname.lastname@example.org