EUROCITIES on COP 21: smart city solutions for energy efficiency & climate change

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  • knowledge society

How are cities are using digital technologies to tackle climate change?

Cities discussed ways in which they use ICT to reduce emissions during our session on the ‘Green Digital Charter – smart city solutions for energy efficiency and climate change’ during COP 21 in Paris on 8 December.

Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes and EUROCITIES president, opened the session by reiterating our message that ‘there can be no smart cities without smart citizens’.

Nikolaos Kontinakis and Michael Klinkenberg from the EUROCITIES secretariat moderated the session, which featured a panel of politicians alongside Johanna Rolland: George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol; Milan Obradovic, deputy mayor of Malmo; and Jaroslaw Jozwiak, deputy mayor of Warsaw.

Panellists discussed what becoming a smarter city means to them, and how this contributes to their greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets. They also explored how initiatives such as the EUROCITIES Green Digital Charter, through which cities commit to using ICT to reduce carbon emissions, support their efforts to become smarter cities. Cities also shared ideas on the kind of support they need to scale up their efforts and improve results.

Some of the panelists referred to the potential of ICT for energy efficiency to promote social inclusion in cities, with George Ferguson commenting that: “Using technology is always about what you can do for people.” Malmo’s Milan Obradovic said that his city uses refurbishments for energy efficiency in housing to create jobs (see our recent good practice example from Malmo, CLICC). Speaking about the importance of cities as part of a global climate deal, George Ferguson stated that: “Cities will do their best to close any gap left after the close of the COP 21 negotiations.”

Our Green Digital Charter now has nearly 50 signatories committed to reducing emissions through ICT and tackling climate change through the innovative use of digital technologies in cities. The GuiDanCe project has been supporting signatories’ efforts since March 2015.

This was one of two sessions we hosted during COP 21. The first, on 5 December, focused on the potential of climate action for promoting economic growth and social inclusion (see here). Our president Johanna Rolland also spoke at a number of side events (see here). 

Our sessions took place at the TAP (Transformative Actions Program) Cities and Regions Pavilion, co-hosted by the cities of Paris and Bristol and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.