Around the world a whopping 55 percent of people live in cities – which means that making urban areas greener, more sustainable places to live will be a crucial part of changing our world to avoid the worst of climate change.
But how do you go about cutting emissions when it involves such an enormous number of people? Well, you think big. Really big. And it looks like the European Union is doing just that.
Last week, the European Commission (which is part of the Union) announced a target of making 100 European cities carbon-neutral by 2030, meaning that they will balance out the huge amount of carbon dioxide they release.
It’s both an impressive target and exactly the kind of ambitious thinking we’ll need to avert climate apocalypse. A massive 377 cities across the union applied earlier in the year to take part, with 100 being eventually nominated for the extra funding attached to the project. The cities are spread across all 27 EU member states.
And before you ask: no, the cities are not all tiny, little-known hamlets. The list includes plenty of the continent’s biggest metropolises, including 12 capitals, ranging from Paris and Madrid to Dublin and Amsterdam. Pretty impressive, eh?
The selected cities will undertake a multi-level approach to decarbonisation, ranging from initiatives that aim to engage citizens in eco-friendly living to sustainable civic strategies for energy, transport and construction.
But the aim of the project isn’t just to make these cities carbon-neutral. It also wants to transform them into thriving hubs of innovation. The idea is that the urban areas can then set an example across the continent, so that all European cities can follow suit and become carbon-neutral by 2050.
Keen to find out more? View the full list of participating cities on the European Commission’s website here.
Got five minutes to spare? Want to tell us what life is like in your city? Take the Time Out Index survey here.