“100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030” European Mission Launched

On the 25th of November, the European Commission launched a call for expression of interest for cities to join the European Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. The objectives of the mission are to achieve 100 climate-neutral and smart European cities by 2030 and for these cities to become experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050. Cities with over 50 000 inhabitants are eligible to apply and large cities are particularly encouraged. For countries with five or fewer cities above 100 000 population (i.e. Croatia (HR), Cyprus (CY), Estonia (EE), Ireland (IE), Latvia (LV), Lithuania (LT), Luxembourg (LU), Malta (MT), Slovenia (SI) and Slovakia (SK)), there is a lower threshold of 10 000 inhabitants. Cities with all kinds of climate-neutrality starting points are encouraged to apply.

The cities selected will be at the innovation forefront of the transition towards climate neutrality, as part of the European Green Deal. As the fight against climate change increasingly turns to deployment of solutions, cities are best placed to be the early adopters of the policies to get to climate neutrality. In the process, it will allow them to deliver multiple benefits to their communities in terms of reduced air and noise pollution, less congestion, lower energy bills and healthier lifestyles.

Cities participating in the mission will prepare and implement a “Climate City Contract” that will be co-created with local stakeholders and citizens. The benefits that the Cities Mission will offer cities include:

  • Tailor-made advice and assistance from a “Mission Platform” for example towards developing an Investment Plan to draw in external finance
  • Unlocking additional funding and financing opportunities through a “Mission label”
  • Funding opportunities for cities to be part of large innovation actions, pilot projects and demonstrators
  • Support through a national coordination network
  • Networking opportunities, learning and exchange of experiences among cities
  • Buy-in and involvement of citizens and local communities for climate neutral solutions
  • High visibility – raising political profile and attractiveness for investment and skilled workers

The mission will support different sectors to work together on smart, digital and other types of solutions to help achieve climate neutrality. Key sectors include:

  • Stationary energy (buildings, equipment, facilities), energy production and distribution
  • Transport
  • Waste management
  • Industrial processes and product use
  • Agriculture, forestry and other land use

The Commission published an Info Kit for cities and a list of Frequently Asked Questions in October that contain detailed information about the mission. The call for expression of interest is available here. Cities can register now and have until 31 January 2022 to respond to the call. The Commission will announce the list of selected cities by March 2022. The first cities will be able to start working on their Climate City Contracts with the support of the Mission Platform as soon as the selection process is completed. Energy Cities is part of the NetZeroCities consortium, tasked with establishing and implementing the work of the Mission Platform.