EIT Climate-KIC and Silesian Metropolis join forces to transform Europe’s largest coal region in the face of the climate crisis

Warsaw, 15 July 2020. EIT Climate-KIC and the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin (Silesian Metropolis) have signed a letter of intent to jointly expand the member municipalities’ activities in the Polish coal region. The cooperation will support the region’s efforts in achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Poland, as the main coal producer in the European Union, faces a huge challenge in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, 95 per cent (61,6 million tonnes) of coal production in Europe came from the country. EIT Climate-KIC and the Silesian Metropolis believe that for coal regions like Silesia, the challenge of the transition could be turned into an opportunity.

EIT Climate-KIC laid the groundwork for regional transformation in 2019 through Rybnik360, a project that aims to change the industrial ecosystem of the city of Rybnik to meet the climate change challenge by jointly designing (together with the inhabitants and other actors operating in and around the city space) a vision of the city’s future. Situated in the Silesian province, Rybnik, which is infamous for its high air pollution levels, is surrounded by more than ten active coal mines. The cooperation with the Silesian Metropolis is the next major step to accelerate the transition and support the entire region in achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The Silesian Metropolis brings together 41 municipalities and is home to 2.3 million residents and 240,000 businesses generating approximately eight per cent of Poland’s GDP. The cooperation will support the member municipalities’ initiatives to limit the impact of climate change. It will also support the creation of new jobs, the development of the regional infrastructure, the effectiveness of local administration, as well as the dialogue and cooperation with residents, local businesses and civil society.

The cooperation aims to strengthen the position of the Metropolis as a leader of change in the field of environmental protection, for instance by working together on transportation, policy innovation, governance in public administration, and building alliances with a diversity of partners.

Magdalena Dul-Komosińska, EIT Climate-KIC’s CEE Region Director: “Our mission is to bring together the most ambitious climate stakeholders in Europe across countries, cities, and regions. The Silesian Metropolis takes an open and innovative approach to combating climate change. We strongly believe the cooperation is a milestone on to the way towards climate neutrality of the region.”.

The cooperation will encompass a broad array of services, such as the implementation of deep changes in the labour market, more effective work of public offices, cooperation with residents, entrepreneurs, and other groups, as well as social relations, city facilities, transport and the overall planning of the regions’ future.

Grzegorz Podlewski, Vice-President of the Management Board of the Silesian Metropolis: “Leveraging on the knowledge and experience of EIT Climate-KIC experts, we are well positioned to work towards energy transition and our end-goal of climate neutrality by 2050. It is the right thing to do from an economic standpoint, as the natural resources of fossil fuels are limited. Therefore, we must think about the future in which the next generations will live. We strive to shape the inevitable change wisely and carefully to build a safe, modern, well-organised, and liveable region.”

Background information

About the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin
The Silesian Metropolis focuses on social, economic, and spatial cohesion, ensuring high quality of life for its residents. Its main goal is to improve the quality and living conditions of citizens by introducing joint solutions. It aims to harness the potential of its member municipalities, stimulate the creativity of residents, and inspire change, enabling the acceleration of economic and social processes.

About EIT Climate-KIC
EIT Climate-KIC addresses climate change through a combination of technological innovation, policy reform and behavioural change. Referred as a delivery vehicle for systems innovation, this mission-led organization brings together challenge owners (e.g. city mayors, government ministry, industry or community leaders or funders) and partners to provide solutions to change whole systems. Systems innovation is not limited to technological improvements, it acts on a wide array of change levers all at once (education, innovation, finance, community and policy), testing for possibility, connecting different approaches, looking for integrations, mashups, and exponential effects.

Press contact:
Barbara Jarkiewicz, CEE Communication Design Lead,
barbara.jarkiewicz@climate-kic.org

 
Location
Poland