News

Herman Van Rompuy Lectures: exploring local options to fight climate change

Ivo BELET
21.11.2017 - 10:20
glass globe in hand

At the annual Herman Van Rompuy Lecture, held this year on 21 November at ‘Het BEL’, a new green building at the Tour & Taxis site in Brussels, keynote speaker Christiana Figueres, Vice-President of the Covenant of Mayors, will address the role local actors can play in implementing the Paris Agreement and how they can help achieve climate goals. As former head of the UNFCCC, Figueres played a pivotal role in the negotiations leading up to the Paris Agreement and has a unique insight into climate action at various levels.

The world’s biggest urban climate and energy initiative

Since the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement, the fight against climate change has been more significant than ever. Governments all over the world pledged to step up their contributions and the EU has been at the forefront of the fight, most prominently with its ambitious overhaul of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

So far, 6733 towns and cities in Europe have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors. Each detailing their own commitments to reduce carbon emissions in their area.

In addition, local branches of government have stepped up to the plate as well, united by a wish to decarbonise their territories and to grant their citizens access to secure, sustainable and affordable energy. The most prominent of these initiatives is the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. Heralded by Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete as the “world’s biggest urban climate and energy initiative”, the Covenant of Mayors brings together thousands of local and regional authorities voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives on their territory.

The fight against climate change will be won or lost in urban areas

The fight against climate change will be won or lost in urban areas. A vast majority of the European population lives and works in cities – worldwide, cities consume 75% of global primary energy and account for approximately 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Local administrations, as the closest government level to citizens, are ideally placed to address climate issues in a comprehensive manner.

Local administrations, as the closest government level to citizens, are ideally placed to address climate issues in a comprehensive manner

Today, more and more cities are prepared to rise up to the challenge. So far, 6733 towns and cities in Europe have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors. Each detailing their own commitments to reduce carbon emissions in their area.

Signatory cities have committed to developing Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans with the aims of cutting CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and increasing resilience to climate change within the first two years of adhesion

All these commitments are linked to the European Union’s climate and energy policy framework. These include the European Union’s climate and energy package for 2020 for signatories who joined between 2008 and 2015 and the European Union’s 2030 climate and energy framework and EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change for signatories joining after 2015. As of October 2015, signatories have also committed to developing Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans with the aims of cutting CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and increasing resilience to climate change within the first two years of adhesion. 

More information on this year’s Herman Van Rompuy lecture can be found at www.hvr-lezing.eu

Latest

Man voting on elections in Europe
23.02.2018 - 17:59

People should know who can become the Commission President

"Europe should not be an elite project. It must become more of a project for the people again. This is why we need more democracy and...
Enlargement
22.02.2018 - 11:39

End rebate logic - we all benefit from EU budget

“The EU budget must be strengthened without penalising taxpayers. Post-2020, we have to stop rebates, compensations and end the logic of...
Online shopping with digital tablet
22.02.2018 - 10:10

Shop like at home

Whether buying online or offline from another EU Member State, European consumers will in the future be entitled to a harmonised level oF protection...
Combines harvesting wheat
21.02.2018 - 18:14

Evaluation and authorisation of pesticides needs to hold up to scrutiny

After the controversy surrounding the renewal of the use of glyphosate in farming, the European Parliament has set up a Special Committee to...

Highlights of the week

26.02.2018 - 02.03.2018
Palm growing from pile of euros

New Tax Committee: artificial shifting around of companies' profits must end

Parliament is setting up a new special committee on Thursday to look further into the problem of the tax evasion and tax avoidance of multi-national...
Germany, Frankfurt, European Central Bank, low angle

EP hearing for ECB Vice-President candidate Luis De Guindos

The Ecofin Council, which gathers together the EU's 28 Finance Ministers, confirmed at its meeting on 20 February the nomination of Spanish...
A bee on a flower

Honey bees in trouble

The European Parliament will debate the future of beekeeping at its mini-Plenary on Wednesday. "We must keep an eye on our bees as their role in...