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European cities head for net zero

Dozens of cities from across Europe are embarking on unprecedented action to achieve climate neutrality.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

The EU-funded NetZeroCities project has announced the 53 European cities selected to take part in its Pilot Cities Programme. Over a period of 2 years, these cities will test and implement innovative ways to rapidly decarbonise. The programme is playing a crucial role in the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities that aims for 112 cities to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Cities take up only 4 % of the EU’s land area, but they are home to 75 % of its citizens and responsible for over 70 % of its global emissions. They need to play a leading role not only in meeting climate goals but also in ensuring that decarbonisation efforts are fair and enhance the well-being of European communities. The NetZeroCities Pilot Cities Programme is enabling the selected cities to carry out the profound changes needed to make this a reality.

Climate action spanning multiple areas

“These Pilot Cities are setting the urban climate transition on a new trajectory,” reports an article posted on the project website. Working individually or in clusters, the cities “will implement systemic and locally designed innovative actions that span multiple areas, from buildings to waste, and levers of change, including governance, finance and policy.” The 53 cities invited to participate in the programme are from 21 EU Member States, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The selected cities are part of 25 applications that were singled out from a total of 103 involving 159 cities from across the EU and from associated countries participating in Horizon 2020 – the EU’s research and innovation funding programme. The pilot cities will serve as a testing ground for innovative and systemic approaches to transforming city systems. The lessons they learn during the 2-year period will help other cities in their efforts towards decarbonisation by giving them the opportunity to replicate solutions that work and scale approaches to fit their particular needs. European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel comments: “Congratulations to the 53 cities selected for the Pilot Cities Programme to contribute to EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. They will test new strategies to achieve their local climate goals. Their experience will serve as examples to all cities across the European Union and beyond. The Pilot Cities Programme is only one of many building blocks put in place by the EU Cities Mission. I encourage all cities to check out all future initiatives, and to engage now with their citizens and stakeholders and prepare their strategy for becoming climate neutral.” NetZeroCities (Accelerating cities’ transition to net zero emissions by 2030) has brought together 33 partners from 13 countries with the goal of helping cities overcome current structural, institutional and cultural barriers to achieving climate neutrality by 2030. The 4-year project ends in 2025. For more information, please see: NetZeroCities project website


NetZeroCities, climate, city, net zero, climate neutrality, emissions, decarbonisation

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