Why cities hold the key to a successful energy transition
Utopian thinking in an age of dystopian headlines
Cities are significant consumers of energy and big emitters of greenhouse gases, responsible for global warming and dangerously poor air quality. By the end of the century, few cities will be safe from the risks of deadly heatwaves, flooding and overcrowding. But while dystopia may not seem too far away, there is an alternative, more utopian scenario that increasingly seems possible as cities the world over position themselves as energy transition leaders with or without national support.
How cities will fund their clean energy transition needs sorting out, given that most taxes and other revenue sources generally go into the national coffers. Many cities are getting creative on climate financing. Best practice needs identifying and repeating elsewhere. All residents, including the poorest and most vulnerable, have to be involved in projects and decisions related to ditching fossil fuels in favour of renewables and greater efficiency. Research and experience both demonstrate how inclusive measures and actions help accelerate the energy transition and climate action in cities.
Cities hold the key to a successful clean energy transformation. Striving for utopia, rather than allowing urban living to become synonymous with dystopia, is a big step to avoiding climate catastrophe. It will also improve the overall resilience and health of cities and their inhabitants.
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Energy Cities, a European association of local authorities, estimates a city will need between €1 billion and €3 billion to reach net zero emissions by 2050
Cooperation and social justice are at the heart of plans by the historic university city of Leuven, Belgium to become carbon neutral, as is the radical idea of giving owners no choice but to energy-renovate their homes
Sixty-two per cent of people living in Copenhagen cycle to work or school, pedalling 1.44 million kilometres every day. The city has invested more than €40 per head in bike infrastructure
City achieves global first with aggressive retroactive climate rules for building stock
The deep retrofit of the Empire State Building showcases efficient use of energy, but more will be needed
A goal to become the first carbon neutral capital city as early as 2025 is at least partly dependent on Denmark’s new national government throwing its weight behind Copenhagen’s aspirations
In an interview with FORESIGHT Climate & Energy, Frank Jensen, mayor of Copenhagen, explains why mayors and local authorities are uniquely positioned to lead the energy transition and implement measures to proof their cities against extreme weather
Even if many cities are finding it a challenge to meet decarbonisation targets, they have made progress over the last decade and are becoming increasingly ambitious
Inspiring architects to make buildings green and good looking
The economic argument for switching from diesel to electric is gaining strength
Despite the massive amount of solar power output in Europe this summer and the technology’s falling prices, building owners are still reluctant to put panels on their roofs. Tübingen, Germany is introducing legislation to force change