Europe’s 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Announced

 Europe’s 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Announced

The Commission today announced the 100 EU cities that will participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, the so-called Cities Mission. The 100 cities come from all 27 Member States, with 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).     

Our urban areas are home to 75% of EU citizens. Globally, urban areas consume over 65% of the world’s energy, accounting for more than 70% of CO2 emissions. It is therefore important that cities act as experimentation and innovation ecosystems to help all others in their transition to become climate-neutral by 2050.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Commission, said: “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.”

EU Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission

360 Million euro for the Cities Mission in 2022-2023

The Cities Mission will receive €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 build joint initiatives and ramp up collaborations in synergies with other EU programmes.

Benefits for cities include tailor-made advice and assistance from a dedicated Mission Platform run by NetZeroCities, additional funding and financing opportunities and the possibility to join large innovation actions and pilot projects. The Mission also provides networking opportunities, exchange of best practices between cities and support to engage citizens in the mission.

EU Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission - Associated Cities

Next Steps

The Commission will invite the 100 selected cities to develop Climate City Contracts, which will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across all 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. The clear and visible commitments made by the cities in the Climate City Contracts will enable them to engage with the EU, national and regional authorities – and most importantly with their own citizens to deliver on this ambitious objective.

Moreover, in light of the overwhelming interest from 377 cities to join the mission, the Commission is also putting in place support for cities that were not selected, including support through the Mission Platform and funding opportunities under the Cities Mission Work Programme of Horizon Europe.

Members of the College said:

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.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “We need to speed up Europe’s transition to climate neutrality, to end our reliance on fossil fuels, and to deliver benefits such as cleaner air and lower energy bills for our citizens. It is great that so many cities will participate. We can support their ambition with our EU research and innovation budget. The Cities Mission has the potential to make a major contribution to our Green Deal and for Europe to become a climate neutral continent by 2050.” 

What are EU Missions?

EU Missions are a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. They have ambitious goals and will deliver tangible results by 2030. They will deliver impact by putting research and innovation into a new role, combined with new forms of governance and collaboration, as well as by engaging citizens. EU Missions are a novelty of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for the years 2021-2027. 

Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities

The importance of climate-neutral and smart cities

Cities play a pivotal role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the goal of the European Green Deal. They take up only 4% of the EU’s land area, but they are home to 75% of EU citizens. Furthermore, cities consume over 65% of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. 

Since climate mitigation is heavily dependent on urban action, we need to support cities in accelerating their green and digital transformation. In particular, European cities can substantially contribute to the Green Deal target of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030 and, in more practical terms, to offer cleaner air, safer transport and less congestion and noise to their citizens. 

Aims of the Cities Mission

The Cities Mission will involve local authorities, citizens, businesses, investors as well as regional and national authorities to

  1. Deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030 
  2. Ensure that these cities act as experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050 

As foreseen in its implementation plan, the Cities Mission takes a cross-sectoral and demand-led approach, creating synergies between existing initiatives and basing its activities on the actual needs of cities. 

Meet the cities

Funding for the Cities Mission

Two new calls will contribute to the implementation of the Climate-neutral and Smart Cities Mission by providing support to cities to achieve climate neutrality.

Actions under these calls will cover a wide range of subjects such as urban planning and design for climate-neutral cities, sustainable urban mobility, positive and clean energy districts.

  • The first call will be open 11 January 2022 – 26 April 2022, with an overall indicative budget of EUR 117 million.
  • The second call will be open 28 April 2022 – 6 September 2022, with an indicative budget of EUR 42 million.

Space for Smart Cities

Groundstation.Space is part of a project clarifying and promoting the role of space data for Smart Cities. You can read more about this here.

Remco Timmermans

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