The European Commission presented this Thursday an initiative to encourage 100 cities -in which 12% of the EU population lives- to achieve climate neutrality in 2030, a project endowed with 360 million euros in which Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria, Seville and Zaragoza participate.
The cities will receive community funding in 2022 and 2023 to seek innovative paths in areas such as clean mobility, energy efficiency and sustainable urban planningreported the European Commission.
Brussels’ interest in accelerating the ecological transition in cities responds to the fact that they are responsible for 65% of energy consumption, release 70% of carbon dioxide and host 75% of Europeans, a proportion that is estimated to be around 85%. in 2050.
The goal is for these urban agglomerations to reach climate neutrality by the end of the decade, that is, to emit only the CO2 that the territory of the municipality can reabsorbbut prioritizing the reduction of emissions and with a maximum of 20% of gases captured, indicated European sources.
The selection includes almost all the capitals of the EU countries as well as places such as Porto, Antwerp, Cork, The Hague, Malmo, Bordeaux, Munich, Kranj, Pécs, Liberec, Aarhus, Thessaloniki, Florence or Parma, to which 13 municipalities from associated countries such as Albania, Israel, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Norway and Montenegro are added.
“Cities are often at the center of the changes that Europe needs to succeed in our transition to climate neutrality. My congratulations to the cities selected today, I look forward to the solutions they will develop to guide their inhabitants and businesses towards a greener future,” Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the Commission for the Green Deal, said in a statement.
The cities of the so-called “Mission Cities”, chosen by independent experts from 386 candidatesThey will also receive personalized advice and will be able to jointly organize pilot projects, with the aim of achieving “tangible objectives” in 2030.
For it, they will have to present a climate plan with investments that will be considered a “smart contract”which the Commission explains will not be legally binding but will grant those who keep their promises a “certificate” that will serve to unlock future funding.
Community sources indicated that the “best cities or the cities with the most possibilities” of reaching climate neutrality in 2030 have not been chosen, but that avant-garde municipalities have been combined with “less prepared cities”in the same way that large, medium and small municipalities have been included.
«Cities have the tools to make urban and interurban mobility healthy and sustainable, for example doubling high-speed rail traffic and developing additional cycling infrastructure in the next 10 years», pointed out the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vaelan.
Brussels hopes that the solutions generated by the experiment can be exported so that the rest of the EU cities are also climate neutral by mid-century, thus respecting the obligation acquired by the community bloc.
“The green transition is making its way across Europe right now. But there is always a need for pioneers, who set themselves higher goals. These cities are showing us the way to a healthier future,” said European Commission President Urusula von der Leyen.
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