A European Climate Pact to bring together local and national actors

14 May 2020

The European Climate Pact, part of the European Commission’s flagship Green Deal, should build upon existing EU and local initiatives, contends a new paper by the cities’ network, Eurocities.

When it comes to climate actions cities are already leading, with local strategies aiming to reduce GHG emissions by 2030 and 2050. City actions, whether individual or through initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors or the ‘100 smart and climate neutral cities’, often show a higher level of ambition than other levels of government.

In Nantes, for example, the result of a collective effort that involved 53,000 participants and 80 events as part of the city’s Great Debate on ‘energy transition is up to us’ led to the creation of a citizen-led roadmap towards energy transition for the city. Elaborated through 15 key goals and 33 commitments the bottom-up approach includes unique features designed to benefit residents, such as thinking explicitly in terms of housing and mobility, which are at the centre of most people’s lives.

Actions include doubling the number of renovation projects, raising €100 million funding by 2030 for social and private housing and public buildings, encouraging cycling and reducing motor vehicle speeds.

In Stockholm, which aims to be fossil-fuel free by 2040, a strong focus has been on developing cooperation between the city authorities and local businesses linked to new job opportunities. The Stockholm Climate Pact gathers 300 companies and has been in operation for over 10 years.

By working together, the companies and local government work towards the same goals, such as being fossil-fuel free by 2030, and can share knowledge to e.g. make workable plans to deliver sustainable energy and heating in their workplace or homes.

Amsterdam too, has ambitious climate plans: to cut carbon emissions by 95% by 2050 based on 1990 levels. The city plans to do this across four transition pathways with accompanying measures: the built environment, electricity, mobility, and harbour and industry. The city has launched an online platform to encourage citizens to take action for the climate.

The European Climate Pact should take note of local initiatives like these and build upon them to foster citizen engagement and behavioural change and to ensure a shared ownership of results.

With appropriate funding, the Eurocities network suggests that the most successful of these initiatives could be upscaled and replicated so that they can take root in other parts of the EU and foster the climate transition.

To create added-value, the European Climate Pact should act as an umbrella initiative for these various local climate pacts.

Take a look at further Eurocities proposals here: EUROCITIES_reaction_to_Climate_Pact


Alex Godson Eurocities Writer
Louise Coffineau Policy Advisor (Water, Circular Economy, Climate)