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Zero Carbon Europe - What's going on

A 'Greener Europe'. That was one of the six priorities being discussed at this week's 'EU Week of Regions and Cities'. So a perfect opportunity to see what other cities are doing on climate change and see what's on the horizon. Headlines from MCCA's visit:

 

 

Turku, Finland

Committed to being carbon neutral by 2029, a great way to celebrate the city's 800th anniversary. After that carbon positive from 2030+ i.e. soaking up some of the CO2 emitted by other cities and regions.

 

Helsingor, Denmark

A small city with a big goal: carbon neutral by 2045. It's also the home of the 'Hamlet castle'. We have it on good authority that a visit to the city wouldn't be complete without one of their 'Sustainability and Shakespeare' tours. 

 

Florence, Italy

Already known as one of the planet's cultural hotspots, Florence are looking to add planet-saving to their list of reasons to visit. The target to reduce CO2 by 40% by 2030 may appear be one of the more modest on offer, but throw in a city full of heritage buildings and they've got a real challenge on their hands. Plenty to learn here for cities wrestling with marrying up heritage and climate action.

 

Housing Retrofit in Bulgaria

Bulgaria knocks the socks off the UK's current approach to existing housing. Starting out with 100% funding for residents to kickstart the retrofit market, the Bulgarian Government and National Development Bank are now combining EU and national funding with resident contributions to get their housing up to scratch.

 

EU Funding for Climate Action

There are billions (yes billions) of Euros to support cities' climate action in the EU's budget (the 'Multi-annual Financial Framework') for 2021-27. Will Manchester be able to access any of it? You won't find anybody in Brussels or London with a clear answer to that until the end of this month (at least) but we hope so. Battery storage in the Oxford Road Corridor, world-class green infrastructure in West Gorton, plans to increase green space by 10%, and many others are among the many projects funded by the EU in recent years.

 

 

For our part, MCCA participated in three sessions:

 

Financing Europe's sustainable energy future  

https://europa.eu/regions-and-cities/programme/sessions/539_en  

 

 

Local governments are setting the bar high for climate action

https://europa.eu/regions-and-cities/programme/sessions/507_en  

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Implementing the Paris Agreement: EU cities and regions in energy transition

https://europa.eu/regions-and-cities/programme/sessions/569_en