The 33 European cities on track to achieve climate neutrality in 2030 

Ten European cities were the first to be awarded on 12 October 2023 the EU Mission label of “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities”, which recognises the progress of these urban areas in achieving climate neutrality from 2030. 

Five Spanish cities stood out: Madrid, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zaragoza, as well as Mannheim (Germany), Klagenfurt (Austria), Sønderborg (Denmark), Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Stockholm (Sweden). 

The head of the UN, António Guterres, congratulated these cities in his video message at the opening of the European Summit of Regions and Cities, on 18 March in Mons, Belgium. He also encouraged other cities to follow their lead. 

On 23 March 2024, 23 additional cities were awarded the same label. Receiving the label aims to facilitate access to public and private financing with a view to achieving climate neutrality in 2030. 

Spain, Finland and Greece in the lead 

Among these 23 cities, five are in Finland (Espoo, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Tampere, Turku), four in Greece (Ioannina, Kalamata, Kozani and Thessaloniki), two in Spain (Barcelona, ​​Seville), two in France (Marseille, Lyon), two in Portugal (Guimaraes, Lisbon) and two in Italy (Florence, Parma). 

Added to this list are Heidelberg (Germany), Louvain (Belgium), Pecs (Hungary), Malmö (Sweden), Limassol (Cyprus) and Izmir (Türkiye). Seven Spanish cities have been given the label, the largest number in a single country. 

The EU Mission label attests to the successful development of “Climate City Contracts”, which reflect the overall vision of cities in terms of climate neutrality and include an action plan as well as an investment strategy. These contracts are co-created by cities in collaboration with local stakeholders, including the private sector and citizens. 

A first group of cities presented their respective contracts in April 2023, which the European Commission examined with the help of experts, including the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). 

A European program with 112 cities 

In total, 100 EU cities have participated in the “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities” mission since April 2022, plus 12 cities located in countries associated with Horizon Europe, the EU’s funding programme for research and innovation. 

Each city aims to become climate neutral in all sectors such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport by 2030, thanks to innovative approaches, a process involving citizens, research organisations and the private sector. They should provide examples to follow so that all European cities do the same by 2050. 

This effort is all the more important as cities are the source of more than 70% of global carbon emissions and consume more than 65% of global energy. Additionally, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), more than 50% of the world’s population already lives in urban areas, and this proportion is expected to increase to more than 70% by 2050. 

The European Commission expects to receive 30 new applications in April 2024 for its “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities” label. 





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