Climate-KIC kicks off innovation initiative for cities

Comprehensive plan launched to support urban agglomerations as test beds of climate innovation

Climate-KIC, Europe‘s largest climate innovation partnership, will kick off a major initiative to support cities in significantly reducing their CO2 emissions and making them healthier, more resilient and resource efficient to better prepare them for the inevitable effects of climate change. The programme will focus on cities as test beds of systemic climate innovation and places where innovation can be scaled up to deliver significant climate benefits.

The initiative will cover all major aspects of climate mitigation and adaptation, from urban energy, buildings and mobility infrastructure, through closed resource loops for a circular economy and urban food and forestry to the provision of data and finance for urban climate action.

Climate-KIC works with citizens, students, start-ups, corporations, city authorities and cities organisations such as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to comprehensively tackle climate urban challenges at all levels. By 2030 the new programme aims at tripling annual building retrofit rates across Europe, achieving three-fold emission reductions through a shift towards clean mobility as a service, establishing closed resource loops in at least five major city districts, and leveraging an additional USD 500 million per year for climate action in cities.

The initiative was launched at the 2017 Climate innovation Summit in Milan, that brought together more than 400 climate action stakeholders and is organized under the patronage of the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, and in collaboration with the City of Milan.

Dr Kirsten Dunlop, CEO Climate-KIC, said at the summit in Milan:

“In order to significantly accelerate climate action, we need to generate different economic models, new ways of doing business, earning money, using materials and resources and living on this planet.”

“Focusing our activities on city ecosystems means that we can use innovation to test drivers of governance, behaviour change, technology and infrastructure, as well as see how they impact each other. By aggregating fragmented efforts, and understanding cities as ecosystems, connected to global value chains, we aim to ensure that climate innovation is joined up, scaled up, able to help us learn and to deliver actions that keep us within the 2˚C global warming threshold.”

Mark Watts, CEO of C40, who joined Climate-KIC for the launch of the initiative, commented:

“This is an incredibly exciting set of announcements from Climate KIC – putting resources exactly where they are needed to catalyse change: cracking the conundrum that great low-carbon projects still struggle to attract investment, and bringing together radical innovators from both public and private sectors to change the pattern of urban development. C40 is delighted to be working with Climate KIC on shaping a clean and prosperous urban future.”

Cities are where more than half of the global population live today, consuming two-thirds of the world’s energy, accounting for over 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions and 50 per cent of global waste. Cities are also highly exposed to climate impacts, with urban heat island effect, increased risk from flooding and sea level rise, unprecedented levels of air pollution and growing social division.

Climate-KIC will realise its three-pronged strategy through a raft of dedicated schemes, spanning amongst others:

Scaling up urban transformation through open innovation

  • In partnership with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, we will present the global Re-inventing Cities programme – soon to be launched in over a dozen major cities worldwide – providing a pioneering framework and tools for cities to transform underutilised sites into beacons of low carbon development and climate resilience.
  • Climate-KIC’s innovation scaling programme, Urban Challenges, will be offered as a service for cities to launch their own challenges – simultaneously stimulating innovators and creating a platform for local start-ups to scale their ideas and secure wider investment. Like the pollution-scrubbing CityTree, now in cities including Oslo, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong; and vertical aquaponic urban farm, GrowUP, which aims to revolutionise the way we feed people in cities.
  • Innovation starts with citizens and communities. Climathon, our global climate action hackathon and the biggest of its kind in the world, has engaged over 100 cities in 44 countries this year. Innovators, entrepreneurs and big thinkers in cities such as London, Tallinn and Melbourne have pulled all-nighters to work on innovative solutions to climate challenges in their cities.

 Linking cities to global value chains and surrounding landscapes

  • Climate-KIC’s new Loop programme will be launched to see a minimum of five city districts adopt closed loop activity for specific material systems, characterised by zero per cent waste-to-landfill, 100 per cent recycling and waste reuse by 2030. To further accelerate the transition to closed-loop societies, the programme will be supported by the launch of a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) to provide professional education and support.
  • Together with the City of Gothenburg, we have launched new business models for the sustainable management and regeneration of peri-urban natural areas. These integrated landscape solutions hold the potential for greatly improved environmental management, while meeting the pluralistic needs of a growing population. Increased property value, improved aesthetics, recreational and educational opportunities as well as job creation, all improve social cohesion and wellbeing. The Gothenburg example will serve as a blue print for broader roll out in other urban agglomerations.

