Cities take the lead in the fight against climate change

 With all eyes on a global deal to reduce greenhouse gasses at the UN’s COP21 conference in Paris later this year, EU initiative Climate-KIC launched a new programme to help cities around the world unlock their emission reduction potential at a major global event in Seoul on 8 April 2015.

Cities account for 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities. According to the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development, 75 per cent of the world population will be living in urban environments by 2050. The annual increase of the total world population is 1 per cent, while in the urban areas it is 1.8 per cent, almost twice as much. Cities will continue to be the key nexus for climate action for years to come.

Leveraging a diverse grouping of companies, research centers, technology experts, city networks and cities, Climate-KIC’s new Low Carbon City Lab programme will aim to unlock the greenhouse gas emission reduction potential of cities, and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 1 gigatonne per year.

The South Pole Group will contribute to the design of innovative finance frameworks for cities and CDC Climat will host LoCaL’s first training sessions. LSCE and Aria Technologies are designing and implementing a breakthrough urban GHG monitoring service using atmospheric measurements and modelling.

GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and virtualcitySYSTEMS GmbH (VCS) Berlin as Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) members are joining forces with ICLEI to geo-enable the GHG data in 3D, seamlessly integrating GHG data in the existing urban policy and management tools based on OGC CityGML.

NPL is developing a City Greenhouse Gas Inventory Verification Service based around GPC guidelines to analyse GHG inventories and help focus efforts to improve data quality, in addition to organising a start-up competition on city challenges addressed by LoCaL. ICLEI provides its expertise in policy design and capacity building.

Climate-KIC was present at the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) World Congress on 8 April in Seoul, Republic of Korea, to officially launch the Low Carbon City Lab programme and discuss new partnerships with cities and organisations from around the world.

Greenhouse gas emissions in cities originate from a host of different sources, such as electricity production, transportation, commercial and residential buildings, as well as industry and waste. Reducing urban emissions is a shared effort by a large panel of city stakeholders.

The new programme is part of a range of Climate-KIC programmes designed to help cities reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create new jobs for their low carbon economies. Climate-KIC is the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative and supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Strategies to reduce urban greenhouse gas emissions

Thanh-Tam Lê, Director of Climate-KIC’s centre in France, said “Our Low Carbon City Lab is an exciting example of how public-private partnerships can tackle climate change through both a market-led and an impact driven approach.”

The programme provides a series of tools, consulting and services to develop urban climate mitigation strategies:

Programme partners

Low Carbon City Lab puts fighting climate change through green innovation at the heart of the programme’s activities. The partners include South Pole Group, the National Physical Laboratory, the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement.

The programme will allow cities to better understand their emissions as well as to plan, define, implement and fund mitigation strategies to take action. Cities will benefit from increased economic growth, a reduced climate footprint and a range of other social and environmental benefits, such as a better quality of life or business development.

Patrick Bürgi, Director Public Sector at South Pole Group pointed out: “Climate-KIC’s Low Carbon City Lab programme offers cities across the globe the possibility to efficiently understand their climate footprint and to effectively design and implement measures to reduce it. South Pole Group is proud to be part of this innovative programme, contributing with our longstanding expertise in greenhouse gas inventories and public advisory.”

While the level of global finance targeting climate change mitigation is growing fast, only a limited amount of these funds is currently reaching cities. By bringing together change-makers across sectors and from multiple areas of expertise, the programme seeks to contribute to global policy design and to increase the financial flows for climate action in cities.

Maryke van Staden, Low Carbon Cities Program Manager and Director of the carbonn Center (Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting) said: “LoCaL provides innovative services and products for city level sustainable development, an area with huge potential value for local governments.”

Kyra Appleby, Head of Cities at programme partner CDP, said: “CDP is proud to enable cities participating in Climate-KIC’s Low Carbon City Lab programme to disclose and track their progress towards reducing one Gigatonne of emissions. The cities participating in the programme join a community of global cities who are already measuring, reporting and achieving progress towards their climate change goals. High quality data is central to this and key to unlocking financing for low carbon action in cities.”

For further information and contact information:

Climate-KIC has recently released a new study showing how a move from individual projects to challenge-led programmes can maximise Europe’s low carbon activities:

Nadia Kähkönen
Communications Manager

south pole group
Technoparkstrasse 1 · 8005 Zurich· Switzerland

Phone: +41 43 501 35 50
Mobile: +66 96 819 47 25 ·

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