Low Carbon City Lab is a global innovation hub that helps cities overcome the barriers blocking the path to a sustainable, climate-friendly and climate-resilient future.

The problem

The world’s booming urban population poses challenges for infrastructure, energy, sanitation, waste, housing and transport. An estimated €0.36 to €1 trillion of annual investment is needed over the next 15 years to set our cities on a sustainable, low-carbon, climate-resilient path – but cities face a series of obstacles on that journey that include high transaction costs, a lack of resources directed towards making green projects attractive to investors, and gaps in knowledge about available finance options and mechanisms.

The solution

EIT Climate-KIC’s Low Carbon City Lab (LoCal) is a global innovation hub and flagship programme that aims to help cities overcome these barriers and unlock climate finance.

It has four main components:

  • Training and capacity building, which delivers modular training to help build cities’ capabilities in accessing finance and developing bankable projects
  • Project preparation, which evaluates the financial and technical expertise of urban projects across the world in order to accelerate investment in them and to drive greater numbers of attractive, bankable schemes
  • Investment mechanisms, which develops novel finance initiatives to help address the lack of suitable financial mechanisms at city and national levels
  • An impact assessment hub, which explores ways to remove uncertainty in national and international frameworks, deal with high costs and tackle the complexity of impact assessment.

These four major areas of focus are approached in an integrated manner, with a view to understanding how they interact.

The impact

LoCal is involved in projects around the world under each of its banners. LoCal’s Cities Climate Finance Training Initiative, for example, worked with more than 20 Moroccan and Tunisian local authorities in the run-up to COP22; several investment mechanism schemes are underway, including the Green Bonds for Cities programme; while the impact assessment hub is involved in a range of schemes, including IM4CT, which is exploring how mobile phone data can be used to monitor traffic flow and emissions in cities.

EIT Climate-KIC’s role

EIT Climate-KIC has managed to establish a collaborative environment in which cities, NGOs, public and private investors and solution providers can come together to unlock climate finance for cities. EIT Climate-KIC is adept at bringing organisations out of their comfort zones and creating the bonds between the public and private sectors necessary for climate innovation. And working together, LoCaL and EIT Climate-KIC empower cities to take climate action by enabling them to pilot the kinds of innovative financial solutions they need to fulfil their ambitions.