Workshop: “Priority actions to achieve zero-carbon cities” (8 October 2019)

The transition towards a carbon neutral Europe will require deep changes in its economy, institutions, politics, social networks and people’s behaviour. The DEEDS workshop on “Priority actions to achieve zero-carbon cities” discussed the recommendations of the High-Level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative.

The fifth workshop of the DEEDS stakeholder engagement series on “Priority actions to achieve zero-carbon cities” took place on 8 October 2019 in Brussels, during the European Week of Regions and Cities.

Cities are both responsible and affected by climate change: they consume 70 percent of the world’s energy and contribute to heating the Earth’s atmosphere with around 70 percent of all C02 emissions. In the same time, they are also affected by the adverse effects of climate change, such as extreme weather events. Given that around three quarters of the EU population lives in cities and more people are moving to cities every year the situation will become increasingly straining.

Panel on "Local examples towards a zero-carbon city"
Frédéric Boyer, Grainia Long, Carina Aschan, Dariusz Szwed, Sauro Saraceni (from left to right)

The EU has a clear target of reducing GHG emissions almost completely until mid-century, with a potential tightening to net zero emissions under discussion. This transition will require deep changes in European economy, institutions, politics and society and cities are central places for this to happen. Many cities across Europe are already taking action by increasing green surfaces, enhancing public transport, shifting their energy mix towards renewable sources, integrating smart solutions and strengthening engagement of their citizens in the decision making process. Many call for a transition to zero-carbon cities, but actions need to step up if we want make this a near-term reality.

Rebecka Engström, KTH, presenting the outcome of working session on “Smart and integrated technologies”

The DEEDS workshop on cities has provided insights into the fundamental transformations required for cities to become zero-carbon, and has looked into the recommendations of the High-Level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative. Participants  had the chance to discuss the needed capacities, knowledge and financial investments to make this tranformation of cities happen. This has been done in collaboration with stakeholders from local and European policy makers, academia, businesses and civil society.

For more information about the workshop write to Naemie Dubbels.