Local authorities have a key role in mitigating climate change. Over half of greenhouse gas emissions are created in and by cities. 80% of the population lives and works in cities, where up to 80% of energy is consumed. Local authorities, being the closest administration to the citizens are ideally positioned to understand their concerns. Moreover, they can address the challenges in a comprehensive way, facilitating the conciliation between the public and private interest and the integration of sustainable energy into overall local development goals, be it development of alternative energy, more efficient energy use or changes in behaviour.
Local governments must therefore become leading actors for implementing sustainable energy policies, and must be recognised and supported in their effort. The Covenant of Mayors is an ambitious initiative of the European Commission that gives the lead to Europe’s pioneering cities to mitigate climate change through the implementation of intelligent local sustainable energy policies that create stable local jobs and increase citizens’ quality of life and address crucial social issues.
The formal commitment of signatories is translated into concrete measures and projects. Signatory cities accept to report and being monitored on their implementation of the Action Plans. They also accept termination of their involvement in the Covenant in case of non-compliance.
Cities also commit to allocating sufficient human resources to the tasks, mobilising society in their geographical areas to take part in implementation of the action plan, including organisation of local energy days, and networking with other cities.
The preparation of Action Plans and reports requires that the cities acquire some technical and scientific skills. The JRC supports cities by:
- operating a technical helpdesk service in co-operation with the Covenant of Mayors Office;
- researching existing methodologies and tools for SEAP preparation and CO2 emissions inventories;
- providing guidelines for drafting action plans and baseline CO2 emission inventory;
- providing feedback to the cities on their action plan;
- developing guidance on SEAP monitoring.
JRC support to the Covenant of Mayors