 Finance and capacity building to support innovation

  • Launched today by Climate-KIC and the South Pole Group, the City Finance Lab will be the first dedicated platform in Europe designed to help cities develop novel financial instruments. These are needed to address the estimated 1 trillion USD funding gap required to ensure that the future urban infrastructure essential to meet our growing needs is low-emission and climate resilient. The initiative will engage cities worldwide in training and capacity building activities – including: project preparation to ensure projects meet the standards of the private investors, the creation of pipeline of creditworthy projects, and match making initiatives between project leaders and investors. The City Finance Lab expects to leverage USD 500 million in additional finance for climate action in cities.
  • Climate-KIC’s city ‘Peer to peer’ network through its Smart Sustainable District programme offers collaboration and learning opportunities for cities to work with from urban agglomerations that have already achieved transformational change.

A full overview of the Climate Innovation Summit, which took place in Milan on 30 October 2017, can be seen here.

 
Location
Related Focus Area
Urban Transitions
Articles you may be interested in
In The News
In the face of complex challenges, Europe stronger together, says EU President...

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen outlined her...

In the face of complex challenges, Europe stronger together, says EU President von der Leyen
In The News
New IPCC report reveals urgent need for climate innovation

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report has launched. The report...

New IPCC report reveals urgent need for climate innovation
In The News
Moving beyond ‘brown coal’ in Europe’s rural regions

Together with Partners, EIT Climate-KIC is leading a process...

Moving beyond ‘brown coal’ in Europe’s rural regions
In The News
EU’s “Fit for 55” to spur policy innovation for climate action

The European Commission has released its “Fit for 55”...

EU’s “Fit for 55” to spur policy innovation for climate action
In The News
Munich Re and ERGO invest in EIT Climate-KIC carbon removal programme

Major German corporate group sets the ambition to accelerate...

Munich Re and ERGO invest in EIT Climate-KIC carbon removal programme
In The News
23 pilot projects selected by EIT to unlock higher education’s innovation po...

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has...

23 pilot projects selected by EIT to unlock higher education’s innovation potential in Europe
In The News
Investing in start-ups scales the offering of climate adaptation solutions in ...

A partnership between EIT Climate-KIC and CDC Group, the...

Investing in start-ups scales the offering of climate adaptation solutions in African and South Asian countries
In The News
Irish Aid extends support for innovation and development from the ground up

The Government of Ireland’s development assistance programme, Irish Aid,...

Irish Aid extends support for innovation and development from the ground up
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC showcases climate innovation at R&I Days

EIT Climate-KIC participated in the European Commission’s Research and...

EIT Climate-KIC showcases climate innovation at R&I Days
In The News
Branch Magazine wins Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity

Branch Magazine, a collaboration between EIT Climate-KIC, Mozilla Foundation...

Branch Magazine wins Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity
In The News
Cross-KIC project to boost circular economy in Western Balkans

The circular economy concept is of crucial importance to...

Cross-KIC project to boost circular economy in Western Balkans
In The News
Exploring new horizons with Pioneers into Practice

Enrolment is now open for placement hosts and participants...

Exploring new horizons with Pioneers into Practice
In The News
Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Co...

EIT Climate-KIC supported Lixea (formerly Chrysalix Technologies) has received...

Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Council Fund
In The News
Embracing a new approach to climate change in Moldova

Moldova is one of Europe’s most modest contributors to...

Embracing a new approach to climate change in Moldova
In The News
Krakow: transforming the city towards climate neutrality

Poland’s former capital and one of its oldest cities,...

Krakow: transforming the city towards climate neutrality
In The News
Is Europe doing enough to tackle climate change?

On 23 April, EIT Climate-KIC CEO Kirsten Dunlop spoke...

Is Europe doing enough to tackle climate change?
In The News
EU Commission publishes sustainable finance taxonomy

The European Commission has published its EU-wide classification system for...

EU Commission publishes sustainable finance taxonomy
In The News
New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?

On 22 and 23 April, the first conference dedicated...

New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?
In The News
Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase

EIT Climate-KIC supported Estonian start-up Sympower has raised €5.2...

Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase
In The News
Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list

Twelve entrepreneurs from across the EIT community have been...

Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list
In The News
These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe

Google, in partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, launched the €10...

These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe
In The News
New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups

Found by us, funded by you, a new start-up...

New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups
In The News
From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching ...

It’s a beverage revolution: Healthy hydration while fooling your...

From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching in new markets
In The News
#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enabl...

As part of the fifth SDG Global festival of...

#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enablers
In The News
New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is...

New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education
In The News
Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik

“We are preparing plans for the next decade. Mentality is...

Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik
In The News
Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience

The new Urban Action Kit, launched by the International...

Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience
In The News
Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists

The DigiEduHack, supported by EIT Climate-KIC as well as...

Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists
In The News
GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 

GreeMko (for Green Management Technology), a Spanish start-up that...

GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 
In The News
What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?

EIT Climate-KIC Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Dunlop addressed the...

What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?