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EIT Climate-KIC will help 100 European cities to achieve climate neutrality

The European Commission has selected 100 European cities (plus 12 additional cities coming from associated countries) to join its Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities.

The cities selected for this Mission will receive comprehensive support from the NetZeroCities programme led by EIT Climate-KIC and work on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and achieving climate neutrality.

Home to 75 per cent of Europeans and responsible for more than 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions, cities can lead the European Union’s pathway to a zero-carbon world. The main goal of the NetZeroCities programme is to engage local authorities and other stakeholders to deliver over 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, and to ensure that these cities serve as test-beds for innovation to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050.

“his Mission represents the most aggressive and ambitious effort among cities to lead the way in responding to the global climate emergency. Europe is seeking to do its part and invest in learning how to achieve climate neutrality quickly and to share what we learn across all of Europe and the world. Reaching climate neutrality will be difficult for any municipalities, and our job is to help them on that journey, especially with innovation and learning that touch every aspect of a city,” 

said Thomas Osdoba, Director of NetZeroCities.

A total of 377 cities applied to be part of the Mission and work with NetZeroCities to overcome the current structural, institutional and cultural barriers they face in order to achieve net-zero by 2030. The European Commission selected 100 EU cities coming from all 27 Member States, as well as 12 additional cities coming from countries associated or with the potential of being associated to Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme (2021-2027).

Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Kraków, Leuven, Madrid, Malmö, Milan and Sarajevo, who are already working with EIT Climate-KIC through its Healthy, Clean Cities deep demonstration programme will join the cohort of cities that the EU chose for the Mission.

The Cities Mission will receive EUR 360 million of Horizon Europe funding covering the period 2022-23, to start the innovation paths towards climate neutrality by 2030. The research and innovation actions will address clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and offer the possibility to share best practices to build joint initiatives and extend collaborations with other EU programmes. 

One central element of the programme is the Climate City Contracts, which are developed together with local stakeholders and signed and implemented by each participating city. The Contracts include plans for the city to achieve climate neutrality and an investment plan. They are not only a tool for cities but also a long-term commitment that ensures cooperation between cities and other levels of government.

NetZeroCities consists of 33 partners from 27 European countries and will act as a a platform tailored to cities’ sustainability needs and supported by climate practitioners. It will provide European cities the support and solutions they need to achieve their net-zero goal in a socially inclusive way. NetZeroCities will also support a series of pilot projects to help drive rapid learning on how to achieve climate neutrality at the city level and implement a twinning programme to facilitate peer-learning. The project will provide cities with capacity building on systemic change, citizen engagement and democratic governance, capital and financial structuring, and social innovation.