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Towards greener cities

Infographic | 29-05-2016
Towards greener cities

With the growing awareness of the consequences of climate change, the EU has committed itself to limiting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the consumption of fossil fuels (European Union, 2015b). The Europe 2020 strategy has renewed the EU’s commitment to become a ‘low-carbon’ economy where, by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions will be 80% to 90% lower than they were in 1990. Among other initiatives, European Cohesion Policy funding is being reallocated to support the production of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency.

Cities can be instrumental in the transition towards a low-carbon economy. They are significantly more efficient in terms of energy use and land use than other areas (European Commission, 2014). Despite the lofty ambitions of Europe’s cities to become greener, simply reducing emissions in urban areas will not be sufficient to stop global warming. Cities provide fertile ground for innovation and creativity (UNEP, 2013), but because large-scale energy infrastructures are interconnected and government and governance structures are interdependent, coordinated multi-level innovation strategies are needed so that lessons can be shared with other metropolitan regions and across national borders.

Source data

This infographic is based on data provided by the OECD Metropolitan Explorer (version January 2014) and EU-funded research project TRANSFORM. The CO2 emissions for metropolitan areas are provided by the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL): Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR, release version 4.1).

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