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European City Calculator: Prospective modelling tool supporting public authorities in reaching climate neutrality

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EUCITYCALC (European City Calculator: Prospective modelling tool supporting public authorities in reaching climate neutrality)

Reporting period: 2021-09-01 to 2023-02-28

In order for Europe’s transition towards climate neutrality to succeed, cities need to be in the driving seat. European cities are at the forefront in addressing climate change, with many having committed to develop and implement SEAPs/SECAPs through initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors. Many cities have also committed to become climate-neutral by 2050 or even earlier. Yet, despite ambitious short- and long-term commitments, only few cities have managed to translate plans into concrete implementation strategies with tangible decarbonisation pathways. In transitioning towards climate neutrality, cities have to overcome complex challenges that cannot be tackled with a business-as-usual approach. For this, cities need to be equipped with tools, information and skills that empower them to become local transition leaders.
This is where EUCityCalc comes into play. Its objective is to support public authorities in planning towards climate neutrality through the prospective modelling approach of the European City Calculator webtool. The European City Calculator is an open-source, prospective modelling tool providing cities with a sectoral outlook on the type and ambition of measures they can take to achieve a transition towards climate neutrality. As a flexible model adapted to territorial specificities and reflecting the city governance, it supports cities in designing tailored transition pathways and policy scenarios.
With the webtool at its core, EUCityCalc will support 10 pilot cities - Riga, Dijon Métropole, Mantova, Zdar, Palmela, Sesimbra, Setubal, Koprivnica, Varazdin, Virovitica - in developing and implementing scientifically robust, detailed and integrated pathways and scenarios towards climate neutrality. Through peer-to-peer learning, a multifaceted capacity-building and training programme and the engagement of local stakeholders in expert working groups, EUCityCalc will empower cities in devising a clear and concrete roadmap towards climate neutrality.
From the beginning of the project in September 2021 until the end of this first reporting period (end of February 2023), partners PIK and Climact have worked on the development of the webtool and its content, through a review of the scientific literature and in close cooperation with the pilot cities through several rounds of feedback, surveys, and the gathering of data through a data form.
Finally, a 1st version of the webtool was presented at the Brussels' project meeting in February 2023. This version contains 3 pages (welcome page, dashboard page and pathways page). Currently, about 24 mitigation measures are available in the webtool in the fields of transport, buildings, energy and consumption/waste. For each of the measure, it is possible to select different magnitude. In total, 70 measure-implementation combinations are available in the webtool to build cities' scenarios towards climate neutrality.

During the reporting period, the process of co-creation of policy scenarios and transition pathways towards climate neutrality in the pilot cities has started. The 10 pilot cities identified their key local stakeholders (207 in total) to join the expert working groups that will perform the sequential co-creation process on the policy scenario and transition pathway to adopt in line with 2050 EU targets. In this time, the mapping of key local stakeholders in the pilot cities has been conducted, the cities’ expert working groups have been set and the implementation of the co-creation process with key local stakeholders through these expert working groups has started.
EUCityCalc will have both direct and triggered impacts. Its direct impacts, which concern in particular capacity-building and shaping policies, are expected during the project as well as shortly thereafter, keeping in mind that even when a policy is in place, it takes time for it to show its effect. The direct impacts are the number of public authorities and public officials with improved capacities and skills in delivering the energy transition, the number of policies and strategies created or influenced by the project, and the number of local stakeholders engaged in co-creating transition pathways and policy scenarios towards climate neutrality. Those impacts are then expected to trigger investments in sustainable energy (compared to a 2020 baseline), net GHG emission reduction (compared to a 1990 baseline), reduction of final energy demand (also compared to a 1990 baseline) and alleviation of air pollution (compared to a 2005 baseline). The triggered impacts are expected to occur after the project has ended, but this will also depend on how much and how fast the multi-level governance framework for cities’ climate-neutral transition (the Governance Regulation in particular) will change in a favorable manner.

During the first reporting period, 13 officials from 6 local authorities within the consortium were trained in using the webtool in the demonstration session in Brussels, on February 28th, 2023. The mapping of key local stakeholders was done for the 10 pilot cities. In total, 207 entities or persons were identified in the pilot cities to be part of the expert working groups. The co-creation process in pilot cities started right after the end of the reporting period. The capacity-building activities are planned to start in November-December 2023.
Group picture of the consortium at Brussels meeting, 28 Feb 2023