Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, has been selected as European Green Capital for 2016. Janez Potočnik, the EU’s Commissioner for the Environment, presented the award to a delegation from the city at a ceremony in Copenhagen (Denmark), the current European Green Capital. Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Potočnik said: “I very much look forward to [Ljubljana’s] year as the 2016 European Green Capital. All of the finalists of this award provide us with valuable real-life examples of how respect for the environment, excellent quality of life and economic growth can all be successfully combined.”
The city received particular praise for its sustainability strategy, which follows an integrated approach to environmental management. This includes an Environmental Protection Programme, a Sustainable Mobility Plan, a Sustainable Energy Action Plan and an Electromobility Strategy. Ljubljana has also shown its commitment to sustainable and green procurement, which has been implemented for 70 percent of all city purchases. Additionally, Ljubljana was announced as winner of the European Mobility Week Award 2013 earlier this year, for its exceptional mobility activities around the campaign.
The European Green Capital Award is an annual event that promotes and rewards the efforts of cities committed to improving the urban environment. Winning cities demonstrate a record of achieving high environmental standards and commit to ambitious goals for future progress in sustainable development.
For more information, click here.
City leaders have an opportunity to shape policies to promote renewable energy projects at local level, heard delegates at the "Community energy: accelerating sustainable energy roll-out" event, held yesterday in the framework of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) 2014 High Level Policy Conference in Brussels (Belgium). The event, organised by ICLEI, focused on the potential of community-led and owned Renewable Energy Sources (RES) for local and regional development. The theme that political support, manifested through supportive policies and legal and financial frameworks, can have an important impact on community power projects was echoed by speakers throughout the event.
Cities spoke of the importance of local ownership as a means of gaining support for renewable energy, before discussing future perspectives in the context of the EU's 2020 and 2030 energy and climate frameworks. Jens Bartholmes of the Directorate-General for Energy (European Commission) outlined the EU’s position, saying: "We [the European Commission] have earmarked €200 million to push forward the role of smart city technologies and solutions at city level, with a focus on communities... We want to push projects that have a high replication potential. These solutions, especially at local level, are very high on our agenda."
Panellist Jason Anderson, Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy at WWF European Policy Office, said: “Cities and local authorities are at the forefront of the transition to sustainable energy. The actions that they are taking on the ground need to be supported by an ambitious EU climate and energy framework. That is why WWF and ICLEI launched a Call for Action that reflects what we see as being possible and necessary from the European Union to support cities and regions in their work on renewables and the fight against climate change." The event was supported by the IEE co-funded project “CO-POWER - Community Power"
For more information, click here.
A Mayors in Action seminar on 18 June looked at the regulatory changes needed to establish a new methodology to calculate electricity prices. The session was organised by Barcelona Provincial Council ( Diputació de Barcelona ) and held in Barcelona (Spain), under the framework of the European Union Sustainable Energy Week .
Diputació de Barcelona is a partner on the Mayors in Action project, supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe program (IEE), which wants to promote the implementation of SEAP’s actions through capacity building and peer to peer approaches. Barcelona Provincial Council was a Covenant Coordinator from 2008-2009, resulting in the drafting of around 200 SEAPs which need to be implemented. Energy management is a key action in almost all of these SEAPs and was one of the main priorities chosen during the first meeting of Mayors in Action.
In order to manage energy properly it is very important to know how electricity prices are established. It is essential keep up to date on the various regulatory changes in order to be able to plan the best strategies and actions in energy management. The seminar dealt with the new Royal Decree 216/2014 impacts and looked at what tools are available to manage them.
To read the documents and watch the video of the seminar, click here (Spanish only).
Cities account for 37–49% of global greenhouse gas emissions and urban infrastructure accounts for over 70% of global energy use.
ICLEI President David Cadman stressed the relevance for integrated climate action at the local level, a process led by local governments in partnership with business, industry and civil society. “This Cities Summary succinctly summarizes the key implications for urban areas. It is a must read for all local decision-makers”, said Cadman. The role of local governments in driving community emissions reduction and protecting their inhabitants and infrastructure against the impacts of climate change is central to effective climate policy. The briefing, published jointly by ICLEI, and the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Judge Business School, with the support of the European Climate Foundation, demonstrates the urgency for climate change mitigation as well as adaptation.
The Cities Summary also outlines the effects that climate change will have on urban life. Sea levels could rise one meter by the end of the century, major crop yields may decrease, drought could reduce freshwater resources and extreme weather events are set to increase. The author Rian van Staden stated “It is essential to explore ways to improve resilience of local communities – considering infrastructure, people, environment, food, and many other aspects that encompass local communities. Cities are starting to explore solutions, also sharing with and learning from one another. ICLEI and other city networks have a key role to play in this area to supporting local governments with guidance and tools.”
Read the Complete Summary here.
Read more about ICLEI’s GreenClimateCities program offering guidance and support to local governments.