Max Grünig, coordinator of the FP7 POCACITO project, recently publishes an article in conjunction with Urban Europe that focused on the finding that tailoring different action plans based on the specific environmental needs within urban cities can produce more successful, attractive and economically viable areas.
The article speaks about the growing importance of bottom-up approaches versus the typical top-down policy approach which does not focus on the differentiated needs among Member States. Every city is unique in culture, background and policies but it is within these differences that great potential for fostering local knowledge and will to catalyze positive change for the future can be found. JPI- Urban Europe encourages the cooperation of Member States for research and innovation. It is one of many effective resources for Member States to coordinate research on urban sustainable development. This joint program initiative welcomes all member states to join the current 14 members to work together to tackle urban challenges in the face of climate change.
As the world prepares for the United Nations Climate Change Conference next year in Paris 2015, Europe is taking steps towards setting targets for future years’ emissions reduction goals. The hope of a binding international climate commitment remains despite past efforts that did not meet expectations, most noteably the events at the UN conference which took place in Copenhagen five years ago. Additionally, tensions are high as the international community speculates whether major emitter countries will come prepared with clear plans and targets to reach an international agreement in 2015.
The EU has released a new set of targets which include an emissions reduction goal of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, energy efficiency improvements of 27% and a requirement that 27% of energy will come from renewable sources. These increased targets may not seem like much for nations who are already on track to hitting the 20/20/20 targets for 2020. However, it is a statement that signals the EU's committment to combatting climate chance to the rest of the world. Moreover, this EU agreement has the potential to inspire other nations to commit to their own targets going into Paris 2015, hopefully culminating in an international agreement on climate change.
Ingrid Kaltenegger of JOANNEUM RESEARCH presented an overview of POCACITO and its initial results at the 17th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP) which took place from October 14-16 in Portorož, Slovenia. This discussion mainly focused on the differentiation between different post-carbon city models, sustainable cities and smart cities. One outcome of the roundtable was a dialogue concerning the KTH Smart Sustainable Cities.
The ERSCP, one of Europe's most remarkable conferences in the field, has taken place periodically since 1994. Discussions focus on key issues in sustainable consumption and production, the exchange of thoughts, knowledge, experiences and SCP proposals and the creation of a European and worldwide community of research and practices in sustainable consumption and production. The main goal of the ERSCP is to promote stakeholder discussion in sustainable consumption and production including professional associations, businesses, universities, SMEs, institutes and research centres, public institutions, NGOs, decision-makers and so on.
The conference was organized by Nigrad d.d., a utility company and by the University of Primorska, Institute Andrej Marušič, in collaboration with Abelium R&D and other national and international partners.
Moving forward, invitations were given to support a session on the 10th Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems in September 2015.