Allison Le Corre
February 3, 2023
When there is a crisis, local governments often find themselves on the frontline. Now faced with a drastic energy crisis, provoked by Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, cities have once again shown their competence. They swiftly put into place immediate low-cost actions to reduce energy demand in public facilities, all the while increasing the share of renewables, as well as supporting the most vulnerable households and local businesses.
In solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the Covenant of Mayors Europe initiative, along with the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions, launched last year the still ongoing Cities Energy Saving Sprint. This campaign’s aim is to strengthen and connect local efforts to reduce energy consumption and dependency on Russian gas across Europe.
Discover what Mayors have been doing to save energy in their cities.
Most importantly, the campaign has highlighted that cities know how to reconcile energy and climate measures that will tackle the energy crisis in the short-term while continuing to fight the climate crisis in the long-term.
Because the two crises – energy and climate – are deeply intertwined. Efforts to fill up Europe’s gas storage reserves in 2022 have been largely successful. However, forecasts for upcoming winter seasons are unclear. Hence, these short-term measures will have to be embedded into mid and long-term action, redefining the way we live faced with the bigger, looming crisis in the distance.
How can Europe capitalise on cities’ response to the crisis in its ongoing efforts towards climate neutrality? How can the EU further support this local action in the mid to long-term to redefine lifestyles in the face of climate change?
This will be the focus of the Covenant of Mayors – Europe’s 2023 Conference. Happening in Brussels on 30 March 2023, Mayors and representatives of local and regional governments from across Europe will come to showcase and discuss these topics with key representatives of the EU Commission, the EU Parliament and the EU Committee of the regions, including Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, and Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson. Youth ambassadors of the European Climate Pact will also join the discussion to further explore how these measures can be part of a broader societal transformation.
For more information on the event, visit the Covenant of Mayors – Europe website.