The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that drastic change in response to a crisis is possible. In a matter of weeks both response and recovery plans have been put in place by different levels of government across Europe that have major impacts on the way we live our lives, on the economy, society and the environment more generally.
These actions must now be assessed on their long-term merits – by ensuring that recovery plans help to build resilience and keep Europe’s green ambitions on track.
In a new position paper on the ‘EU 2030 target plans’ Eurocities sets out that the European Green Deal should remain at the core of the EU’s political ambition and at the heart of the continent’s COVID-19 response.
The EU 2030 objective must be revised to reach at least a 55% emissions reduction by 2030, binding at member state level to achieve the Paris agreement objective of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C.
And, given that many cities are already outstripping these targets, we propose that ‘the Commission should intensify collaboration with and support for those cities that are leading the way by aiming for an even higher reduction target for 2030.’
Cities have a strong role to play in this transition, especially in key areas like transport, renewable energy and in carrying out a necessary building renovation wave.
This will entail a coherent revision of the 2030 climate, energy and transport frameworks and offering reinforced financial support in the next 7-year EU budget to the local level in order to ‘sustain the transformation process in cities and meet more ambitious EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets by 2030’.
Cities are an integral part of the solution and are committed to working with the EU institutions and all levels of government, to tackle the challenge of climate change, to drastically reduce GHG emissions by 2030, to reach climate neutrality by mid-century and to work towards a future where all people benefit from a healthy, resilient and safe environment.