New global Climate-KIC programme set to help cities unlock their climate change mitigation potential: Low Carbon City Lab

Cities account for 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities

PARIS, FRANCE, 31 March 2015 – 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 will launch 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 Low Carbon City Lab’s first training sessions. LSCE and Aria Technologies are designing and implementing a breakthrough urban greenhouse gas 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 greenhouse gas data in 3D, seamlessly integrating greenhouse gas 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 greenhouse gas inventories and help focus efforts to improve data quality, in addition to organising a start-up competition on city challenges addressed by Low Carbon City Systems. ICLEI provides its expertise in policy design and capacity building.

Climate-KIC will be 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:

  • 3D software to visualise greenhouse gas emissions in cities. We also help cities bring together the data from sources across their urban areas.
  • Experts to verify greenhouse gas inventories according to the recently launched Greenhouse Gas Protocol standard and to prioritise actions.
  • Help to boost cities’ business generation activities including support for start-ups
  • Tools enabling the monitoring of emissions from the transport sector.
  • Services including training and summer schools, with courses focusing on climate finance for cities and the latest developments in greenhouse gas monitoring approaches for cities.
  • Contribution to the definition of climate finance frameworks for cities (NAMAs, V-NAMAs)

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:



About Climate-KIC

Climate-KIC is the EU’s main climate innovation initiative. It is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on mitigating and adapting to climate change. Climate-KIC consists of companies, academic institutions and the public sector.

The organisation has its headquarters in London, UK, and leverages national and regional centres across Europe to educate students and professionals, to support start-up companies and to bring together partners on innovation projects to bring about a connected, creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into products and services that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

About the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

Climate-KIC is one of the partnerships created in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the European Union body that fully integrates the knowledge triangle of business, education and research by forming dynamic cross-competency partnerships – Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). KICs develop innovative products and services, start new companies, and train a new generation of entrepreneurs.

The EIT has a unique role in increasing European sustainable growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of the EU within a dynamic and shifting global context. EIT brings unique Europe-wide and large-scale development of competences and capacities to boost entrepreneurial innovation and accelerate market uptake of innovation outcomes.



Angela Howarth
Head of Communications, Climate-KIC
+44 (0) 20 7492 1972

Low Carbon City Lab

Victor Gancel
LoCaL Program Manager
+33 (0) 6 07 75 35 26 

Catherine Ouvrard
Communications Officer France and Innovation
+33 (0) 6 24 33 73 41

Programme partners

About South Pole Group

South Pole Group is a leading sustainability solution provider. The company headquartered in Zurich operates with 16 offices and spans 6 continents.

Initially focused on the development of premium carbon emission reduction projects, the company now offers a wide spectrum of sustainability services, including climate policy and strategy advisory. Its expertise covers the areas of climate change, forests and land use, water, sustainable cities and buildings, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency. The company is determined to help its clients grow their business with ground breaking solutions which positively impact the environment and the needs of society.

Nadia Kähkönen
Communications Manager
Phone: +41 43 501 35 50
Mobile: +66 96 819 47 25


ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is the world’s leading network of over 1,000 cities, towns and metropolises committed to building a sustainable future. By helping our Members to make their cities sustainable, low-carbon, resilient, biodiverse, resource-efficient, healthy and happy, with a green economy and smart infrastructure, we impact over 20% of the global urban population.

About CDP

CDP is an international, not-for-profit organization providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information.  CDP works with market forces, including 822 institutional investors with assets of US$95 trillion, to motivate companies to disclose their impacts on the environment and natural resources and take action to reduce them.  CDP now holds the largest collection globally of primary climate change, water and forest risk commodities information and puts these insights at the heart of strategic business, investment and policy decisions.  Please visit or follow us @CDP to find out more.

About National Physical Laboratory

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is one of the UK’s leading science facilities and research centres.  It is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate standards, science and technology available.

NPL occupies a unique position as the UK’s National Measurement Institute and sits at the intersection between scientific discovery and real world application.  Its expertise and original research have underpinned quality of life, innovation and competitiveness for UK citizens and business for more than a century:

  • NPL provides companies with access to world leading support and technical expertise, inspiring the absolute confidence required to realise competitive advantage from new materials, techniques and technologies
  • NPL expertise and services are crucial in a wide range of social applications – helping to save lives, protect the environment and enable citizens to feel safe and secure.  Support in areas such as the development of advanced medical treatments and environmental monitoring helps secure a better quality of life for all
  • NPL develops and maintains the nation’s primary measurement standards, supporting an infrastructure of traceable measurement throughout the UK and the world, to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Contact: Sam Gresham,, Tel: +44 20 8943 6055

GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

The German Research Centre for Geosciences, funded in 1992, is the national research centre for Earth sciences in Germany. With currently 1177 employees including 458 scientists and 198 doctoral candidates, GFZ combines all earth science fields. Research at GFZ is accomplished by the use of a broad spectrum of methods and techniques, such as remote sensing, laboratory and field experiments as well as system modelling and geo-informatics. Building on its sound scientific base GFZ has institutionalised technology transfer activities to foster the link to its industry partners.

Contact: Franz Ossing,  Phone: +49 331 288 1040

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE)

LSCE (Laboratory for the Science of Climate and Environment) is a joint research unit by CEA, CNRS and UVSQ.  With about 300 researchers and engineers, it conducts research on

  • Paleoclimate analyses using both modeling and past climate archives and proxies
  • Atmospheric composition and biogeochemical fluxes
  • Climate modeling
  • Impact of anthropogenic activities on the atmospheric, river and soil environment

The researches conducted at LSCE have contributed to the IPCC assessment reports.

Contacts: Alain Mazaud, and Philippe Ciais,

Aria Technologies

ARIA Technologies has completed 25 years of activity focusing on a single concern, the atmospheric environment. The company is the European Leader in the field of modeling and is specialized in numerical simulation of a large range of applications: small scale meteorology, industrial air pollution, urban and regional air quality simulation and forecast systems, risk assessment in the chemical and nuclear industry, emergency response and defense related applications, wind energy engineering and climate change.

Contact: Marc Chiappiero,

CDC Climat Research

CDC Climat Research benefits from the support of the Caisse des Dépôts Group, so that it can provide independent expertise when assessing economic issues relating to climate & energy policies in France and throughout the world.

Its aim is to help public and private decision-makers to improve the way in which they understand, anticipate, and encourage the use of economic and financial resources aimed at promoting the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Contact: Maria Scolan – 01 58 50 32 48

virtualcitySYSTEMS GmbH

virtualcitySYSTEMS has provided GIS services for customers in the private and public sector for over 10 years. CityGML consulting, software development, project implementation and systems integration are our core competencies. The company has distinguished itself by becoming one of the leading experts in 3D city modelling and 3D spatial data infrastructures (SDI) based on the OGC Standard CityGML, with customers and business partners in Europe and all over the world. The SME delivers high quality, end-to-end 2D and 3D GIS solutions based on the OGC Standard CityGML by leveraging our experience, technology, Best Practices and strategic partnerships, offering products and services for the lifecycle management of digital cities and the implementation of Smart City applications globally.


Dr. Lutz Ross                                             
Head of Geospatial Solutions
Phone: +49 30 890 48 71 33

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