A broad consultation on the proposed Climate Pact has been launched by the European Commission. The Climate Pact is one of the strategic pillars of the proposed European Green Deal. If properly designed, this new instrument could be a game-changer in shaping new democratic, social and economic models for collective climate action in Europe.
“Preserving our climate and environment is a collective responsibility. We all have a duty to act and Europeans have shown their strong will to be part of the change. The European Climate Pact will bring together all of these efforts, involving regions, local communities, civil society, schools, industry and individuals.” – European Commission 2020 Work Programme.
At the moment, the aim is still very vague with the broad intention to “give citizens and all parts of society a voice and role in designing new actions, launching grassroots activities, sharing information and showcasing solutions.”
It is clear that the Covenant of Mayors ‘will remain a central force’ as an integral part of the Climate Pact.
The European Commission essentially aims to reconnect with disillusioned citizens who are demanding more climate action through ambitious political commitment, dialogue and concertation.
Crucially, there is space within the consultation to offer your ideas. City leaders need to use this opportunity to call for greater change. Here are some of our ideas on how to spur the change we need:
Engaging local energy alliances
The Covenant of Mayors’ purpose, methodology and monitoring should be reviewed to create local alliances of stakeholders (businesses, schools, NGOs) jointly committed to coordinated climate action and targets.
Going beyond energy and climate
Successfully addressing the climate crisis will require going beyond mere energy and climate considerations, encouraging local authorities and their communities to adopt broad-based societal transition roadmaps. These roadmaps will be underpinned by new socio-economic models based on more participative and circular processes, short circuit supply chains and redefined links between citizens and their local environment. This will also require cities to completely overhaul their budget and financial management practices and align them to the climate emergency.
Putting the emphasis on education
The magnitude of the reforms we need to collectively undertake to reshape our cultural, social and economic systems are nothing short of a civilization challenge. This is why the reformed Covenant of Mayors also needs to include a new strong chapter on education putting carbon literacy at the centre.
Adopting a corresponding EU support programme
A specific EU budget line should aim at supporting this governance engineering around climate action, by providing local and regional authorities with the right resources to coordinate the process.
In addition, this support programme should enable peer-to-peer exchange between the various local authorities on the development of new collaborative practices and socio-economic models around the transition, turning the Covenant of Mayors into a mutual-learning lab.
March 13, 2020