Less than 2 months after the adoption of the Energy & Climate Package by the European Union’s Heads of State and Government on 17 December 2008, close to 400 mayors from the largest European cities met in the European Parliament to sign the Covenant of Mayors.
Why? The point was to tell the European Union and Member States: “You legally committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020, as a result of a 20% increase in energy efficiency and an energy mix with 20% of renewable energy sources. Not only do we agree with such a decision but we also commit to reaching and exceeding these objectives in our territories on a voluntary basis”.
Today, close to 4,000 mayors representing over 160 million inhabitants and a CO2 emission saving potential of 150 million tons have signed the Covenant of Mayors. Such a collection of large cities (including 30 capital cities), smaller , towns and even villages as well as provinces, regions, associations, agencies and ministries supporting the Covenant of Mayors is totally unprecedented.
1,200 signatories have already submitted their Sustainable Energy Action Plan in line with their commitment. These plans represent thousands of practical actions in the housing, transport and urban development sectors, as well as tens of thousands of local players working with local authorities towards achieving these objectives.
A movement is born. National signatory clubs are being created. Some have launched Local energy alliances uniting industrials, professionals, trade unions, NGOs as well as trade associations, local authority associations and competitiveness clusters. A group of 30 to 40 mayors representing fellow signatories is being created to represent, with the networks, the Covenant of Mayors at national and European levels.
The Covenant of Mayors initiative is all about the above. It is a transition vector towards a more decentralised energy system in line with demand and territories’ potential.
Energy Cities is proud not only of being one of its most active supporters but also of co-ordinating the Covenant of Mayors in Europe, in collaboration with the main European city networks.
We would be even prouder if the Energy Transition was to become a major component, with a local dimension, of any recovery plan discussed as part of the forthcoming European Growth Pact for the sake of the climate, sustainable energy, employment, quality of life and innovation.
This is what the 30 proposals for the energy transition of cities and towns prepared by Energy Cities as part of RIO+20 is all about.
Read the full document of Gérard Magnin "The Covenant of Mayors: a hope in Europe"
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