Dublin and Cork have been chosen from a group of 337 cities to participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. All 27 EU Member States are represented in the 100 cities chosen, with 12 additional cities coming from countries associated or with the potential of being associated with Horizon Europe.
Currently, Europe’s urban areas are home to 75% of EU citizens and globally they consume over 65% of the world’s energy, accounting for more than 70% of CO2 emissions. Given this context, it is viewed as essential that cities act as experimentation and innovation ecosystems to help others in their transition to become climate-neutral by 2050.
In a press release issued following the announcement of Dublin’s inclusion within the programme, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Alison Gilliland said “We recognise that we all nationally and internationally have a massive climate imperative and need support to realise our climate-neutral vision. Cities like Dublin are central to realising this vision.”. This sentiment was echoed by Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher who said, “The prioritisation of climate action will ensure that Cork can play a local role in addressing the most pressing global challenge of our time”.
The 100 cities chosen to participate in the programme will receive €360 million of Horizon Europe funding covering the period 2022-23, 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 programmes.
However, this is a programme that goes beyond the headline EU funding, as the programme promises to open both Dublin and Cork to opportunities that may have otherwise been off-limits. These opportunities and benefits include tailor-made advice and assistance from a dedicated Mission Platform run by the EU’s Net Zero Cities project, networking opportunities, exchange of best practices between cities and support to engage citizens in the mission.
The next step for Dublin and Cork will be the development of a whole-of-city Climate City Contracts. These contracts will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across all sectors of the city including energy, buildings, waste management and transport, alongside related investment plans. This process will involve citizens, research organisations and the private sector. The clear and visible commitments made by Dublin and Cork in their Climate City Contracts will enable them to engage with the EU, national and regional authorities – and most importantly with their residents in order to deliver on this ambitious objective.