RIGA - The Latvian capital city Riga and southwestern port city Liepaja have been added to the European Union's (EU) Smart Cities Mission to achieve climate neutrality by 2030, LETA was told at the press office of the European Commission.
The European Commission on Thursday announced the 100 EU cities that will participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. These cities are located in all 27 EU member states and another 12 cities are located in countries that might be associated with the EU's research and innovation program Horizon Europe.
Europe's urban areas are home to 75 percent of EU citizens. Globally, urban areas consume over 65 percent of the world's energy, accounting for more than 70 percent of CO2 emissions. It is therefore important that cities act as experimentation and innovation ecosystems to help all others in their transition to become climate-neutral by 2050.
The Cities Mission will receive EUR 360 million of Horizon Europe funding covering the period 2022-2023, to start the innovation paths towards climate neutrality by 2030. The research and innovation actions will address clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and offer the possibility to build joint initiatives and ramp up collaborations in synergies with other EU programs.
Benefits for cities include tailor-made advice and assistance from a dedicated Mission Platform run by NetZeroCities, additional funding and financing opportunities and the possibility to join large innovation actions and pilot projects. The mission also provides networking opportunities, exchange of best practices between cities and support to engage citizens in the mission.
The European Commission will invite the 100 selected cities to develop Climate City Contracts, which will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across all sectors such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport, together with related investment plans. This process will involve citizens, research organizations and the private sector. The clear and visible commitments made by the cities in the Climate City Contracts will enable them to engage with the EU, national and regional authorities – and most importantly with their own citizens to deliver on this ambitious objective.
Moreover, in light of the overwhelming interest from 377 cities to join the mission, the Commission is also putting in place support for cities that were not selected, including support through the Mission Platform and funding opportunities under the Cities Mission Work Program of Horizon Europe.
The 100 selected cities include Riga and Liepaja in Latvia, Taurage and Vilnius in Lithuania, Tartu in Estonia, Stockholm in Sweden, Helsinki in Finland and Copenhagen in Denmark, among others.