NetZeroCities: the new project leading European cities’ transition to net-zero emissions by 2030

Starting in October 2021, the new project NetZeroCities will kick off its journey towards climate-neutral cities. Coordinated by EIT Climate-KIC, the four-year project will support European cities in drastically cutting down greenhouse gas emissions to achieve climate neutrality, one of the biggest challenges our societies face today. NetZeroCities is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, supporting the European Green Deal in building a low-carbon, climate resilient future through research and innovation.

In response to the current climate emergency and objectives set out by the Paris Agreement, Europe has pledged to lead on climate action and cut its emissions by 55 per cent by 2030, with the objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

As cities keep growing and increasingly represent centres of economic activity, knowledge generation and hubs for innovation and technology, their role in the climate transition is more important than ever. In a context where fast and rapid decarbonisation needs to occur, cities have a leading role to play: not just in meeting the climate goals and targets set out by international policy frameworks, but in ensuring our decarbonisation efforts are equitable and contribute to the wellbeing of European communities.

To achieve this, NetZeroCities is bringing together 33 partners from 13 countries to help cities overcome the current structural, institutional and cultural barriers they face in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. This will be achieved through:

  • Development of a service-oriented platform supported by world-class practitioners
  • Co-creation of solutions needed to achieve net-zero goals in a socially-inclusive way
  • Capacity building on systemic change, citizen engagement and democratic governance, capital and financial structuring, and social innovation
  • Development and promotion of new and existing tools, resources, and expertise into a one-stop shop platform that will be accessible to all cities through an online portal
  • Support of up to 30 pilot cities to help drive rapid learning about how to achieve climate neutrality at the city scale.

This will ultimately enable European cities and citizens to show the way forward towards an inclusive, thriving, climate resilient and sustainable future, and contribute to the European Union’s Mission 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 by seeking to scale the activities of this project across 100 cities, and to tackle the unprecedented capital investments needed to make such a transformation possible.

Achieving this level of impact will be an extraordinary undertaking for each and every city and will require profound and systemic changes. Government leadership will be critical, and actions by industry, civil society, education and research institutions must align in terms of policies, governance and arrangements for needed capital investments.

NetZeroCities is coordinated by EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change, set up by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The project builds upon the expertise of its partners, leveraging a vast array of knowledge and expertise, as well as access to a very large network of cities throughout Europe.

Partners include:

  • Associations & Networks: Climate Alliance, The Democratic Society, EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Urban Mobility, Energy Cities, ERRIN – European Regions Research and Innovation Network, Eurocities, ICLEI, Open & Agile Smart Cities, REGEA, Resilient Cities Network, Union Internationale des Transports Publics, Viable Cities.
  • Research organisations: Cartif, Cerema, Demos Research Institute, Fraunhofer Institute, Tecnalia, TNO, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
  • Universities: Austrian Institute of Technology, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Politecnico di Milano, TalTech – Tallin University of Technology, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
  • Think-tanks: Institute for European Environmental Policy.
  • Companies and consultancies: Bankers Without Boundaries, Dark Matter Labs, LGI, Material Economics,  Metabolic Institute, Rupprecht Consult, South Pole.
 
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